Six Board Games You Can Play with Your Cat (Just Don’t Be Surprised When You Lose)Gustav Wilhelm
Does your cat like to play? Find yourself running out of new games to play with your enthusiastic feline friend? The Animal Rescue Site compiled a list of the all-time best games for playful cats. Join us as we count down:
The Top Six Games for Cats (of All Time!)
#6 – The Settlers of Cat-an
Initially published in 1995, the original Settlers of Catan quickly achieved popularity beyond its humble German origins. After achieving international repute, a group of feline fans tweaked the core rules to incorporate the only missing element that could possibly improve the already stellar gameplay: cats. What started as an informal addition to the game quickly caught on via board game subreddits and soon eclipsed the popularity of the original game.
In 2012 the documentary Going Cardboard chronicled the game’s impact on board game culture, though many cats criticized the film’s bias, noting the lack of authoritative feline representation. Despite the contentious and ongoing lack of an official edition, a devoted fan base has taken to reproducing versions of the unofficial fan — and feline — favorite. The spread of this bootlegged copy will surely be remembered as the most viral, guerrilla marketing campaign of the early 21st century.
#5 – Cat-tergories
In 1988 Parker Brothers released the lesser-known Scattergories with 12 categories to play from, but after a lukewarm reception, they reduced this overwhelming number to just one, choosing to focus entirely on cats instead. This change — not to mention the subsequent success — prompted the rebranding of the game to Cat-tergories the following year, and the title became one of the publisher’s top-grossing titles in record time. This “cat-egory”-based party game requires players to be as nimble with their thinking as they are on their feet, much like the target demographic: furry felines aged 1 and up.
At just a little over three minutes per round, this quick-paced match of wits leaves plenty of time for other pastimes and pursuits, such as naps and small rodents. One version of the rules even awards bonus points to any players who can fit meow into their responses. Meow that sounds like a good time.
#4 – Cat-cassonne
One of the newer entries to the list, Cat-cassonne was first published at the turn of the millennium but didn’t really gain popularity until the 2002 expansion, Inns and Cat-hedrals. With a new token and additional tiles, the expansion placed a heavier emphasis on feline features, including the addition of scratching posts — small outposts granting bonus points to adept players. Then, in 2008, publisher Hans im Glück (or “Lucky Hans”) released The Cat-apult, the game’s most popular expansion to date. Among other changes, the new pieces even included a physical cat-apult, adding a new strategic (and fun!) element to gameplay.
Given the numerous editions and expansions released over the past fifteen years, the publisher recently announced the release of Cat-cassonne: The Big Litter Box Edition. This new collector’s edition brings everything the game has to offer into one package, perfect for your cat’s game closet. Expect strong demand when this highly anticipated release hits shelves in early 2016, and pre-order yours today.
#3 – Risk
With forty-two territories spread across six continents, there’s much conquering to be done in this game of global domination. Perhaps that explains why cats find the game irresistible. The core experience of Risk, marking and defending territory, appeals to many cats, combining strategic gameplay with a bit of luck. The official rules extend this experience with several variations, including Capitol Risk, Secret Mission, and feline fan-favorite Swat the Dice.
While data science grad students naively labor over probabilistic outcomes and Markov chains in their dissertations, even the youngest of kittens have shown a natural affinity for Risk’s complex rules. Nearly six decades after the game’s initial inception, cats continue to reign as undisputed champions. In acknowledgment of kitty contributions to the long and storied history of Risk, Hasbro released a special edition box (pictured above) and even renamed the territory (and strategic chokepoint) of Kamchatka to Kam-cat-ka.
#2 – Cats Against Humanity
Cats Against Humanity landed with a splash in 2011, first as an overnight success on a KittyStarter and then with immediate critical and popular reception on launch. When attempting to fund the game, creators turned to KittyStarter, a related but vastly superior concept to crowd-funding wannabe KickStarter. Feline fans showed unprecedented financial support on the cat-sourcing platform, rocketing the game well past its initial, modest goal. Lauded for its simple and fast-paced gameplay, Cats Against Humanity is an instant draw in any group atmosphere.
The game has not been without controversy, however, with staunch criticism of the game’s perceived politically incorrect sentiment. Much of the subject matter makes light of serious themes, for example, global domination by cats and subjugation of all humanity by said cats. Cats, of course, tend to counter these critics by pointing out that they just need to learn to take a joke.
#1 – Tigers & Euphrates
Another German-style, strategy board game from publisher Hans im Glück, Tigers & Euphrates posits players as conquerors at the dawn of civilization. And every bloodthirsty conqueror worth her salt knows what gives you an advantage in good ol’ fashioned conquest: tigers. Players are again found taking turns to place tiles, expanding their kingdoms. Only this time, specially marked “tiger” tiles give players a decisive advantage when resolving revolts and winning wars.
With this ostentatious display of feline superiority, it’s no wonder Tigers & Euphrates quickly gained traction within the kitty community. Approaching the 20th anniversary of the game’s initial release, it remains one of the most popular titles each year. Even the proliferation of digital releases has been unable to stem sales of physical copies, as the game continues its ascent to one of the top-selling games of all time.
Considered one of the all-time classics of the genre, many aficionados also argue the game to be designer Reiner Katzia’s masterpiece. If your cat enjoys a good game, you’ll find Tigers & Euphrates is an essential addition to your kitty’s collection.
What games did we miss? Send in your photos and suggestions.