Two lines of fence, screen top and screen bottom, define the playing area. The score is kept at the topmost right. A stray count is given top, middle. This is not a random count of stray bits of information, and it is not a counter to tell you how much time you have left. It counts dogies.
And dogies is what you have here. Small bovines in varying colors are being herded across the playing field, from left to right, by a mounted rider. The rider is responsible for herding the dogies into manageable groupings and then roping them one at a time. Herefords, Guernseys and Jerseys run ahead of the galloping rider, each group at its own pace. The rider must lasso as many of the dogies as possible before three of the little duffers go stray and the game is over.
the joystick control moves the rider up to the top of the screen or down to the bottom, as far as the fences. The firing button releases the rope so the rider can lasso a dogie as soon as riding into range. The horse will not move in any direction while the lasso is being thrown, just as a good calf-roping horse would stop and hold position i the same situation. Herefords, Jerseys and Guernseys are all worth a certain amount of points, the Black Angus are the bonus bets.
Initially the action is fast and games are over quickly as the strays fall behind the herd. Later games take a little more time, but unless attention is paid to the repetitive patterns of the herd movement and the placement of obstacles on the course, the player will waste a lot of effort for very little result. Learning the techniques of herding the runaways together is the smartest thing a new player can do. Also, the Black Angus never do run away from the rider in the patter of the rest of the dogies, but crop up occassionally and at a random, like Ferdinand the Bull, sitting placidly in the middle of the trail.
The whole package is full of fun and guaranteed to provide hours of entertainment for the player. It also provides many amusing moments for the spectator.