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Subject: Cat Town: Review rss

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Cassie Elle
United States
Sarasota
Florida
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Reviewer for TIGR: TheIndieGameReport.com
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For a crazy cat lady like myself, traveling equals missing my fur babies. But if I could travel to a town full of cats? I think a paradise like that could…ease my loneliness. Come with me as we visit such a place in the game Cat Town by Jog Kung, Meofrom Twoplus Games.


About the Game

Cat Town is a game for two to four players in which players attempt to be the first to earn six points, winning the game. Players earn points by finding cats, collecting items, and playing certain cards called Travel Notes. Each cat collected is worth one point. Each collected pair of item cards that share the same name are worth one point. The Travel Notes card is worth one point when played like cat cards, but requires a player to discard cards from her hand in order to play the Travel Notes.

Players begin the game each with a cat and a mouse of the same color. The tokens are so freaking cute. All of the cats are in different poses in addition to being a different color. The stretching cat is my favorite teehee. The mouse serves two purposes: to remind players of their cat color, and to remind players of penalties they may incur in the game.

The deck is split into stacks placed on large cards called Blocks. For some reason, the large cards that are Blocks
are also known as Scene cards in the rules. The two terms seem to be interchangeable. A Scene card represents a “block” in the Cat Town that a traveler might go looking for a cat in. They have no relevance to the game other than sharing cute art, and identifying the different Blocks. The back of the Block cards are set to look like postcards, so in the event you don’t like a Block, you can just mail it away. I’m sure this was actually intended to represent tourist postcards that travelers would obtain in Cat Town, but it could also be a legit postcard to use.

There is one Scene/Block card that is always in the center of every game, and this is the Station. Cards are placed face-up in the Station and may be obtained throughout the game.

There are two types of cards in Cat Town: blue items, and green actions. Items stay with the player, actions are just that – actions a player chooses to perform.
On a player’s turn, she may choose to perform one of four actions:

Take a walk,
Take a walk,
Play a card, or
Search her hand.
Yes, two actions are named “take a walk” as they both require a player to draw a card from a Block, but what happens to that card is determined by whether the player chooses to draw a card and keep it in her hand, or she chooses to “search a block” while “taking a walk” and instead reveals the card to the table. If the card revealed is an action card, it’s immediately discarded and cannot be played. If it’s an item or a cat, it is played immediately in front of the player.

If a player chooses to play a card on her turn, she will either perform the action card she played and then will discard the card, or she will leave the item card in play. Cats cannot be played from a player’s hand and if this is done, the cat card is immediately discarded.


*Note that the discard pile may eventually become the new Station cards, so eventually the cats would come back. Don’t worry, no cat is ever truly…discarded.

Finally a player can “search” her hand for a card, which means shuffle your hand and play a random card. Similar to the way a player could “search a block” while “taking a walk,” if the random card played is an action card, its immediately discarded and cannot be played. If it’s an item or a cat, it is played immediately in front of the player.

The strategy of Cat Town doesn’t reveal itself immediately, mostly because it feels like there is no strategy. A card may or may not be helpful depending on how you found it.
If you “search a block” and find that the card is an action card, you can’t use it. If you draw a card after deciding to keep it and you draw a cat, you can’t play it. The action cards are not translated very well so some action cards are ambiguous. Some action cards have icons on them that allow the player to perform a specific bonus action after playing the card. The rules are not very clear about how some of the action icons function. I found myself looking on BoardGameGeek.com for further explanation of some of the rules. The game comes with a few blank action cards, I’m assuming so players could create their own cards, but I don’t know what action someone would want to add to this game.

How many cats are in Cat Town?
Answer: A buttload.
Every single card has a picture of a cat on it, actions and items alike. There are ten individual cat cards.

Final Thoughts

Mechanics

Mechanics are easy to follow and decisions don’t require too much thought. The game is light and not too long, definitely a filler game. The game relies on memory. Players must remember what cards are where so they may obtain the item cards and cat cards they need to win the game.

Rules

The English translation of the rules definitely leaves some questions to how the game plays. There are also a few spelling errors. Most of the rulebook makes sense, but some parts of it just…Don’t.

Art

The art is wonderful. Very soft and cozy. You’ll definitely feel like you’re in a town of cats when looking through the Block cards. The artists for Cat Town are Lauren Hsiu and Aboo Yang. The cat tokens are awesome and I LOVE them. Very nice quality.

Is it fun?

Overall, my short answer is no. In my opinion, the game is too repetitive and lacks in action options. You are either drawing cards and playing them to keep, or are discarding them because you can’t play them. There just wasn’t any excitement in the game for me. I can see how revealing cats by “searching a block” could be fun and ties into the theme of looking for cats in Cat Town, but outside of that, the game just wasn’t…Exciting. You’re trying to remember where cards are, but players can just as easily mess with your memory but drawing the cards you just located. I would probably only find myself breaking the game out when requested, or to show off the amazing art and cat tokens.

There’s one thing of which I’m certain about this game, and that is that I wish I lived in Cat Town.

Find more reviews from The Indie Game Report at http://www.theindiegamereport.com
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