Some card games put the weight of the whole world on your shoulders, be it a real or a fantasy based one. Some games change their rules so often that you are forced to buy expensive single cards if you want to win. Some games have complex mechanics that are based on formulas beyond a mere mortal’s understanding. And, then, there is “Cat’astrophes”.
This game, developed by Mahieu Ludovic has exceeded its proposed finding on Kickstarter more than six times over, and that is not a surprise. The game puts you, the player, in a position of a mischievous house cat with just one goal in mind: to make as much trouble as you can without getting caught. That means, your Mischief score has to remain below 20.
Each turn consists of a draw phase, where you can draw one or two cards, setup phase, where you set special cards in front of yourself or one of your opponents (this is a game for up to six players), and the play phase, where you reveal the previously set cards. Your goal is to make yourself look as innocent as possible in your owner’s eyes while getting other cats in trouble. To do so, you have three types of cards at your disposal: Mischief, which draws the owner’s attention to you and makes them angry, Purring, which gets them calm and Sneaky cards which increase the owner’s awareness, but could change the way they perceive other cats and get them in trouble instead.
That is all there is to the game. The game is over when one of you kitties has been grounded twenty times for its mischief, or when you run out of cards to draw. On average, one round of “Cat’astrophes” lasts from ten to twenty minutes.
You might not like the fact that your owner is being referred to as “Hooman”, or that words that include the root “human” have been changed to words based on “cat” (for example, the official page urges you to do “everything catly possible”) but there is no denying that “Cat’astrophes” is a simple, fast-paced and charming card game.