A review of Kitty Paw by Jason Elliott from PaladinElliott Productions
So what is it?
Kitty Paw by Renegade Game Studios is an one to four player game that runs roughly fifteen to thirty minutes for an entire game. It is a fast paced kitty tile and kitty card grabbing game. This is what happens when kitties run into boxes playing hide and seek in board game form.
So what comes in it?
You receive the game in its box, with 28 kitty tiles (4 of each kitty type, and there are 7 kitty types). There are 8 kitty box cards, showing a box on one side, and the other side will have a kitty or a chihuahua (yes you read that right, it makes it a little crazier). There is then 4 box cards that are presenting in different orientations empty. You have 48 Kitty Cards that come in Levels One, Two, and Three. The game rules book, which has the rules in English, and Japanese, comes with it, along with a starting/winning marker.
So what is the goal of the game?
In this game of grabbing fast and grabbing correctly, you try to be the first to correctly build the kitty combination showing on your level card. The kitties face a certain way, and you copy everything you see on the card. The first one to do this receives the victory points on the card (top right value), while the other players flip the card over to receive the kitty penalty. This penalty is minus whatever the level card is, level one is minus one, level two is minus two, and level three is minus three.
How does the game end?
When one player has scored five level cards positively (count ones that are not flipped for their penalty), or when the kitty card draw pile is empty after a round. You add up your points, positive and negative, and the person with the highest amount wins! In the event of a tie, the tied players play an extra round, by shuffling and using the removed kitty cards, and the winner of this tie round wins the game.
How do I set the game up?
Each player places a set of kitty tiles ( one of each type, there are 7 types) in the center, and mix them up! Next, shuffle the 8 cat box cards with their box side up and place them around the center pile. Make sure all of this is in reach of every player. Each person playing takes one box card and places it in front of them (this is the empty box card for clarification). You will set up your kitty card draw deck. There will be Level 1 cards in blue, there will be Level 2 cards (some are off yellow, some are off green) and you will use one color set only of Level 2. The Level 3 cards are pink. You will shuffle each level of cards then place Level 3 cards on the bottom, then one of the Level 2 sets on top of it, and then the Level 1 on top of it. You will then draw as many cards as their are players from Level 1 cards to the side of the draw deck, You will draw these cards to the side every turn, as they serve as the available pool to try to score from.
What happens during a game turn?
All the players will place their paws (hands) on top of each other in one pile and shout out "KITTY PAW!" You do not have to do this though :) Each player from the designated turn order (we used who pet a kitty last goes first) in clockwise fashion chooses a kitty card to attempt to score on. Then it is a free for all, where you are only allowed to grab one tile at a time, and you grab the correct kitty tiles, and kitty in the box card, to duplicate the pattern on your card. When a person believes they have correctly done this, they yell out "MEOW!", and play stops to check to see if the player has correctly done this. All other players must perform the "Lucky Cat" gesture (have your hand up and fingers curved down) and touch the player's paw (the one who called the Meow). If you are the last one to perform the Lucky Cat, you must flip your card to the penalty side. If you incorrectly called Meow then you must flip your card to the penalty side. You sit out while the other players who have not scored or flipped resume play. You play until someone correctly scores their card. If you are the only person left other than the scorer then you must flip to the penalty side (as you are the first and the last Lucky Cat Gesture). Continue to this process until someone has reached the five positive scored cards, or the draw deck runs out. In each new turn, place the kitty tiles back in the center, along with the cat in the box cards as a reset to prepare for the turn. Draw 4 new cards for players to choose from. Once everyone is ready, call go, or start, or meow to start the madness over once more.
Does the game allow for variants?
Yes, you can mix all the cards together, so levels are mixed together. You could also add the additional level 2 cards, or mix the different level 2 sets (though these options are not expressed in the game).
How has it played for us?
My wife, myself, and our children (Arnold 7 and Talia 5) played the game, and found that as parents we would hold back on our speed and reach to compensate for our two little ones. We found that the game promotes pattern recognition, and very quick decision making for the children. With these things being taken into account it was a very unique experience (as the only other game I could think of like this was Pit), and shines more as people of higher ages with higher dexterity, and greater development can take greater advantage of what the game has to offer. I would stress that more patience and more explanation are needed as the players ages are lower in the recommended range.
This being said, we see the game being played more in the future, We based this off of our son winning the game, and our daughter fuming, wanting another chance to beat her brother at this game. We will continue to use our personal methods of holding back and slowing down the game to allow our children the time to prepare, and have a couple extra seconds to assist in what avenue they shall take in completing their cards. The nice thing is that the game allows for parents to make modifications at their own discretion to help create a friendlier environment for the kids to play.
The game takes a unique turn away from many other games that are available to families and players out there. As I mentioned I could only think of Pit as the only game similar to this. The kitty theme is very strong, and the kids really enjoyed that. If you want a game that brings a little bit of chaos mixed in recognizing and fulfilling pattern recognition, teaching how to make not only quick decisions, but trying to physically position yourself into grabbing the correct pieces to complete your puzzle if you will, then this is a game for you. It plays quick, you learn quick, and its size lends to easy clean up and storage!
Thank you so much for reading my review on Kitty Paw, and I hope you will check out my PaladinElliott Blog at:
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RET. SSG Jason L. Elliott (PaladinElliott)