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Here, Kitty, Kitty! - Board Game Box Shot

Here, Kitty, Kitty!

| Published: 2016
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Your neighborhood has a cat problem! The problem is that all those cats don’t belong to YOU! Everyone in the neighborhood wants to claim those adorable kitties for themselves.

Outwit your fellow feline aficionados as you lure cats onto your property, move cats into your house, and steal cats from your neighbors. All’s fair in love and cat collecting!

There are no blenders or explosions in this game, but if you use your “Catlike Reflexes” and avoid “Stray Dogs” and “Hairballs,” you might just “Land on Your Feet!”

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“Look What the Cat Dragged In...”

When I first heard about Here Kitty, Kitty!, I thought it would be kind of a cute, thematic game without a lot of meat to it. Good for cat lovers and not much more.

I was wrong.


HKK is for 2-6 players (optimal play is with 4-5) and takes about 30 minutes to play.

The game consists of the rules, six illustrated property cards (6” x 6” squares), a deck of 51 cards, six player aid cards, and 40 small plastic cats (10 each in four different colors, and 3 different sculpts).

Each player selects a property card which represents their home. Each tile has three areas on it – the Yard, the Porch, and the House – which (at the end of the game) score differing amounts of points for any cats in that area (see below). These tiles are placed in front of each player and the area in between them all is called the Neighborhood. There are 40 small plastic cats (10 each in four different colors in three different sculpts). At the start of the game all 40 cats are placed in the Neighborhood.

Each player is then dealt a hand of three cards from the deck. Once you determine who the first player is (based on who has the most number of cats in real life), play proceeds clockwise around the table.
There are two phases to each player’s turn; the Action Phase and the Draw Cards Phase. These two phases are always played in this order and occur for each player.

The Action Phase:

On his turn, each player may perform two of the following three actions:

Move One Cat. Cats can be moved one ‘space’ in this fashion (i.e. – from the Neighborhood into your Yard, or from your Yard to your Porch, etc…). They may be moved in either direction (so you could move a cat from your Porch to your Yard if you wanted to). BUT, once a cat is on your property you are the only player which can move it via the “Move One Cat” action.

Play One Card from Your Hand. Pretty obvious, and, like most games, text on the cards will supersede the main rules. This is how another player may be able to move a cat which is already on YOUR property, so watch out.

I’ll take a moment here to talk about the cards; there are three types of cards:
Standard – those with a Purple border – which are held in your hand and played as part of the “Play One Card” action.

Defensive – those with a Blue border – which are held in your hand, but played in response to cards played by other players. The designation Defensive implies that they may only be played when someone plays a card against you, but this is NOT the case. You can play a Defensive card from your hand to interfere with a card being played against another player (and there may be perfectly good strategic reasons to do this, so you’re not just being ‘nice’ to another player by helping him out).

Instant – those with a Red border. These cards are NOT held in your hand, but take effect the moment they are drawn (during the Draw Up to a Full Hand portion of the turn, see below). These cards generally affect more than just you, but may not affect everyone (depending on the current situation on the table).
Most cards are placed into a discard pile once they are played, but there are a few which confer lasting effects onto your property. Such cards are placed slightly under the House portion of your property so all players can see what you have going on.

Discard 1-3 of the cards in your hand. This is the third type of action you can take on your turn. NOTE: This action is to discard cards only; NOT to discard and draw replacement cards. Drawing cards to refill your hand comes in phase two of the turn (see below).

You can take any combination of these actions (yes, you can take the same action twice) in any order (although I recommend NOT discarding before you play, as you don’t get to replace cards until the action phase of the turn is over).

Once you are done with both your actions, you move onto phase two…
Drawing Cards:

If you have less than three cards in your hand – the normal hand size (yes, it is possible to hold more than three cards in your hand) – you draw up to a full hand of three from the deck. Cards are drawn one at a time – this is important – as any Instant cards drawn take effect immediately, and are then placed into the discard pile. Since Instant cards aren’t held in your hand, you keep drawing cards until your hand is full. If you already have three (or more) cards in your hand when you get to this phase, you draw no cards and play proceeds to the next player. If you draw the last card from the deck the game enters its final round of play after which a winner is determined.

In a nutshell, that’s how it plays. The game continues until the deck runs out – it is NOT reshuffled – at which point each player gets one final turn of two actions each (including the player who drew the last card – so he gets to be the last player). Once that has happened, each player tallies up their score based on two things:

Where the cats on their property are: 0 for the Yard, 3 for the Porch, and 5 for the House.

And various sets of cats on your property (e.g. – 5+ cats of the same color on your property gets you an additional 5 points). That’s where the color(s) of the cats comes into play. The player aid cards are double-sided with a sequence of play on one side, and the scoring rules on the other.

Thoughts on Strategy

It’s a simple game to learn, simple to play, and it plays in around 30 minutes. So, how much substance can there be to it? The answer is rather a lot. The way scoring runs at the end of the game – not just based on where cats are on players’ properties, but also on sets of cats – you need to keep an eye on what your neighbors are doing. It may be to your benefit to help another player by playing a Defensive card on their behalf IF it prevents another player from outscoring you. Also, the game has a fair amount of ‘screw your neighbor’ going on, but it’s done in a lighthearted way which makes it less nasty and vindictive than many games of this type are.

Like many of Fireside’s titles, I think HKK serves as a good gateway game to players who are not very familiar with this style of play. It’s fun, and even when you are on the receiving end of ‘screwage’ it’s still fun – thanks to the art and descriptive text on the cards. You’ll always get a big “Awww…” from around the table for playing the Foster Kittens card on your house. And even if another player swipes those fosters from your house by playing the Adoption card, you don’t seem to mind so much as you know they’re getting a good home (insert sad Sarah McLachlan song here). Besides, you’ll just swipe one (or more) of them back with your Cat Burglar card, or move one back into their yard by playing the Open Window card. What goes around comes around…

The game can accommodate either 2 or 6 players as well, and the rule book makes some suggestions on what cards to remove from the deck if playing with those size groups. The times I’ve played were with three to five players and it played very well.

In conclusion, I’ll say this; I ran some demo games of this at my local game store and had some of the regulars sit down and give it a try. After playing they all told me the same thing: based solely on the box and what they perceived the game to be about they might not have looked at it on the shelf. BUT, having played it and experienced how much fun it was, and how much meat there was to it, they’d be sure to look for it to hit the shelves and get one when it did.

For myself, I’m happy to have this game in my collection and will be more than happy to play it both with new and experienced gamers alike.


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