Having been in and out of lockdown all year in the UK thanks to the global coronavirus pandemic, families have been desperately seeking out entertainment to keep themselves occupied. There’s been a rise in board game sales and a renewed interest in what was considered a dying sector, and in the run-up to Christmas sales are expected to increase further as families hope to be able to spend time with their loved ones. One game that’s been released this year, that’s a little outside of the norm, is the adorably cute ‘Cat Rescue’ by Ta-Te Wu.
Housed in a small box, ‘Cat Rescue’ features a foldable cloth board and it actually serves as a great way to educate children about the importance of rescuing animals rather than buying them. The idea is simple, you must rehome as many cats as you can over the duration of the game and the more you rehome, the more points you get. Even better is that ‘Cat Rescue’ is a collaborative game so you work together with all of the players to rehome as many cats as you can.
While the idea is indeed simple, getting to grips with how to play is sadly not as easy. The rules are lengthy and it took a while to get my head around them. Essentially each player is a foster home and they can have no more than three cats in their home, otherwise the game comes to an end. A ‘Street’ pack features dozens of cats that need rehoming and you have to take cards from the ‘Street’ pack or your foster home and play them on the board.
As a new cat is placed on the board, all of the other cats adjacent to it must move and you have to try and connect rows of cats that have the same colour background in groups of three or more. Once you do that, you can flip the cat(s) in the middle, and then on successive turns try to move them off the board and into their forever home (which is made up of the box the game comes in). One complication to this is that with every turn you have to place a token on the new cat that stops you from moving in the same direction on the next turn.
If you move a cat off the board that hasn’t been flipped, and therefore isn’t ready to be rehomed, that cat moves into your foster home. There are also wild cats in the pack that can be used as any colour and these are really helpful when you’re trying to create a row of cats with the same colour. The games comes to an end when you’ve either used all the cards in the ‘Street’ pack or a player has too many cats in their foster home.
Once you get to grips with the basic game, you can choose to play the advanced version which includes marker tokens. These allow you to reverse various elements of the game, override rules and generally have a bit more flexibility in the game. It’ll take a few times of going through the basic game before you’ll be ready to progress to the advanced level.
‘Cat Rescue’ looks fantastic and it’s a cute game with an important message. The gameplay could be simpler and some players may decide to give up before they get the hang of it. If you persevere, it’s actually a fun game that’s suitable for families with children aged 8 and upwards. Stick with it, and you’ll find that you can while away the hours playing ‘Cat Rescue’.
Published by: Chronicle Books Release date: 28th March 2020 Buy ‘Cat Rescue’ now