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Subject: Okay for ages 3-4, not much for older kids or adults rss

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Mark Hamburg
United States
Tacoma
Washington
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I’m not a big fan of Bingo- it’s one of those things that I barely consider to even be a game. Sitting around a table waiting for numbers to be called in the hopes of winning some cash, or a lousy prize is not my idea of a fun activity. But, I remember enjoying Bingo when I was a kid. We didn’t play for money, to be sure, but sometimes we got to play it at school for prizes like candy or special pencils. I doubt that this would be condoned in today’s world- school today has less room for fun and games, and any activity that leads little ones down the path toward a gambling addiction would certainly be frowned upon.

Kitty Corners will sound very familiar to anyone who has played Bingo, but it’s not quite the same game. In Kitty Corners, each player gets a card that features a four by four grid. Instead of numbers on the grid, there are pictures; in this case of cats performing various activities. Dice are rolled, and depending on the result of the roll, players place counters (shaped like mice) on top of the pictures.

The game features two special six-sided dice. One die has pictures of cats- there are four in all (two are pictured twice) the other has pictures of activities on four sides, the word Trouble on one side, and Scat Cat on the other side. On a player’s turn, she rolls the dice, which will result in one cat being selected and one situation. All players then look for squares on their boards featuring the cat and the situation rolled, for example the gray cat eating or the brown cat in trouble. If their card has the picture that matches the dice, they put a mouse on it. If Scat Cat is rolled, the player who rolled it has to remove one mouse from their board. Play continues in this way until someone gets four mice in a row (horizontally, vertically, or diagonally), or a mouse in each corner.

Kitty Corners is a pleasant enough game that was a favorite of my daughter’s for a month or so. I can’t say that I love it, but I’d much rather play this with my child than play Bingo in a smoke-filled room somewhere. Though I enjoy playing it with my daughter, one flaw prevents me from giving it a strong recommendation. Bingo is a totally random game, but it does have a mechanism that pretty much ensures that it will be of a limited duration- there is a finite set of numbers to be pulled and each can only be pulled once, so the game can last no longer than the time it takes to pull all of them (and it will likely end much sooner than that).

In Kitty Corners, on the other hand, there is nothing to prevent the same die roll from occurring over and over, there is no benefit for rolling the same set more than once (unless a player was forced to remove a mouse due to a Scat Cat). As players get closer to winning, it is likely that the majority of the rolls will not advance the game- they’ll just be duplicates of sets already rolled. This can lead to the game really bogging down at the end. Fortunately, games are still usually pretty short, but we’ve played a few where everyone, including my daughter, just wanted it to finally end.

We’ve had Kitty Corners for about a year now. When it was new, my daughter wanted to play it quite a bit. Lately it hasn’t been out much, and I would expect to see even less of it as she grows in her ability to understand and play more complicated games. Still, when her little sister hits age three and a half or so, I’m sure we’ll bring it out again for her.

All in all, I’d say that Kitty Corners is a tolerable game for the littlest gamers, but doesn’t offer much to older kids or adults. I’d recommend it for ages 3.5 to 4.5, but wouldn’t recommend it for kids older than that.
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