Title: Treasure Cats
Designed By: Nathan Wall
Published By: Glass Shoe Games
Released: Coming to September 21, 2021
Player Count: 3-9
Time to Play: 10-20 Minutes
Treasure Cats is a bluffing game for the whole family, where players take on the role of treasure hunting felines in search of the most valuable items.
First determine the number of players in the game. This is important because the cards that will be in play, will vary based on your player count.
For 3+ players you wants to remove the laser pointer, snow globe, jacket and water bottle. For 5+ players, just remove the jacket and water bottle. Finally, for 7+ players, leave all of the cards in.
Choose a starting player (there is no specific rule for how to do this so we are going to suggest whoever pet a cat most recently goes first). Have that player shuffle the deck and deal each player two cards face down and then deal three cards face-up in the middle of all players.
This will be what you do to setup for every round.
You are now ready to begin!
How to Play:
Treasure Cats is played over multiple rounds and continues until one player reaches five points. Should multiple players reach five points in the same round, continue playing more rounds, until there is no longer a tie and someone has won! Each round has three phases.
For phase one, beginning with the starting player and going clockwise, each player will select one of their two cards to play this round . They will place this card face-up in front of them, while using their other card to cover either the top or bottom half of the revealed card. It is important that other player's only ever see a single half of the card that is selected. Either the item or the location should be visible, not both. Continue until each player has played their card for the round, then enter phase two which is the ability triggering phase.
During phase two, again begin with the starting player and continue clockwise. If a player has a card with an "active ability" (designated by the letter A), they may use it now. Active abilities allow players to do things such as guess the location of a player who played an item card. If the player guesses correctly, the other player must discard their card. This allows player's to try and remove other's from the round that they believe are in opposite locations from them, or that they do not want to score. Other active abilities include things like swapping your face-up card with a card in the middle of the table, or choosing which location wins ties. After any player with an active ability has chosen whether or not to use it, it is time for phase three.
During phase three, all players reveal their chosen location, unless their treasure card was discarded in the previous phase. Player's who have a passive ability may now use that ability, again in turn order, beginning with the starting player. Passive abilities allow for things like stealing a point from another player, if your location does not win, or gaining an additional victory point if your location wins.
Now it is time to see which team wins! Add up all of the values for each item at the two locations (using only the cards played by players, not the center cards) and the location that has the highest scoring treasure total wins! Each player who visited that location (and still has their card) gains a victory point.
If a player has reached five points, the game is over and that cool cat wins! If not, play another round following the steps above until someone wins.
Treasure Cats is a super cute, lightweight filler game. It is really easy to teach and can accommodate a large amount of players. Treasure Cats actually has one of the highest play counts we have seen in such a small box game. Fitting inside a standard card deck box, Treasure Cats can still play with up to nine people. While we were not able to test it with that high a number of players, we believe that it would play just as nicely, as Treasure Cats scales and adds new cards with higher player counts.
While Treasure Cats is a game with only one winner and thus not a team game, we like that there is a team aspect to the game. Player's need to work to determine which location will score each round and try to be part of that team. If they are on the winning team, they get a point. As the object of the game is to be the first player to reach five points, working to help the team you are on score points is imperative to your success.
The tableau of cards in the middle was an interesting design choice as it allows players to gather some information when trying to determine which location they would rather visit. If all three cards are for the same location, it can be assumed that the other location may be what more player's have in their hands. Using this player's will either need to try and go to the other location, or play a card with an action that would help them stop another player from scoring, or help them still get a point even if their location does not win.
One little detail that we love about Treasure Cats is how the time, player count and recommended age is featured on the box. Each ties into the cat theme, even the clock has cat ears. It's small details like this that we appreciate in games as it makes them a bit unique and gives them character! We also enjoyed the card art for the game, it's colorful and has a fun style
The mechanic of having to pick whether to show your location in order to get teammates to join you, or play a card with an active ability was interesting. Play too good of a card and other's might target you depending on where you are in turn order. Players need to use their bluffing skills to convince other player's that they are not a threat. We liked how hidden information is worked into the gameplay of Treasure Cats.
For a simple game with only two card choices per turn, there is still a lot to think about. You have the location to consider, as well as the points you would bring to that location, whether you want an active ability, or a passive one, or none at all, and specifically which ability would help you most. However, as we mentioned there are only two cards each player needs to pick from per round, so Treasure Cats is good for our friends who suffer from analysis paralysis.
Treasure Cats is the purrfect choice for those looking for a quick game to squeeze in during a game night, or to play while waiting for others to come over. It is also great for family gatherings where you have a bunch of people around the table. How can you go wrong when the game features the cutest little sphinx cat on the box?
Treasure Cats will be coming to Kickstarter in early September, so be sure to look out for these treasure hunting cats! Check out Glass Shoe Games' website for more information!