Collect as Many Cats as You Can in ‘Here, Kitty, Kitty!’

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Kitty_Feat

Collect the most cats from your neighborhood on your way to becoming the ultimate crazy cat person and winning the game!

Summary

Your neighborhood has an overabundance of cats and each one of them is just waiting to find love in a warm and welcoming household. But everyone wants these adorable kitties and it’s up to you to do whatever you can to lure them to your house, away from the neighbors and onto your Property. In the end, whoever has the most cats wins!

Here, Kitty, Kitty! is from Fireside Games and is a game for 3 to 6 players, aged 10 and up and plays in about 20-30 minutes.

Components

For each player, there’s a Property Card that shows your House, Porch, and Yard. Each player also gets a reference card to remind you of your options on your turn and how final scoring is calculated. There are 51 playing cards for the game and these cards (along with the Property Cards) are of acceptable quality. There are also 40 fantastic plastic miniature cats, cast in four different colors and multiple poses.

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Setup and Gameplay

Each player chooses a Property Card. Even though there’s no difference in how the cards play, each has a different design, which is nice because you can find a home to suit your personality. The Property Cards are placed in front of each player and the theme plays a little better if you can position the cards so the Yards touch in some way, as backyards might in a suburban setting — plus, it really fosters a sense of community! What’s more, placing the cards this way helps to visually consider those to your left and right because, in the game, these are your neighbors. Some cards in the game dictate effects that relate to your neighbors. All 40 cats are placed in the center of the table, in a way where they are accessible to all players.

The cards have three different borders that denote different types of effects. To set the game up, you have to first remove all the red bordered Instant cards, then shuffle the deck. You then deal 3 cards to each player, put the Instant cards back in the deck, shuffle them up and you are ready to go.

The game suggests that the player with the most cats starts, which can be challenging when playing as a family, but find a way to choose a starting player and that person gets to draw first fur. On your turn, you can spend two actions. You can move a cat one space, play a card, or discard 1-3 cards. You can perform the same action twice. Then players draw up to the dictated hand limit, which depends on the number of players.

Kitty_Cats

The goal of the game is to have the most points at the end of the game and it’s important to understand the scoring before play begins. You want cats on your Property, but you don’t get any points if they are just in your Yard. You get 3 points for each cat on your Porch and 5 for each feline in your House. Additionally, if you collect 5 or more cats of the same color on your Property, you get 5 points. If you get a cat of each of the four colors, you get 5 points. If all of your cats are a single color, you get 10 points. And for each of the four types of cats, whoever has the most of each color gets 3 points.

To score these points, you can concentrate on moving cats from the neighborhood into your Yard, you can play standard cards that give you a benefit (or a detriment to another player), or play defensive cards that counteract another player’s card against you or an Instant card. Or you can play a combination of moving cats and playing cards, which seems to have the best outcomes. After you’ve played a card on your turn, you get to draw up to the hand limit. You do this by drawing a single card at a time to see if the drawn card has a red border that indicates it is an Instant card. Instant cards affect all players and must be immediately resolved before the player continues drawing until reaching the hand limit.

The cards all have cat-related titles and effects that are related to the title. For instance “Laser Pointer – Lure 2 Cats from your Yard to your House,” “Cat Fight – One player of your choice moves 2 Cats from their Yard, with 1 going to each of their neighbors’ Yards,” and “Microchip – Play at no action to move 1 Cat into your House when another player tries to move that Cat from your Porch or Yard.”

Play continues until the last card is drawn. Then everyone gets a last turn and scoring is tallied. The player with the most points wins.

Verdict

Here, Kitty, Kitty! is a fun little family game. It’s easy to learn and plays quickly. Depending on the cards that players draw, it can favor luck just a bit more than strategy, which is a positive in family games, I think. A game that favors luck is better when playing with younger kids. It gives them the possibility of keeping up with a more experienced player. Plus, in a couple of the games we played, one of the players seemed to be losing the game as the end drew close. But thanks to some late-drawn cards, she ended up winning when she was able to pull cats away from other players.

Kitty_Cards

I think that this game, despite being for ages 10 and up, could be played by younger players. The biggest challenge is reading and understanding cards (which could be tough for young players – even some 14-year-olds had trouble parsing the conditions that allowed certain cards to be played) and playing a strategy. But even the youngest of players will have a great time playing with the tiny cat sculpts. They’re pretty adorable.

This is the first game from designer Kris McCardel Ware and, while it’s pretty enjoyable, it feels like it’s a bit more complicated than it needs to be. Setup isn’t as streamlined as it feels like it should be. You have to search the deck, remove Instant cards (tougher than it should be because the red borders of the Instants don’t contrast as much as they should with the fuschia-bordered standard cards), shuffle, reinsert Instants, and shuffle again before playing.

Scoring feels a bit more complex than it needs to be, too. So, at home, we decided that we’d prefer if there were fewer ways to score at the end and we ended up home-brewing the scoring a little. Simpler games meant a more satisfying time for us. It’s not that it’s too much to keep track of, it’s just that, in my opinion, a simple 20-minute game should not have to be tracked by a complex grid for scoring. (See all the categories in the image.) Neither complaint is a big deal for a game I’m going to spend an hour or more playing, but for a short game, it feels like there’s too much “housekeeping” instead of game playing.

Kitty_Scoring
The scoring chart.

Still, we’ve really had fun with Here, Kitty, Kitty! and once you understand its nuances, it’s a pretty good game. We made it a rule that you have to call out the game’s title when luring cats to your Property and it’s made the game more fun. The cat minis are a really great touch and enhance the game exponentially. I don’t think it would be as much of an entertaining experience if the cats had been cardboard tokens.

Here, Kitty, Kitty! is available beginning April 1. (No joke!)

Kitty_Play2

GeekDad received a copy of this game for review purposes.

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