One of the coolest things to happen while working in this business is a rare opportunity to be able to be involved with a game very early on. To be in the vanguard of those that experience it and give feedback that may influence the game’s rules or game play.
Our close friends over at Steve Jackson Games just gave us one of those rare opportunities with Simon’s Cat card game. This is a fun, fast paced card game, depicting the very cool art of award winning British animator Simon Tofield. The satire of this YouTube sensation comes to life in the game as you all battle to not be blamed for causing all the mess in the house. Something that Simon’s Cat continually makes a lot of in the animated series.
For those that love the animated YouTube series, Simon’s Cat card game is a must have. I was so excited as I’d watched just about every episode and have cats of my own, therefore I couldn’t wait to play the game with colleagues and family. I wasn’t to be disappointed.
The game plays, to me, like a crossover between several popular card card games and Uno. That made learning to play super fast but mastering it would take longer.
All cards are dealt out equally between all the players. Any left over are put to one side. Cards have both a color and number on it along with a theme image from the animated series. You could also treat the colors as suits. Example: Green are Gnomes while Magenta are all Simon’s Cat images. The numbers on the cards range from 1 through 12 though some colors only have a few cards and a small range. Understanding what’s been played and what’s to come is the secret to winning the game. Predicting who has those cards takes some deducing.
Playing first and creating a mess
The player with the Simon’s Cat 3 card plays first and the play moves to the person on the left. They must either play a card of the same theme/color (magenta) or any other card with the same number. Play continues until a player can not play. They then pick up all the cards (called a Mess), place them as a messy pile in front of them and collect a Simon card. This a Red card with an image of Simon on it. As you can imagine Red is bad. You really don’t want to attract too much attention from Simon or you’ll be blamed for the mess in the house and be fed last. No animal wants to be fed last.
That player now plays a card from their hand to start a new Mess and play continues. Messes are created. A player takes the blame and collects a Simon card. Play continues until all cards are played onto the final Mess and the game ends. nobody gets blamed for this mess. PHEW!
Who gets blamed
Once the last card is played, players then declare how many Simon cards they have and the person with the fewest is the winner and gets fed first while all the others watch in envy! Simple right?
The Family Fun Test
To test how easy the game would be to understand, outside of all us gamer nerds at the office, I took the game home and played with my family. Two daughters, 18 and 7, my wife (age undisclosed as I like being married) and myself (teaching). Though my 7-year old didn’t grasp the card counting strategy she was perfectly able to grasp how to play and we ran through multiple games with everyone really enjoying it.
Each game took approximately 15 to 20 minutes and even today, a week after their first game, my family still asks to play Simon’s Cat. Therefore I can report with confidence, the game passed my family fun test with flying colors!
I really want to emphasize that this game is a prototype. Nothing is final from colors to art choices, range of numbers to game rules. This is what is very cool though. We got to play and give feedback on a new game that is already fun, quick to learn and has a strong IP behind it. Obviously we have no exact release date, nor do we have a final MSRP, but stay tuned. Check back for more information about Simon’s Cat coming from Steve Jackson Games in 2016. It’s a game everyone should have.
Players: 3 – 6
Ages: 7+ (currently no age is advertised but my 7-year old was able to play)
Time to play: 15 minutes
Complexity to learn: Easy