Updated: May 4
A lot of the people we know who play board games seem also to be cat owners. There certainly seems to be a correlation between game designers and cat ownership. It is that that probably explains the explosion in the number of cat-themed games that have come to market over the past couple of years. Among game themes, Cats are surely padding along only a few steps behind Vikings.
Cat Lady is a light set collection game with a push-your-luck element reminiscent of the mechanics found in Phil Walker-Harding's popular game Sushi Go! (published by GameWright). Cards in Cat Lady are laid out in a 3x3 grid and players take turns to take all the cards in a row or column. All cat cards are played in front of the player, food cards are converted to cubes representing the food and other cards are kept concealed in hand for end-game scoring. Cats score at the end of the game provided you have the food to feed them. A player is penalised for having any unfed cats. Players are also penalised for having unused food, so care needs to be taken to get the balance right. In play, you'll find there's also a memory element as you strain to recall what cards your opponents have picked up and added to their hand and which ones they may still need to complete a high-scoring set.
Cat Lady benefits from attractive, appealing art, all done by the game's designer Josh Wood. The game works with 2–4 players and it plays quickly: expect a game to last around 20 minutes. That makes this a game that can be enjoyed as a light filler as well as being very playable as a family game. Just don't be put off by the title: I wonder if the publishers, AEG, realise that 'Cat Lady' is mostly used as a pejorative term.