15 Responses

  1. bateleur
    bateleur November 19, 2012 at 5:14 pm |

    I’m not sure why you think there’s no early game. The steady war to ascend to higher gardens seems like it’s a natural early game, then once the first cat reaches garden 7 that’s the midgame.

    End conditions should probably depend on how the game plays in practice. In particular, if one player is clearly going to win at some point that should ideally correspond to the actual end condition being at least close. On the other hand if the game is inevitably a constant back and forth then the end condition will need to be quite controllable so that the winner doesn’t feel arbitrary.

    I like the theme of this a lot. I once bought game called Cat Attack, which I was hoping would be something like this. If you ever get a chance to play it, don’t. It’s terrible. 🙁

    1. undying-admin
      undying-admin November 19, 2012 at 5:45 pm |

      This one http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/3273/cat-attack ? Mm. The cat pieces look quite cute though.

      (And I’ve just remembered there was an idea to make combat less remorseless. Each side adds a d6 to their total cat strength. Possibly with a ‘special outcome’ on a 6.)

      You’re right of course that the early game is fairly well defined, but it doesn’t feel ‘beginningy’ to me. Esepcially in a family game, I prefer the beginning phase to not have much conflict – ie. players can safely use it to feel out the board and how the rules work, and set up their positions, without too much threat. And the mid-game’s appearance is marked by a feeling of “right, I’ve got things sorted out now to some extent, I’d better start thinking about [x further bunch of aspects to cosnider]”. If (as at present) you’re potentially fighting over garden ownership from turn 1 onwards, it’s not ideal I think.

      1. bateleur
        bateleur November 19, 2012 at 6:04 pm |

        Maybe have a “time of day” track along the edge of the board and you can’t start catfights until nightfall? Time could be advanced by playing some kind of time passes card. Or possibly it could be a side effect of some other card types… not sure which would work better. That could also provide an end condition.

        1. undying-admin
          undying-admin November 19, 2012 at 6:13 pm |

          Great idea, I like that a lot! The idea of the cat armies silently massing during the afternoon, eyeing each other nervously, waiting for nightfall to bring on the savage clawing, is very appealing. And then the King of the Cats being crowned at dawn as the game ends.

          1. bateleur
            bateleur November 19, 2012 at 6:29 pm |

            Hurrah! 🙂

            (We used to have a theory that Emily was a gangland boss, because every time we heard sounds of a catfight in the evening and rushed outside we would find her sitting calmly watching two other cats fighting each other!)

          2. mr_malk
            mr_malk November 20, 2012 at 10:03 am |

            Time of day (or night) occurred to me too.
            Another thought occurred for the early stages of the game, which was for cats to establish and mark territories if they can. Possibly gangs start with home territories, and if they are ably to occupy a location for X turns, they can mark it as their own, and would get bonuses for fighting there unless it is taken over and their “markings” are cancelled out.
            Not sure how many sub-divisions you expect gardens to have, or whether the board is just seven spaces.

            I had an idea for action cards too – if a fight is in progress, a human could open a window and throw something (old footwear, bucket of water) at one or all of the combatants.

          3. undying-admin
            undying-admin November 20, 2012 at 10:12 am |

            I was planning on just seven spaces, keep it simple. But that’s something that can easily be adjusted if it doesn’t work out well.

            I like the idea of your territory-marking thoughts, although requiring people to keep track of how many turns they’ve been in each territory might be abit fiddly. Perhaps marking a territory should be an action that they can do each turn (instead of fighting perhaps) in any one territory that they occupy. (With multiple markings per territory being more effective.)

            Nice ideas for action cards, thanks!

          4. mr_malk
            mr_malk November 20, 2012 at 11:26 am |

            The idea I had in mind for territory was that if there are no enemy cats in a particular territory, you could spend a turn marking it, represented by putting a coloured counter there, possibly adding more counters on subsequent turns if you are able to do so, bonuses might be, would not necessarily need to be cumulative.

            Once an opponent takes possession of a territory, they can spend actions on removing the counters (again, 1 per turn), and once they are gone, add their own.

            It occurs to me that gangs should have their own starting locations, which should be separate, if the game is to work in that way, rather than both gangs starting in Garden 1 and working up towards Garden 7, as someone else suggested. I don’t see the best way for that with the board as you described it though. If they start at each end, with the “palace” in the middle, conflict will tend to focus around the palace. What if the properties were not inherently more valuable to the cats, but could have attributes which make them valuable or useful, perhaps allocated randomly? You mentioned a garden pond, there might also be a bird bath, a sun lounger, a cat-nip bush, and (if my own cats’ preferences are anything to go by) a convenient patch of gravel, or freshly dug flower-bed!

          5. undying-admin
            undying-admin November 20, 2012 at 12:20 pm |

            Mm, I see what you mean re markers, that sounds elegant and clear.

            I think I need to do a mockup of the board and try it out — you may well be right about the location values. After Consequences! I’m too easily distracted by interesting new ideas when I haven’t finished off the old ones yet…

        2. undying-admin
          undying-admin November 20, 2012 at 10:18 am |

          Thinking further about this, I wonder if the time passing should just be a strict turn count. It feels a bit odd if the players could effectively delay nightfall by playing in a particular way. And having a visible and inexorable marker of the shrinking temporal distance to the next phase of the game could be useful in helping people plan.

          1. bateleur
            bateleur November 20, 2012 at 10:20 am |

            Yup, I expect that would also work.

            I have a fairly strong bias in terms of approach to game design that if something adds more strategic options I basically always prefer it, but that often comes at the expense of flavour and accessibility!

          2. undying-admin
            undying-admin November 20, 2012 at 10:25 am |

            Mm, I have to keep reminding myself that this is supposed to be a family game, ideally for kids down to 8 or so. I’m sure there’s a fantastic more-strategic cat territorial warfare game for connoisseurs in here too, but not so sure about the market…

  2. al_fruitbat
    al_fruitbat November 19, 2012 at 6:27 pm |

    I think you might want to add more ‘structure’ inside the gardens, so that combat is resolved in a more elegant way.
    This is for two reasons. Firstly there’s Terry Pratchett’s vision of ‘Cat Chess’ http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/terry-pratchett?before=1349667097.

    Secondly, I watched for many hours at home as our family’s two small black-n-white cats carved out a territory for themselves in our narrow london garden(s). They did this by appearing to be one small black and white cat that seemed to be able to teleport. The enemy cat usually got flustered and bottled out.

    I dunno, maybe some kind of ‘scissors-paper-stone’ mechanic in each garden, where the piece entering it bumps all the existing pieces around a circular track, thereby changing their relative powers? (oh, and this might solve the first-mover problem if the advantage was actually to be the second cat in a particular garden).

    1. undying-admin
      undying-admin November 20, 2012 at 10:15 am |

      That sounds really interesting! Good way of adding a bit more tactical depth. I’ll have a think about that.

  3. Busy!
    Busy! December 8, 2013 at 10:28 am |

    […] was great as always. I took along a new 2-player game Caterwaul, about gangs of rival cats, which I wrote about the idea here ages ago but only recently got around to making. It went over pretty well, although there were lots of good […]

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