TableTopTakes – Cat Cafe
Another GenCon game, this time a little roll and write about cats. And when you think about it, with how popular roll and write games are are right now with the likes of Welcome To…, That’s So Clever, Dino World, etc., and etc., and etc., it was only a matter of time before someone did one about cats and hit another area that is really popular in our culture.
Cat Cafe, as I said, is a roll and write game where you are trying to build up your best cat tree(s) so that you can attract the most cats possible. On every turn you roll a die for each player, plus one. Going in a circle, you draft dice until there is only one left. Then, you pick which die you want to use for drawing a symbol and which die you want to use to determining the placement on a cat free for that symbol. These symbols are things like food dishes, cat beds, toy mice, etc. You get points in the game for complete cat trees, but also for placing the certain cat items in a particular pattern, depending on what you’re drawing, on the cat trees.
I haven’t played this game a ton yet, but when I have, I’ve gone for a different strategy than the other person (oh, I should say this game plays up to four people). They went for the strategy of building up their cat trees as fast as possible, because once one person completes three cat trees that ends the game. I, on the other hand, went for building combos. The food dish wants to be surrounded by different items, so the more unique items, the more points you get, the mouse toys want to be a in connected path, so the more of those, the more points you get. I think that I messed up the strategy and wasn’t as efficient as I could have been for scoring points, but in the end, I lost a close game. I was kind of doing this intentionally because I wanted to see how balanced the game seemed. And while I do think you need to complete some cat towers to really have a chance, I don’t think it’s a race to completing the towers.
Aesthetically, I think that this is a pretty good looking game. The sheets are actually very nicely laid out to add to the puzzle aspect. But the dice in the game are bad. I have a picture on this page from Board Game Geek, those are not the dice you get with the game. The dice you get with the game look like someone took some old six sided dice (D6) and painted them again to be D6. So you can see the old pips underneath them and it makes no sense. I also wish that the score tallying area was a little bit larger. I do want to point out, though, that their pencils come with erasers, which is amazing. I really wish that more roll and write games did that.
Overall, Cat Cafe is a fun roll and write game. I wasn’t expecting anything too thinky, but Cat Cafe gives you some interesting choices to make. And with the drafting of the dice, I can see a lot of interesting choices coming up in the game. It’s definitely a roll and write that is a bit more than something like Second Chance, but probably around the same weight as Welcome To… in terms of the decision making, however, Cat Cafe is a smaller package. If you like roll and write games and are looking for another to try, I think that Cat Cafe could scratch that itch.
Overall Grade: B+
Gamer Grade: B
Casual Grade: A-
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