Two of the most important things in my life are cats and board games, so when the two combine, I have been known to get a little over excited! Players will be taking on the role of cat ladies, collecting toys, food, catnip and obviously cats. Make sure you have enough food to feed your cats as any left hungry will subtract from your score.
Obviously, you get lots of cats, but here is what you get in the box!
- 102 Game Cards
- 13 Stray Cat Cards
- 6 Victory Point Tokens
- 1 Wooden Cat Token
- 60 Assorted Food Cubes (20 red, 20 blue, 15 white and 5 purple)
- 1 Rulebook
Depending on the number of players, remove the appropriate number of cards from the main deck, these are marked 3+ or 4 in the top right hand corner. Shuffle the deck and deal out 9 cards in a 3 by 3 grid in the centre of the table. Shuffle up the Stray Cat deck and deal three face up. The player who has the most cats is the starting player.
During your turn, you must take an entire row or column of three cards from the grid, then move the wooden cat next to the row or column you took. The next player cannot take from there. You can also play lost cat and spray bottles at any point in your turn.
When you take a food card, immediately discard it and take the food cube of the appropriate colour, which you will keep until the end of the game to feed your cats, note that the player with the most leftover food will lose 2VPs so be careful not to take more than you need!
If you take a costume card, keep it in your hand until the end of the game - the player with the most will gain 6 VPs, if you don’t have any, you will lose 2VPs.
Toys also stay in your hand until the end of the game, you will gain VPs based on the number of different toys you have. You may gain points for multiple sets.
Catnip acts as a multiplier for your fed cats at the end of the game - 2 or 3 will give you one extra point for each fed cat, 4 or more will give you two extra points for each. Beware though, if you have only one, you will lose 2 VPs.
Then, obviously, you have the cats! When you take a cat card, place it face up in front of you. At the end of the game, all of your cats need to be fed, represented by the food shown on the bottom of their card. If they are fully fed, gain the number of VPs shown on the left-hand side of the card, if they are not, lose 2 VPs. Cats come in a variety of colours, these are represented by letter(s) in the top left of the card. A cat may be black (B), white (W), orange (O) or even a combination of these colours eg. black and white (B+W) Colour is relevant for scoring some cats eg, Florence gives you points for scoring orange cats.
When you take Lost Cat cards, keep them in your hand until you decide to play them. You may discard two of them to either gain a victory point token (worth 2VPs) or discard two to ‘find’ a Stray Cat. When one is taken, do not refill - there are only three available throughout the game. Stray Cats work in the same way as ‘normal’ cats - they go into play in front of you, if they are unfed they will give you minus 2 VPs, but if they are fed they can be worth a lot of points.
The game ends when cards are taken from the grid and it cannot be refilled. Points are awarded for: fed cats, catnip, costumes, toys and VP tokens. Minus points are awarded for unfed cats, having 1 or no catnip, having no costumes and having the most spare food. The winner is the player with the most points. In case of a tie, the player with the most fed cats wins.
Cat Lady, simply put, is adorable! With cute names like Sir Cuddleface through to puns like Chairman Meow, who could resist these cute, fuzzy furballs?
Gameplay is quick and simple, yet engaging. It’s one of those game you play then someone says ‘shall we play again?’ which is always a great sign!
This would make a great secret Santa gift for a cat lover or someone with kids, in fact, it would make a great game to take to a family dinner as the festive season starts.
My only complaint is, it would be really handy to have a little score pad as there is a lot of small elements that need scoring at the end of the game which can get confusing (there is an unofficial one available to download from BGG.Com)
This is probably my favourite cat based game!
Review copy kindly provided by Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG)