5 board games for cat lovers



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Calico

If there’s one thing a cat can’t resist, it’s a nice soft blanket to curl up in and sleep in. A universal truth that holds true even in board games. In Calico, players compete to create the most colorful and softest quilt for their feline friends. At the beginning of the game, each player has a board that represents the quilt to be woven, with white spaces that will gradually be filled with hexagonal tiles characterized by a color and a type of decoration. Each player has two tiles available: each round he places one, where he wants, on the empty spaces of his board, and then takes another from a selection of three. What is the purpose? Place the tiles in order to create specific patterns of colors and decorations that can attract cats (each feline has a specific preference); or, put three tiles of the same color in a row, to place a button on them; or even arrange decorations and colors around “design” hexagons with special placement rules. Each of these moves allows you to score points. Simple, right? But no. If the rules are really elementary and within everyone’s reach (put a tile, take a tile), the beauty of Calico is that each board gradually becomes an unsolvable puzzle, in which sooner or later you are forced to place an absolutely useless tile because the one you need is never available, and in which achieving all the desired objectives is practically impossible (game by Kevin Russ. Little Rocket Games editions, 1-4 players, 10+ years, 30-45 min., 39.99 euros ). Wired: An adorable puzzle that hides an addicting puzzle under its soft and colorful appearance. Tired: the interaction between the players is very limited: at most you can steal a few tiles

Exploding Kittens (and family)

The world of explosive kittens is enriched with new, unlikely expansions. This card game was the first real blockbuster to come out of Kickstarter in 2014, with an 8 million dollar fundraiser. More than five years later, it continues to be successful even in the non-gamer public, thanks also to new cards and game modes that are even crazier than the original. The basic mechanism is very simple: in a sort of Russian roulette, all the players take turns drawing cards from a deck, hoping not to find the terrible explosive kitty that would mark their departure (from the game, at least). To avoid being eliminated from the game, you can play cards that allow you to skip your turn, shuffle the deck or take a peek at the top, force the opponent to draw multiple times, negate the effect of the opposing cards (Matthew’s game Inman, Elan Lee, Shane Small. Asmodee Editions, 2-5 players, 7+ years, 15 min., € 19.90). A fun party game, which is based on the pleasure of discovering new, zany cards. And this is where expansions come in, designed to add variety without complicating things too much. Imploding Kittens (14.90 euros) introduces an implosive kitten (new variety of lethal feline), other effects to make the games more dynamic, and above all the embarrassing cone of shame, which is up to the first player who ( invariably) forgets the turn order. Similar speech for Barking Kittens (€ 14.90), with 20 new cards and a cat-crown to wear to prevent other players from stealing the cards. Finally, Streaking Kittens (€ 5.90) ​​is a 15-card mini-expansion that focuses on even more chaotic new effects. Also worth mentioning are the alternative versions of the base game: Exploding Kittens: Party (29.90 euros) allows you to double the maximum number of players from 5 to 10, while the Nsfw version (19.90 euros) replaces the original illustrations with other reserved ones. to an adult audience. Wired: a fast and exhilarating party game, also (or above all) suitable for non-gamers. Tired: Grotesque humor definitely isn’t for every palate

The Isle of Cats

Imagine an island full of cats – or rather, fantastic and colorful looking felines – about to be invaded by a ruthless exterminating army. Citizens of a neighboring kingdom quickly dispatch ships to rescue helpless pets, in what soon becomes a race to find more. From these premises takes place The Isle of Cats, a competitive game for 1-4 players full of colorful and captivating components: starting with the ship-shaped player boards, surrounded by a blue ocean, and continuing with the families of cats, which take the form of shaped tiles to be inserted into the narrow space of each boat. Players take turns luring cats to their ships with fish (the game’s currency). Some cards determine who goes first and provide cat transport baskets, others provide useful one-off skills, and still others give additional objectives. The goal of the players is to fill the hold and the rooms of the ship as efficiently as possible, trying to keep the families of cats together (distinguished by color). You must also pay attention to cover the rats that infest the ships and to fill as many rooms as possible, otherwise you risk losing points; and decide when to sacrifice some space to collect gems and other treasures (game by Frank West. Editions The City of Games, 1-4 players, 8+ years, 60-90 min., 59.99 euros). Wired: a captivating and colorful game that requires a good dose of strategy to win. With tons of achievement cards to increase the variety of each game. Tired: Despite its international success, it is only found in English. But language addiction is low to medium and only applies to the Isle of Cats rulebook and cards

Super Cats

If you think that the old game of “rock-paper-scissor” has already said all it could, you will have to change your mind after trying Supercats: a small but clever card game that manages to breathe new life into a mechanism known to all. The merit, of course, is also the nice cat theme. Each player chooses a team of five normal kittens. The goal will be to be able to transform them all into Supercats, ninja-themed feline superheroes, power rangers, x-men and more. How? At the shout of “Su-per-cats” (instead of one, two and three!) You will choose which number to show with the fingers of one hand, from zero to five. Each number has an effect, which goes from turning one or two kittens into as many superheroes, to allowing you to throw two numbers (using two hands) in a subsequent round. Not everyone, however, will benefit from these results. Priority goes to whoever threw the highest number, but who has a weaker effect associated with it. And there is a further factor to take into consideration: equal numbers cancel each other out. So if two players pick five, none of them will do anything, and the round will go to the only one who has played four, or three, and so on. This is how Supercats becomes a game of deduction and mental bluffing: will you try to roll five to have at least one chance of success, but knowing that you have a weak advantage? Or will he hazard a zero, hoping that everyone else will eliminate each other? Or will an intermediate number be better? The game also does not end there. When someone completes the transformation of their team of five kittens, all the other players unite into a mega-robot-dog and it continues with a second one-on-all phase (game by A. Bauza, C. Lebrat, L. Maublanc, N. Oury, T. Rivière. Studio Supernova, 3-6 players, 8+ years, 10-15 minutes, € 14.90). Wired: a captivating idea for the whole family, which gives new life to a classic but well-used mechanism. Tired: gives its best with 4-5 players; if you are less, the interaction is not very satisfying, while in 6 it becomes too confusing

Meow

Do not be fooled by the harmless packaging and the eyes of the kitten that are portrayed there. Meow is a small card game that boasts great credentials. The author is in fact the famous Reiner Knizia, a prolific game designer who has signed more than 600 board games – including many masterpieces of various genres. Meow is probably not one of Knizia’s most famous or brilliant titles, but it includes many of the elements that distinguish the author’s works: few elements, few rules, unsuspected depth. The game itself is a variant of trump, with three colors (green, blue, red) representing the suits, each of 18 cards. At each round, the first player chooses a card to play, keeping in mind that everyone will have to answer with the same color, if they have it available. Green is the trump, and therefore beats all other colors; otherwise, the card with the highest number of the color played by the first hand wins. 1 always loses, unless 18 of that same suit is also played. The twist is that it doesn’t always pay off to win. In fact, each hand serves to win a chip that can give you many points, few points, or even negative points. It will therefore be necessary to decide well when to put your aces up your sleeve, and when instead to get rid of uncomfortable cards and make sure that the opponents are the ones to take (Cranio Creations editions, 2-6 players, 20 min, 8+ years, 14.99 euros) . Wired: a game for families and trump fans, enclosed in a memorable rubbery case. Tired: Experienced gamers will prefer other titles of the same genre, such as the better known and appreciated The Crew. But you have to give up on kittens …


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