Ok, so let’s be real here – Team Gameosity is pretty bonkers for kittens. We all have cats, we all love cats, and we all wish, on some level, that we could just gather a herd of the little fuzzballs to hang out with. And in Cat Lady from AEG, that’s precisely your goal!
Right up front, just know that Cat Lady is a simple, filler-level card game. The rules of play are super straightforward: In the middle of the table, you will set up a grid of 9 cards, and on your turn, you will take all 3 cards from either a single row or column, and these cards are immediately replaced by new ones.
Jess: Once you take from a row (or column), the cat token goes next to it. Players can’t take from the spot where the cat token sits, so they won’t be able to instantly snap up all the cards which just got dealt to the grid.
There are a bunch of different card types, and each one either scores you points at the end of the game somehow or lets you manipulate the rules slightly:
- Cat cards are what we’re all here for, and go face-up in front of you. Fed cats give points at the end of the game, while unfed cats cost you some, and also label you as a monster, you cat-starving jerk.
- Food cards get discarded when drawn, and add some food cubes to your supply. You’ll distribute these at the end of the game to your herd of kitties.
- Costumes award the player who collects the most of them VP at the end, while soulless people who don’t even have a single cat costume lose some points.
- Catnip goes into your hand. Only having one catnip costs you points (as kitties fight over it or something), but having more than that will get you bonus points per fed cat.
- Toys give you points for diversity, since cats get bored so easily.
- Lost Cat cards, aside from breaking our hearts, let you draw one of the Strays into your tableau. Each Stray has unique scoring rules.
- Spray Bottles let you move the cat marker before you pick your row or column.
Jess: It really is that simple, and that’s something I like about it. Each turn is just an assessment of which 3 of these 9 cards do I want, with the long-game strategies (and I use that phrase generously) being about making sure you get enough food and that you’re staying ahead of your opponents in the various set-collection scoring categories.
Andrew: I like the variety of scoring mechanisms – you’ve got unique sets, sets that depend on other sets, multipliers, races, and penalties. It’s not too much to keep track of, but its enough to keep me interested.
Andrew: Yeah – my one real complaint about Cat Lady is that this game is just begging for a score pad. It’s not that the math is complicated or anything, but there are between all the little scoring mechanics and the fact that there’s exactly nothing in the box to help you track scores (tokens, spinners, score pad, whatever), it just means needing to find a pen and paper every time the game ends.
That little quibble aside, Cat Lady is great for its weight class, which is (again) really light. This is a good family-level game, perfect for introducing younger or less experienced gamers to set collection, and its theme hits home with us quite nicely. It doesn’t have much depth, but come on – adopt the kittens, make sure everyone gets fed, give everyone toys, and keep a pocket full of catnip at all times. What more do you want?
(Gameosity received a review copy of this game. We were not otherwise compensated.)