How to Play Kooky Cats
Kooky Cats is a tabletop game about quirky and close-knit cats. The game features twelve groups, or Cat-egories as we like to call them, each consisting of four cats with the same distinguishing features. To win, you need to collect the most Cat-egories and points before the game ends.
Setting up the game
Each player is dealt five cards (or seven if there are 2 or 3 players), with the remainder of the cards placed face down in the middle of the playing area to form the stockpile. As well as this, each player must be dealt a set of Kooky Tokens faced down. Give three tokens each if you are 2-4 players, and two each if you are 5 or 6 players. You can look at your cards and tokens but make sure other players do not.
The player to the left of the dealer begins, asking any opponent for a specific Cat-egory. For example ‘Jean, do you have any Cool Cats?’ The asking player must have at least one card of the Cat-egory they are asking for. If the addressed player does have cards of this Cat-egory, they must hand all of them over. The asking player then takes another turn.
However, if they do not, they reply ‘Get Scratched!’, where the asking player must draw the top card from the stockpile, with their turn now over.
A player can also decide not to ask anyone for a Cat-egory and instead pick up a card from the stockpile and end their turn. They must also do this if they only have special cards left in their hand and thus can’t ask for a Cat-egory.
Winning the game
Once a player collects a complete Cat-egory, they can lay down all four of the cards face up on the playing area – this counts as one point. The first person to lay down a Cat-egory becomes The Cat That Got The Cream (see adjacent). The game ends when a player runs out of cards, with the winner having collected the most points. However, with special cards and Kooky Tokens thrown into the mix, winning may not always be so easy…
For added drama, the game features twelve Kooky Tokens; one for each of the Cat-egories. Each player is dealt tokens (see SETTING UP THE GAME), and if a player collects a Cat-egory that matches one of their tokens, they lay it down on top of the Cat-egory, resulting in an extra two points. These tokens could be the difference between winning and losing, and will mean players are trying to collect certain Cat-egories, so be aware!
The game features five different types of special card each detailed below. A player can only play one special card per turn at the beginning of their turn, aside from special cards that are played out of turn. Players cannot play a special card in response to a special card, and cannot ask for a special card.
Force an opponent into a doze. At the beginning of your turn you can give the Catnap card to any player, forcing them to skip their next turn and slumber. The player missing their turn must still answer requests as usual. Once the player has awoken after a round, place the card into the discard pile.
This whiskered deceiver can sneak in and pass for any cat. Use it to complete and lay down a Cat-egory when you are missing the fourth and final cat. Once laid, any player can free it by swapping in the fourth cat and immediately re-using the Catfish to complete and lay down another Cat-egory.
The Kooky Cats’ arch-enemy. The Dodgy Dog allows you to eliminate a collected Cat-egory of another player. Once used, it must be placed into the discard pile along with the player’s Cat-egory. If the Cat-egory had a token on top of it, this is also eliminated.
Cat’s got my tongue (x2)
The choice to not answer! This card allows you to avoid the request of another player whether you have what they are asking for or not. Instead of answering, place the card into the discard pile and say ‘Cat’s got my tongue’. The asking player then picks up a card from the stockpile, ending their turn.
Turn the tables. When asked for a Cat-egory that you hold, this card lets you flip the request of the asking player back onto them. Instead of giving up your cats, place this card into the discard pile and say ‘Back’cat you!’. The asking player must then hand you their cats of that Cat-egory and pick up a card from the stockpile, ending their turn.
The Cat That Got The Cream Card
The first person to lay down a Cat-egory becomes the The Cat That Got The Cream, and must put on the wearable face card to transform themselves accordingly. For as long as they wear the card, they will be protected from other players’ special cards.