Monday, 9 December 2013

Rat-a-tat-cat, review and other stuff. . .

Whilst we were in Leisure games last week A bought herself two new games. 

It was only after a long convoluted discussion that she didn't buy more dice - true gamer-chick there ;)

This afternoon the kittens were chasing a large D20 around the living room, so J decided even the pets here are gamers . . .

The first game A bought was Rat-a-tat-cat - made by Gamewrights, a publisher we know and trust :)

The game is a turn based card game, but it has some interesting twists to the usual rules.

Cards are numbered zero to nine, with cats for the numbers up to five, and rats from then on.  The pictures are well drawn, and have a nice sense of humour to them.  The aim of the game is to get the lowest score.

You start with four cards face down in front of each player, the rest of the deck is the draw pile, but the top card is flipped to begin the discard pile.

At the start of the game you may look at the two outer cards (number one and four in front of you) but NOT the other two.  Unless you get a special card later on you may not look at these cards again.  For younger players the game can be played with these outlying cards face up.

On your turn you may either take the top discard card, and switch it with one of your cards (face downs stay face down on the table) OR draw the top card from the draw pile, show it to your opponent(s) and decide whether to play it or not.  It may be a numbered card (switch with one of your face down cards) or one of three "Specials" - these are Swap (swap one of your cards with an opponents, you may not look at the cards you exchange)Draw two (draw another card, decide if you want to play it, if not discard it and draw another) or Peek (look at one of your own face down cards.) You always have the choice of playing or discarding it, but specials on the discard pile do not have their special powers intact.

The round continues until one player knocks on the table and declares "Rat-a-tat-cat" (when they are satisfied with their score), at which point the opponents get one last turn and then the scores are worked out.

Scoring is easy - add up the cards in front of you.  If you have a special it is discarded and a random card drawn to replace it.

The game is played over an agreed number of rounds, we do five, which allows everyone to get the hang of what they are meant to be doing.

We like the game, it encourages a bit of maths, some strategy, some watching of opponents, and plays quickly.  A - at 7 - is fully able to understand the rules, J - 9 - enjoys the game too.  I suspect that M would enjoy it as a way to connect with younger children, but at 11 he is a little old for it really.

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