Affectionate: Cats & Cuddles – with all the new stuff!

Affectionate: Cats & Cuddles
Advanced Rules & Treat Time Expansion
Published by Blue Heron Entertainment
Designed by Trevor Heron
Artwork by Nayaki Anadin

NOTE: Cat Pawns and Cat Mats are prototypes and may differ from the quality of the finished components.

Affectionate: Cats & Cuddles, is a game for 2-5 players, where you roll the dice to try to get as many Cuddle Tokens (hearts) as you can. You can also use Silly Tokens (mice) to re-roll, or make someone else re-roll their Cat Dice and change their Cat Action. When the Cuddle Tokens run out, only Cat Tokens (cats) remain, and one is given to the person with the most Cuddle Tokens. The person(s) with the most Cat Tokens after the amount of rounds that you decide, is declared the Sweetest Cat(s) in the house.

The base game alone is not only absolutely adorable (especially if you’re a cat person, which I am), but it’s actually a bit more challenging than it looks on the surface. It’s very easy to set up, and one of the great things about it, is you can determine how many rounds you’re going to play. The rounds don’t have much lag to them, so there’s very little downtime between turns. It can get a little tough when the Silly Tokens come into play. Someone can throw three Silly Tokens out and make you re-roll your Cat Dice, sometimes completely messing up the awesome Cat Action that you managed to roll, but you can also spend two Silly Tokens to re-roll your own dice if you don’t get a desired Cat Action. The entire round is giving and taking Cuddle and Silly Tokens.

Treat Time Expansion
NOTE: This expansion only accommodates 3-5 players.

The Treat Time Expansion brings in the use of Cat Mats and Cat Pawns (these are prototypes as mentioned). I chose to be Moku, and by the end of this, you will  see why. This expansion brings in worker placement (one of my favorite mechanics ever!) and dice drafting mechanics.

One player starts with a Cat Token. Everyone rolls their Cat Dice and immediately places one on their Cat Mat. The player with the Cat Token then takes a second die for their mat, and it doesn’t have to be their die, it can be anyone’s! BUT, if someone uses your Cat Die, you get to take a Silly Token, up to three. You can spend your Silly Tokens to re-roll if necessary, then, counter-clockwise, starting left of the person with the Cat Token, players place their Cat Pawns on an unoccupied mat. You then resolve the Cat Action next to your Cat Pawn, and once everyone completes that, the Cat Token gets passed to the player on your left.

The worker placement of this is easy to grasp, it really would be a great game to use to introduce someone to the mechanic, especially the younger ones. My Padawan is 10 and is familiar with worker placement from some slightly heavier games, but really enjoyed the ease of this one. Mr. Token isn’t a board gamer but easily grasped the mechanic from this game, and this is his first worker placement experience. Dice drafting, who doesn’t love dice drafting?! It’s another of my favorites so it was great to have a combination of the two, in what was a pretty seamless game!

Advanced Rules for Affectionate: Cats & Cuddles Base Game.

With the Advanced Rules, you’re using the dice drafting mechanic, so your setup is a bit different. You’ll be bringing in the Cat Mats, one player will start with a Cat Token that gets passed after each round, and for games with just two players, you’ll need one extra Cat Die (for a total of five). Any dice can go with any mat, so you’re free to choose what color and cat you want to be.

Everyone rolls at the same time, and places one of their Cat Dice on their mat. After that, starting with the player with the Cat Token and moving clockwise, players choose a die to place on their mat. If someone takes yours, you get a Silly Token.  Players then resolve their Cat Actions, and the round continues.

This is such a fun, easy example of the dice drafting mechanic! The Cat Mats are not only adorable, they also make it easy, but you can play this set of rules without them. This is something that’s fairly portable, and could easy be taught to anyone that’s played using the basic rules.

The General Consensus

When I received this game, I was immediately in love with the packaging! I love that it comes in a nice, soft bag, that feels like it will hold up well. All of the tokens are very well made, adorable, and you can’t help but want to play with them! The dice are easy to read, and with the Cat Action cards, there’s no confusion on what you’re supposed to do once you roll or draft.

This is a very well put together game. The rules and mechanics are solid, and I just can’t help but adore the theme. Any cat human would easily relate. You can definitely tell that the creator is a cat human! I loved it, Mr. Token loved it, The Padawan loved it, and I think just about anyone I introduce it to will also. I highly recommend anyone giving this one a shot, especially as a nice filler game, or one you can easily play with non-gamer family and friends.

This is coming to Kickstarter on October 28th, 2018, so keep your eyes peeled! You can also find out more about Blue Heron Entertainment here, or visit Affectionate: Cats & Cuddles on Facebook.

One Last Note

When I got to the end of the rulebook, I found the sweetest thing I think I will ever see in this industry. I just want to give the creator, Trevor Harron, a little extra love for this. This was amazing, loving, completely heartfelt, and I think it’s wonderful that you added this! I would be lying if I said I didn’t get teary-eyed when I read it. It definitely added to my love for this game, because I got to see your inspiration, and a little piece of the heart you put into it!

 

Filibuster

Filibuster
Published by Biplane Games
Designed by Dan Kramer
Illustrated by Juliana Ouyang & Fernando Olmedo


NOTE: The photos in this review are of a prototype, so actual components may vary from the production copy.

Filibuster is a semi-cooperative party game for 3-5 players, where you have to use the tried and true tactic of the Filibuster to block upcoming policy votes.

We played this with four players, my usual suspects for larger player counts, so there was a wide variety of types playing, from my 10 year old Padawan (my son), to the Queen Token (my mother), and my non-boardgamer Mr. Token.

A few of my favorites from the Time Deck.

The game was very easy to set up, with the different card types being very easy to tell apart. Your Policy Deck is made up of larger cards, 7 of which get laid out, face down, in the middle of the table, just below the game board, which tracks your time and difficulty level. The Time Deck sits just next to the board and determines the round length. It also contains cards that can reduce your Influence, halt the Filibuster, allow the play to continue, and sometimes help you out. But only the Senate Minority Leader (SML) interacts with this deck.

Just a few of the policies you’ll be voting on.

The game starts by choosing a player to be the SML – I chose Mr. Token because, well, it just seemed right. You deal each player four cards from the Action Deck, pass out some Influence tokens, a Voting token, an Aye/Nay token, a Reference card, and get moving.

The Senate Minority Leader (SML) starts off first, turning over a card from the Time Deck, and taking their turn…and turn order is where this game can get a little tricky. As board gamers, we’re pretty used to going around the table, but with this game, it’s different. After the SML takes their turn, it goes to the next player to the left. After their turn, the SML goes again. Play continues this way throughout the game. So basically, the SML takes every other turn, which can be hard to get used to so when choosing one, I suggest choosing someone that can remind the table that they go next. The SML is also the only player that can play the red-bordered action cards which add hours to the Filibuster Track, all other players play the blue-bordered cards which help manipulate the round in the Senators’ favor, and award Influence tokens.

The Win/Lose condition of this game is if you can successfully block four (or more) out of the 7 policies. If you all can block four or more, the player with the most Influence tokens is declared the winner of the game.

The game took a little bit to get used to because of the turn order, and figuring out the Time Track, so we did do a quick run-through round to test it, just to make sure we were doing it right before playing through the entire game. We had some confusion, but, it wasn’t anything that wasn’t easily clarified by the rule book. Everyone was able to grasp the game, and the concept, including the Padawan, so the recommended age of 10+ that’s on the box is pretty accurate. (He just wanted all the tokens…don’t be fooled! lol).

Yes, this is a political game. Political games are not for everyone, but this game has very little slant to it. There is a little here and there, but it’s nothing to take to heart no matter what side of the fence you’re on. It has so many fun elements to it, and fun illustrations, that you really could probably play it with anyone and they’d have fun with it. I have friends that are all over the political spectrum, and I wouldn’t hesitate to pull this game out and play it with any of them, at all!

The creator definitely thought outside-the-box with this one with the way the cards and turn orders are played, and it keeps you on your toes. You have to pay attention, but not so much that you don’t have fun doing it. I mean, we all had a great laugh every time someone had to say “It’s not your turn yet!” (most of which was aimed at me lol).

All in all, we had a lot of fun playing this, even the non-gamer Mr. Token. This game is LIVE on Kickstarter right now and is FULLY FUNDED! So, I suggest taking a look at it if this seems like something that would fit your group. If you want light-hearted politics, and some good laughs – which everyone could use these days – go check it out here!

UFO a Go-Go

UFO a Go-Go
3-8 Players
Published by Akupara Games
Art by Mike Shanks


NOTE: Images of this are not the finished product. This is a prototype copy, some artwork is incomplete, and some components may differ in the finished product.

UFO a Go-Go is a party game about parties! You start off as an alien trying to host the best party, and earn points by inviting other aliens to your party until you reach the winning number of points – which you must hold on to for 5 turns – to be declared the Intergalactic Party Captain! The amount of points you must earn varies depending on the number of players.

I got the gang all together to test this one out! The Padawan (my son), the Queen Token (my mother), and the ever-stubborn Mr. Token, so I had a pretty diverse group to test it out with. My mother is a gamer, the Padawan is 10 and is a gamer of every kind, and Mr. Token, well, not much of a board gamer…he’s picky lol.

We got ourselves all set up with the Winner’s Bridge at the center of the table, sorted though the cute standees, and decided which aliens we all wanted to be. The artwork that was available in my copy is really fun, and I can’t wait to see what it will all look like finished. (Remember, I’m working with a prototype).

Once we got ourselves situated, the game was pretty easy to figure out, and there was almost no having to double-check the rules. There is very little downtime between turns so there isn’t much chance of boredom between turns because it’s a very interactive game. With each alien you bring to your party, you have to perform actions to keep them there, and if you fail to do so, another player can shout “Party Foul!”, and if they are correct, they can steal one of your aliens! Some of the actions you have to perform can be a bit challenging if you have any type of physical ailments/injuries, but there are house rules to accommodate such cases. The VIP cards give an extra point to one of your alien guests, and they have mini games on them that involve all players.

Party Favor cards are a lot of fun because, when you draw one, all you have to do is announce that you drew a Party Favor, and then you put it face down in front of you until you decide to deploy it, which can be anytime, during anyone’s turn.

When a player draws a Galactic Event card, they become the Event Leader for that Galactic Event, they must read the card out loud, and place it face up for everyone to see. The game continues with the rules of the Galactic Event in place until one of the hosts fails to complete the challenge, and then has to forfeit one of their own aliens to the Event Leader…and that’s where it can get tricky!

This game was very easy to learn, but tricky enough to keep everyone’s interest! It was a hit at our table, we all had a lot of fun playing it, so it’s great for most ages – definitely something you can play with your kids, or they could play with their friends. There is also the possibility to add in house rules to make it harder if you’re playing with older kids or adults.

This project is live on Kickstarter right now, so go check it out here and see what they’ve got going on!

Trash Pandas

Trash Pandas was designed by Michael & Lisa Eskue, and was chosen as one of the top five finalists in a Hasbro game design contest. The designers wanted to see it come to life, so they did what all great designers do: they crowdfunded! After a successful Indigogo campaign, they also tried to launch on Kickstarter to expand their base, but (very sadly), Kickstarter shut them down, claiming the product was already made. I was a proud backer of that campaign and was sad to see it go, but I vowed to get my copy one way or another…and that, I did!

With fun, vibrant art by Kwanchai Moriya, you’ll instantly have fun just looking at the cards and reading the titles like “Doggo”, “Mmm Pie!”, “Feesh”, and “Nanners”.

I finally got a chance to get Trash Pandas to the table with the Padawan. It’s a fun, light, filler game that’s pretty easy to learn, but it’s a lot trickier than it looks! It’s definitely great for all ages. When I asked my Padawan for his honest opinion on the game, his quote for this post is: “It’s super awesome…I love this game!”, so there ya go.

On your turn, you roll the die, and take the corresponding token. You can continue to roll, taking the matching token each time, but if you push your luck and roll the same icon twice, you bust! When you choose to stop rolling, you resolve your tokens by drawing, stealing, or stashing cards, then your turn ends. Stashed cards are where you collect your points, so you have to make sure you’re keeping up with putting those away. But make sure you don’t stash everything! You may need that “Mmm Pie!” to resolve a token twice, and hold on tight to “Kitteh”, who acts as an alarm system on your cards….thieves beware!

The game ends when the deck runs out, and everyone counts up how many cards of each type they have stashed. Obviously, the Trash Panda with the most points wins. Today, I was the Queen Trash Panda, and I’m pretty happy with that! After all, Trash Pandas make dark circles under your eyes look adorable, right?

Just in case you’re looking for this game, pictured is the first edition, published by Red Rook Games. This one may be difficult to find. Most likely you will get the new edition, published by Gamewright. As far as I know, it’s all the same except for the box cover. Get yourself a copy, it’s a great filler game, kids will love it as well as adults! It’s definitely one of the ones I grab when I think I’m going to be stuck somewhere with some downtime.