WBG Score: 8
Player Count: 2-8
Published by: Stuff By Bez
Designed by: Bez Shahriari
Bez is a amazing. Let's get that out the way from the start. I absolutely adore everything that Bez has made and find all her games to be made with equal parts joy, fun, and genius. Over the last few years, Bez has been up to all sorts of shenanigans with some crazy fun games being made. All with bonkers names, but each one delivering unparalleled fun. Such as A game about quickly grabbing creatures that are totally different, and watching out for turnips, which you can read about here.
One of Bez's latest games is A Game About Counting Cats' Shapes & Colours that keep getting Trickier which is the name, and also, a pretty good start to the rule set.
Strap in, this could take a full minute! Shuffle the deck and place it face down in the middle of the play area. And that's the set-up!
How to Play
Playing this game (I won't use the full title again as I do need to keep up my kids from uni in 10 years) is so simple, but also, surprisingly tricky, although I suppose that could be deduced from the title. When everyone is ready, someone will flip the top card of the deck. The newly revealed card back will tell all players what to count on the back of the top card they just flipped. This will be various cat poses. Lying down, sprawled out, or curled up in a ball. Or scribbled colours. Everyone else then needs to count up how many cats of this type are visible on the newly revealed face up card, shout that number and then slap the card. The first to slap the card having said the correct number wins the card.
Card backs either look like this...
The wining player will then flip the next card and everyone will go again. When you are flipping the card, you cannot compete in the next round. A very simple catch-up mechanic that works very well. But as soon as that round is over they are back in. And here comes the twist! You know, one of those really fun twists you love to teach when introducing people to games like The Mind when you tell people "but you cannot communicate!" Well, in this game, whenever you win a card, not only do you now need to count up all the types of Cats on the back of the top card, but also the Cats in the cards you have won. When you have won just one and two cards, this is not too tricky. But when you have three and four in front of you it gets very tricky! You're starting to get the title now, right?
And of course, you wont always be up against other players with the same amount of cards in front of them as you. So, the extra time you are now taking to count them all up won't always be the same as others when they have less cards. Crazy huh! Well, here comes the final twist. If you ever shout an incorrect number everything you have previous won goes back to the bottom of the deck. You are back to square one.
In order to win the game you need to be the first player to win five cards. This typically takes around 5-10 minutes, at which point every player will be starting to get their eye in for how this game works. And I guarantee, all around the table will all cry in unison, "Can we try that again?" This is a session game. You know, like a low alcohol session beer. Designed for drinking when you are planning on having a few. This game is designed to be played multiple times, game after game. And it is joyful. (Please drink responsibly).
There is something special about these games. There is a whimsey, a childish innocence. But they are not novelties. They are good, solid, fun games. Sure, the theme's are funny. The names are different. But the mechanics, ruleset and actual flow of gameplay is always very good. Don't be fooled by the simple deck of cards, plastic bag casing, low price, or long name. This is a very good card game. And I would wager, if made by a larger publisher, would be up for awards and sell bucket loads.
Whereas the front of the cards look like this.
I enjoy playing this game a lot. There is a real sense of tension when you are going for your forth and fifth card. You want to say the number. You think you have the number right. But you know if you get it wrong, that's it, you are back to square one again! The risk/reward is high. Win the game, or start again. But as you can catch up quickly people do go for it. Winning one or two cards back when you are knocked down to zero is fairly easy when you are up against others with three or four cards. You can obviously count a lot quicker when you have less cards. So, people do take the risks. There is a perfect balance here. Which makes the moments when people win the game great for everyone. You feel genuinely impressed when someone manages to get the number right for that fifth card. not just in their ability to play the game well, but their courage to go for it when you know they were very much plagued by self-doubt! There is a shared moment of joy despite this being a competitive game.
For the price and value this game offers, I would suggest it to anyone. What do you have to lose? I can see it not being fun for some people if they struggle with visual puzzles. It can be stressful if you are bad at this sort of thing, and others are finding it easier to match the top cards. But that's me. I am terrible at this sort of thing and very bad at this game. But I still love it. It's just too fun to care that much about winning. I enjoy seeing other people doing well and enjoy the moments this game creates. Highly recommend from WBG.