This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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Number of Players: 2-4
Time: 30 Mins
Gamer Type: Casual
Game Type: Casual
Have you ever thought of being a cat collector? Bringing multiple cats into your home can be a rewarding experience, but it also can be a pain in the butt and a major drag on your social life. To help you meet the desire to collect cats, or if you just want a fun little game, AEG has brought forth the game Cat Lady to meet your feline finding fancy.
In Cat Lady, you play the role of a person who is out to protect the most little kitty lives you can. In the game, you are on a quest to collect cats, toys, food and other items that can turn your house into a miniature zoo. To be fair, if you are collecting cats, you also need to keep in mind that you have to feed your little furry friends, so you are on a race against the deck to get as many cats as you can, but make sure you feed them – or else you lose points. The story is cute: you collect cats and give them toys and costumes, but it is a little dark as your cats you do not feed die (or go to the pound, you lose them at the end, and points, if you do not feed them). The story earns Cat Lady a 6 out of 10 for story.
Simple cartoon art, wood pieces, and a standard small sized box are a recipe for success. The game is a fun little game as the cat (and other cards) are all drawn in the same style, which keeps your mind in the game. The game is quick, but the artwork is important as the color of your cat could activate special scoring. The food pieces are standard wooden blocks, but the cat icon (which manages the rows) is well made and a nice piece. The bonus VP tokens are standard cardboard tokens, which adds to the variety of the pieces; it has more different mediums than most small box games. Overall, the cartoony artwork adds to the playing of the game, 8 of 10.
This is a book-making game. You have a goal of collecting “books” that score you points. The books are bought off of a 3×3 grid and a special board of 3 “stray cats.” To buy the strays you need to spend “lost cards” which simply makes them part of the initial books with extra steps. The main books are cats and food (defined by the diet on each cat), toys (which is a collect-them-all system), costumes (which are scoring engines) and green cards (which have special powers or punish you for not having them). The mechanics are simple but intricate, which makes it a fun game that anyone can play (7 of 10).
Cat Lady is interesting. Like chess, you can pick it up very quickly – reading the rules only takes a few minutes. However, there are intricacies that make mastering the game very difficult. There is a high level of randomization, which can frustrate tactical players; however, it keeps all players in the game, which is a boon. You can try to play offensive, specifically targeting the cards you need to build a strong score. You can play defensibly, trying to take the cards you think your opponents want. Rushing the game can be tricky, but using the green cards and the purples can give you a narrow lane to victory that is hard to block You can build engines, but they are quite basic. Overall, it is a fun game for everyone, which means that strategy takes a back seat to fun in this one. 5 of 10.
Novelty and Conclusion
The last book-making game that I played was Phase 10, which may be why I have not played many book- making games in the last few years. Most of the time book making games (Phase 10, bridge, rummy) are practice-oriented games, where you are playing the opponent as much as you are playing the hand. Cat Lady focuses on the game. Usually in the game, if you make a move just to hurt an opponent, you will find yourself in a hole. Everyone once in a while you get a unicorn, where you can help yourself and hurt an opponent, but they are rare. This is a very novel book-making game as it does not have a learning curve; the new can beat the old because of randomness, but the old can beat the new over the long run (7 of 10).
Cat Lady is fun, and it is simple. These are two qualities that you want in a small box game. The more you play, you learn the cats’ special abilities, but there are not many. This starts new players on equal footing with experienced players. Great game for home or tournaments because its fun, fast, and balanced. With a score of 33 out of 50, this is a very good game to have in your collection. Gamer friends will love it because you can play it while waiting for that friend who is always late. Your family will love it because everyone can understand the rules quickly and no one can “steamroll” the table. This is a great little game that you should pick up for your collection.
Dr. Christopher Smithmyer is a writer for NRN, the Vice President of International Affairs at Brav Online Conflict Management, and an Adjunct Professor of MBA Business at Doane University. He is also part of the founding team at BlackWalletLTD, one of the leaders in stable coin 2.0 ecosystem maintenance. Dr. Smithmyer’s focus is international business and finance, along with reviews of board games, weapons platforms, and survival items.