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Awards

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • It’s trick taking but not as you know it
  • Can be taught in just a few minutes
  • Quality production
  • So much innovation
  • Cats (look at that cover)

Might Not Like

  • Two player variant is just okay compared to the rest of the game
  • One game is never enough
  • Causing a paradox when you have the perfect number of tricks
Find out more about our blog & how to become a member of the blogging team by clicking here

Cat In The Box Review

cat in the box

Trick taking games have been around for as long as there have been cards. The whole genre started to get a little bit samey until a few years ago when some very clever and unique twists started to appear on the market. The Crew introduced cooperative gameplay with limited communications and then Shamans introduced a hidden traitor mechanism which somehow works with only three players (you can play up to five, I am just amazed a hidden traitor game works with only three players). Both are brilliant games and have reignited the interest in the genre.

Cat in the Box from designer Muneyuki Yokouchi and published by Bezier Games is a brand new trick taking game with a very clever twist. There are no colours on any of the cards but there kind of is…..confused…..keep on reading and all will be explained and I will also let you know if it’s worth your time (hint, it definitely is).

What’s In The Box?

The production for Cat in the Box is amazing. From the perfectly sized and well-illustrated box, to the great artwork and component quality, and finally to the dual layered player boards and beautiful see-through player pieces. Everything in this release has been well thought out and really gives the feeling of a deluxe game. The rules are also well written and easy to follow and you should be playing from a standing start pretty quickly.

It’s Tricky, It’s Tricky, Tricky

So what’s the twist with Cat in the Box? None of the cards have any colours on them and when you play a four you have to confirm what colour you want the four to be. You then mark off that colour and number on the main board with your player piece so that everyone knows it can’t be claimed again. Genius. Such a simple concept that I don’t know why it hasn’t been used before.

But the game doesn’t rest on its laurels there, oh no, it also has more cards than can possibly be played. You can only claim your card is one of four colours (Red, Blue, Yellow and Green) and if you still have a four card in your hand but all of the colours have a four marked off then you are stuck and you will cause a paradox which ends the round and gives you negative points.

Also, if you ever declare that you cannot follow the lead card colour you have to mark up your player board to say you do not have any of that colour at all. This could come back and hit you hard later on when you are running out of other colours / number choices.

It’s Tricky To Rock A Rhyme, To Rock A Rhyme That’s Right On Time

The game still has more ‘tricks’ up its sleeves. A staple in trick taking games is declaring how many tricks you think you will win each round based on the cards you start with. Cat in the Box also does this but with its own unique twist.

For each trick you win you score one point. If you caused the paradox you score minus one point per trick. If you managed to win the number of tricks you declared (without causing a paradox) you score one point per token of your colour in the largest group of your tokens on the main board. These would be where you have declared a colour and number. So you will want to declare similar numbers and get as many bonus points as possible without exceeding your trick target. This scoring feels like a little area control mechanism and I love it.

Paradoxically Speaking

Trick taking games do not normally work too well at two, although there are a few specialist games that do it well, The Fox in the Forest being one. Cat in the Box has a two player variant which means you can play this game and have a good time with just one other person. It takes away the trick predictions but adds some random colour / numbers combinations which are already used at the beginning of the game. I would still prefer to play with three, four or five but it is nice that the game has the rule set for two. One way in which we have increased the fun at two players is to play more rounds than the recommended two.

Is This Game Puuuurrrrfect?

There is nothing to complain about with this game. In fact the complete opposite is true, I need to shout about how good it is. If you like trick taking this is one you must have in your collection. If you are not sure about trick taking buy this and you will be converted. I love the art, the components, the game mechanisms and the excitement from playing it. I would have preferred maybe more innovation from the two player variant (because I have been spoiled by the rest of the game) but I will happily play it at two anytime.

The only question that remains ‘is the cat in the box’????

That concludes our thoughts on Cat In The Box. Do you agree? Let us know your thoughts and tag us on social media @zatugames. To buy Cat In The Box today click here!

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Its trick taking but not as you know it
  • Can be taught in just a few minutes
  • Quality production
  • So much innovation
  • Cats (look at that cover)

Might not like

  • Two player variant is just okay compared to the rest of the game
  • One game is never enough
  • Causing a paradox when you have the perfect number of tricks

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Find out more about our blog & how to become a member of the blogging team by clicking here

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