Monday, September 29, 2008

#59: Fat Cats

Fat Cats
  • designer: Wolfgang Riedesser
  • publisher: Ravensburger
  • date: 1993
  • BoardGameGeek rank/rating: not ranked/5.5
  • age: 10+
  • # of players: 3-6
  • print status: OOP
  • cost: I could not find a copy for sale online from a reputable source (sorry!)
See, there's this old abandoned house that the cats use their clubhouse - they meet nightly to share the food they've scavenged from the neighborhood garbage cans & fight over who gets the best pillow to sit on. But the house is actually a haunted house - so they have to watch out for ghosts as well! (In my more cynical moments, I think the ghost is the Spinster Cat Lady who lived in the house with her 200 cats... but, then again, I'm not really an animal person.)

The theme may a bit out there (of course, not compared to some other oddball Eurokid games) but the gameplay is pure simultaneous action selection. There are four food cards in the middle of the table (really - there's a table on the game board!) with a varying number of food items on them. In Survivor, "fire represents life"; in Fat Cats, "food represents movement points." Players secretly choose which food they'll attempt to eat - and if they are the only player that chooses it, they get to move that many spaces forward. If more than one player chooses an item, nobody gets it AND those players can't choose that item in the next round.

The only wrinkle is the ghost(s) - after a few cards that are "safe", every time you pick up a card you turn it over & see if there is a ghost on the back. If there is, you must move back that many spaces. However, each player starts the game with a silver platter which he can use to "serve up" the ghost food to another (more deserving?!) player. The receiving player must move backwards - but he gets to keep the platter for later use.

It's a simple race game that teaches the basics of reading "groupthink" to young gamers (and their parents)... and it moves very quickly. I do not understand the 10+ age recommendation - in a mixed adult/kid group, my 3 year old son has played this and had fun. (Note: he didn't play well - but he can do secret action selection.)

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