Cat Lady the game, a review
Release your inner cat lady!
What do we have here?
This is our short review of Cat Lady, a game by Josh Wood and published by AEG. It is an adorably cute game of collecting cats and keeping them happy. You are adopting cats, gathering food and collecting toys and costumes to keep your cats happy. Make sure you feed your cats and make sure you have at least one costume.
This a small box of lighthearted gaming for 2-4 players. It plays quickly and is bursting with charm. If you are a Cat Lady. Don’t like cats, well there might not be enough for you here.
Looking for a family game that will work with everybody and introduce some more complex mechanics this is a great stepping stone for drafting, set collection and resource management.
From the Box
- Game Design: Josh Wood
- Artist: Josh Wood
- Publisher: AEG
- Player Count: 2- 4
- Time: 30 minutes
- Age Range: 14+ *We play with our 6-year-old. If you have a little gamer in the family this is a great choice. There is some card text and you may need to coach a bit until they get some of the scoring concepts.
Our 6-year-old’s talks Cat Lady here:
The Cat Lady Basics
The setup is simple. Set the deck for the number of players (removing cards if playing with less than 4). Next, you shuffle the deck and remove a couple more cards randomly depending on player count. Layout 9 cards in a 3x3 grid. Randomly select 3 bonus “stray cats” for the game. Set the resources and VP tokens to the side within reach and you are pretty much ready to go. The last bit is to select a first player and place the over-sized cat meeple. The player to the right of the first player will pick a row or column to place the grey kitty in front of. This row or column will not be selectable.
After each turn, the grey cat will move to the last selected row/column. This row/column will now be off limits for the next player ( a spray bottle card can be played to scoot the cat meeple away though).
That’s it. You’re ready to go.
DRAFT YOUR CATS
The main mechanic in Cat Lady is card drafting. On their turn, each player will select a 3 card row or column. If that row contains cat cards they will be placed in a tableau in front of the player. If they contain food cards, those cards will be immediately discarded for the matching resource. Those resources will be collected in front of the player until they feed their cats at the end of the game. (For younger players it helps to let them feed their cats as they go along.)
If you have collected toys, costumes, catnip, “lost cat” posters or spray bottles they will go into your hand for use later or end game scoring.
FEED YOUR CATS
There is a nice introduction to resource management in Cat Lady. There are 3 different food resources. Tuna, chicken, and milk. There is also a wild resource that will work as any of the 3. As you gather cats into your collection, each cat will require you to feed them a number of these resources at the end of the game. You will score points for every fed cat. With some cats offering bonuses as well if they are fed. If you can not feed a cat it will score negative points.
To stop players from hoarding resources there is a small catch. Whoever has the most leftover food at the end will also get negative points.
Cat Lady also offers a great introduction to set collection. In the game, there are sets of cards that all score in different ways when collected. Every Cat Lady needs at least one costume or they will score -2 points. The player with the most costumes will score 6VP. Collecting toys for your cats score for variety. So having different toys will mean more and more points. There is also catnip sprinkled through the deck. Avoiding catnip is fine. Having just 1 will give you negative points though. If you get 2 or more catnip bags then you start to see some big VP returns for making your cats happy.
If you collect 2 “lost cat” posters you can trade them in to adopt one of the 3 stray cats. The stray cats each give an end game scoring bonus. If there are no strays left or you don’t want the added responsibility that comes along with a stray (one more mouth to feed), you can trade 2 posters in for a 2VP token instead.
The Art of Cat Lady
The game’s designer, Josh Wood, is also the artist and has done a fantastic job capturing the theme in a fun and whimsical way. The cats are all the same but with different colors and names like Waffles, Moonbeam, and Lavar Purrton they each have something to offer.
The card design is clean and info easy to follow. There is some text on the cards so the very young will still need some help if they aren’t quite reading yet. The rules are short and clear and friendly adding to the warm feeling the game offers.
Overall the game is an adorable box of warm fuzzy feelings.
All right, wrap it up
Cat Lady is a great little game. A wonderful filler to buzz through with your friends when you don’t have a lot of time. It’s also a great family game or gateway. A great stepping stone towards bigger drafting/set collection games like Sushi Go, and a great introduction to resource management for the very young.
We picked it up for the whimsical cat theme and it quickly became a family favorite.
Summary Cat Lady is an adorable card drafting set collection game where you are adopting cats and taking care of them. Lavishing them with toys and costumes while feeding them their favorite foods. A great intro for young gamers and a fun filler for the more experienced. Must love cats.