Kitty Paw: Valentine’s Edition is a fast-paced, dexterity game where you’ll be trying to match cat tiles to the card in front of you to score points!
Please note: This edition of Kitty Paw is no different to the Standard version of Kitty Paw, except for the box, which has a cute, pull down note card for you to write to your Valentine.
First, you’ll need to place a set of cats per player into the middle of the play area and mix them up well. Then place each box cat card (and the one sneaky chihuahua card) in a face-down circle surrounding the tiles. This will be the area you will need to search in order to complete your Kitty Card objectives during the game.
Each player will receive one double-sided crate/box card.
The Kitty Cards need to be shuffled into their respective difficulty piles (-1 VP, -2 VP and -3 VP) and stacked face down with the -1 VP cards first. You then draw 4 cards and place them face up, when the game begins all players will scramble to choose the card they wish to complete simultaneously.
Playing with Cats
As soon as the four Kitty Cards are revealed all players place their hands into the middle of the play area stacking palms. When everyone is ready you all declare Kitty Paw! And the race to complete one of the cards begins.
After everyone has taken a card from the Kitty Cards they must replicate the cat's positions EXACTLY, by taking tiles (or a Cat Box) from the middle of the play area. Tiles may only be taken one-by-one, you can’t grab a handful and work from that.
Replicating exactly means each kitty must be facing the exact same way, with the same kitties touching the same points of each other. This sounds pretty easy, but actually can be tough, particularly with the added pressure of racing. My mind also tends to play tricks on me and it takes me a few moments to work out the perspective!
As the game progresses, the cards increase in difficulty. The Cat Boxes add even more of a challenge, as you have to imagine the box around the cat, and place it correctly, as though the box existed on the card.
Completing a Kitty Card
Once you believe you have correctly completed your Kitty Card you must shout Meow! And perform the ‘Lucky Cat’ gesture. All other players must immediately stop and touch the hand of the player who shouted Meow! The last player to do so must turn their Kitty Card to the -VP side.
All players then check to see if the tiles do indeed match the Kitty Card. If they do, that player scores the VP points on the card, and if they’re incorrect they must also turn their card to the negative VP side.
This part of the game only works with a higher player count. In a 2 player game, there is no point racing to tap the other player’s hand, as you’ll obviously be the last one. It’s a shame, as this feels like a major element that’s responsible for a lot of the fun/laughter/silliness.
Winning the Game
The game ends when one player has scored 5 Kitty Cards, (the scoring is a little ambiguous as to whether a -VP card is still a scored card but I believe this is the case.) OR when the Kitty Card deck runs out, whichever comes first.
At this point, all players total their Kitty Cards and the player with the highest VP wins.
Again this rule doesn’t work too well with just two players, as in each round one of you will either win or lose. Meaning the first player to have three positive cards will win, and that can occur quite quickly, without the opportunity to reach the more challenging cards in the game.
The Cute Factor
This game is super cute, there’s no doubt about it. The big, shiny eyes and the little kitten paws are just adorable. But for a Valentine’s Edition, I was expecting more than just the standard game inside the box. More pink, maybe. Or more heart-shaped-ness...Not that I’m complaining, it’d actually probably make the game just too sickly sweet, but it’s worth noting that aside from the box, it’s not really too Valentine-y.
The super cute box also feels a little flimsy, and if you’re trying to write/read the ‘I Love You’ note’ be prepared for the entire game to spill out. Make sure you keep the card wrap around that comes on the bottom of the box because you’ll need it to hold the whole thing together!
And another little gripe. The rules. Whilst easy enough to find online, the actual rulebook that goes with the game is a struggle. You can learn the game, but the translation isn’t very smooth and a few rules are left open to interpretation.
Finally, this game states it’s a 1-4 player game. It is not. No official solo rules exist and the game designers stated that the game is 1 player because you can ‘practise’ alone. To me, this is definitely not playing the game, as many rules would need to be ignored. Of course, you could set yourself timers, and house rules a solo challenge, but don’t get this game expecting solo rules!
My Final Thoughts
Kitty Paw: Valentine’s Edition, in my opinion, actually plays far better with a group than a couple. All of the mechanics point to friends/family fun. The game is lively, silly and fast, and those elements really thrive with a higher player count.
The cat tiles really are charming and I love the little chihuahua who’s snuck in to cause nought but trouble!
The game does what it claims, it’s a challenging dexterity game, and will get your mind working just as much as your hands. Unless you’re much better at seeing perspectives than me!
If you love dexterity, but hate cats (you monster!), there are plenty of other great games to try. If you’re looking for higher player counts, why not give the semi-cooperative game Team3 a go, which comes in Pink or Green. Bound to be a hit with larger groups.
Or if the 2-4 players hit a sweet spot for you, try bustin’ some moves in Breakdancing Meeples, which plays just as well at 2 players (and you don’t really have to dance).