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Felicity: The Cat in the Sack» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Felix -- Session Report rss

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Greg Schloesser
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Jefferson City
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NOTE: My full review of Felix will be published shortly. What follows is an abbreviated version.

Author Friedemann Friese can be counted upon to offer creative and unusual game designs. He’s designed games involving collecting fetishes, bombing rental buildings, stalking monsters, and even cannibalism. Most of his designs are quite original and clever, and range from light fillers to deep strategic affairs.

Herr Friese’s latest offering falls squarely into the “light filler” category. Indeed, it’s cute artwork and childlike theme almost provoked me to pass over the game during the Spiel in Essen. However, numerous folks were singing the game’s praises, so I decided to give it a try.

In Felix: The Cat in the Sack, players bid on a set of cards, hoping to grab cats that will result in a positive value, while avoiding the mangier and obese cats, which will bring negative points. Dogs can scare away cats, but in groups are pre-occupied with chasing each other. The problem is that the bidding begins when most of the cards are inverted, and they slowly are revealed as the round progresses. Thus, there is a considerable amount of speculation and hope involved when making bids.

In each of the nine rounds, each player selects one of his cards and places it face-down onto the table, one below each of the “mice” cards. Mice coins ranging from two to a high of six are placed onto each of the mice cards. The first card is revealed, and one-by-one, players either bid for the set of cards, or pass. When a player passes, he retrieves his coins, plus takes all of the coins from the first mice card. This is the ONLY way to earn more coins during the game. The next card is revealed, and the bidding continues in this fashion until only one player remains. This player takes all of the cards, but must pay his entire bid to the bank and he receives no mice coins.

Since additional cards are revealed only after players drop out of the bidding, players will be gambling that the set of cards will ultimately have a positive value. Thus, there is a strong “blind bidding” element, a mechanism I tend to abhor. Individual players will have a smidgen of information, as they will know the value of the card they played to the set, and more information will become available as the round progresses. Further, card counting can help some, but there is no denying that, although not flying completely blind, for the most part players are flying with one eye covered and the other eye partially obscured.

The player who won the previous round begins each subsequent round. After nine rounds, players tally the value of their cards, with victory going to the player with the greatest cumulative value.

The bidding isn’t actually that much different from those found in many other games, with the twist being that more money is earned the earlier one drops-out of the round. Unlike Amigo Games’ Geschenkt, there is no penalty for exiting the bidding process, save abandoning the possibility of acquiring cards. Often, that is a good thing, as the value of the set ultimately proves to be detrimental.

Assessing the potential value of a set is ultimately guesswork. Often, the ultimate value only becomes reasonably apparent when the penultimate card in the set is revealed. If it is negative, this causes the next player to quickly exit the bidding, sticking the final player with the set. So, it is often a gamble to remain in the bidding if the first few cards aren’t overwhelmingly positive. Unless, of course, you are the one who played that final card!

Felix: The Cat in the Sack plays quickly – 20 – 30 minutes – thereby making it a fine filler. The hidden information and repetitive auctions may be off-putting to some, but the pace of the game and its speedy conclusion should help allay those concerns. Even for a person like me who normally runs away screaming when the term “blind bidding” is uttered, I found letting these cats out of the bag to be somewhat amusing.

I actually avoided the first few sets, and grew impatient. I committed to taking the next set early, and it proved disastrous. Mark seemed to have a knack for securing valuable cats, and rode this ability to victory.

Finals: Mark 62, Bo 52, Alison 33, Sheila 24, Greg 21

Ratings: Mark 7.5, Alison 7.5, Bo 7, Sheila 6, Greg 5.5
 
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Henning Kröpke
Germany
Ascheberg
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The following line sounds like a small mistake in your game play:

Quote:
"The bidding isn’t actually that much different from those found in many other games, with the twist being that more money is earned the earlier one drops-out of the round."


The mice cards are placed in numerical order, starting with the Cat in the Sack, then the lowest number, etc.

So if the first player passes, he gets the lowest amount of money... the second to last player who passes gets the highest amount of cash, giving the last player all the cards.

Henning Kröpke
(for 2F-Spiele)
 
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Greg Schloesser
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Thanks for the correction, Henning. Fortunately, we played correctly, I just didn't type it properly. I have made the correction in the article.
 
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