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Subject: [Review] Feed the Kitty rss

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Tom Vasel
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I'm always on the lookout for new kids' games, especially ones that are geared towards the younger audience. Feed the Kitty (Gamewright, 2006 - Bob Bushnell) certainly looked like it satisfied these requirements. I played it with my younger daughters, who were very excited about the nice components and artwork.

And even though I often think that kid's games often get a bad rap because of adults rating them according to their own dislikes, I feel that my negative opinion of Feed the Kitty is not so prejudiced. Actually, my children really didn't like the game, which feels like a variation of the age old Hi Ho Cheerio! Players simply roll dice and follow the instructions, passing mice around or discarding them. There are no choices in the game, and it really isn't one that I would recommend teaching your kids.

Depending on how many players are in the game (up to five can participate), each player takes a certain amount of mice figures. Any leftover mice are placed in a small bowl in the middle of the table, and one player is chosen to go first. On a player's turn, they simply roll two special six-sided dice, and then follow the symbols on each die.
- Cat (3 on each die): Do nothing. If a player rolls two of these, they do nothing that turn.
- Mouse (1 on one of the dice): The player receives one mouse from the bowl and adds it to their pile.
- Arrow (1 on each die): The player must give one mouse to the player on their left.
- Food dish (1 on one die, two on the other): The player must place a mouse into the bowl.

Play continues around the table, with players continuing to go until they run out of mice. At this point the player can no longer roll dice, but they could conceivably be back in the game if a neighbor has to give them dice. When only one player is left with dice, the game ends, and that player is the winner!

Some comments on the game…

1.) Components: The dice are very well done, with purple imprints in some good quality dice. The mice are wooden silhouettes of mice, and the green plastic bowl is simply that. Everything fits inside a box that is much larger than needed but one with cute artwork that kids are going to enjoy.

2.) Rules: The rules are on three small pages - I mean, do you really need more than that. Anyone who has played L-C-R before will immediately grasp them, because it's very close to the same thing. Kids pick up on the rules, although younger ones have trouble understanding why they still sit there when they run out of mice.

3.) Fun Factor: Only three points for this review? That's because the game is so simple that I don't have much more to say about it. I found that the game has zero decisions, something that I consider bad for any game, even a children's game. They should be taught that they can have some control over their outcome. Also, it's very frustrating for a little child when they lose all their mice on the first couple turns, and then must sit there for a period of time while the others finish up playing. There's no real satisfaction, and I've had to deal with crying fits that I just didn't have any real good answers for.

The idea of the game was to make a simple one that kids can enjoy. But there are many other simple children's game (and many of them produced by Gamewright!) that offer choices and decisions and have a higher fulfillment level. Feed the Kitty is basically a brain-dead game; and if I wanted my kids to play one of those, I would have them watch TV instead. A cute idea, perhaps, but Feed the Kitty is a wash for me.

Tom Vasel
"Real men play board games"
www.tomvasel.com
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JessA
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Hoo boy...and this made Family Fun Magazine's list for best games for 2006.
 
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Neil Coulter
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Our family was given the game for Christmas this year, and we actually kind of like it (though not the kind of "like" that results in wanting to play it non-stop for days on end). It is simple, of course, but it's decent enough for my 6 and 3 year olds. And it has that golden ticket of games: it works fine with two players. The pieces are rather fun--my sons like just playing with the parts. It's nice to have a game that has quality parts that are different from any other game (although the plastic bowl is a little flimsy--if anyone ever accidentally sits on it, the kitty will be disappointed). So, it's not a great game by any means, but it's certainly a nice detour from Go Fish, Old Maid, and a number of other "old reliables," not to mention a whole lot of kids' card games that are un-fun or boring.

The one major negative aspect of gameplay is that the dice seem to have way too many "sleeping kitty" sides. Maybe it's just the way they've rolled when we've played, but it seems like an awful lot of turns end up being "do nothing," and after a few of those in a row, the eyes start to glaze over.
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