Simon’s Cat Wants to Play

cover_smAs any blogger knows, the best way to increase hits and traffic is cat videos. I am, by no means, above such a low and desperate ploy!

It turns out that there’s an actual game that goes with these cat videos. Simon’s Cat is a card game from Steve Jackson Games for three to six players and takes maybe 20 minutes to play. There are two types of cards: Mischief cards and Simon cards.

The Mischief cards come in six suites. Each suite has its own color and unique character (for instance, the pink cards all have Simon’s cat on them while the green cards have the garden gnome). The cards are also numbered, but not identically; there are ten pink cards numbered 3 through 12, but only two green cards (which are numbered 1 and 2).

sccardsThe player with the pink 3 card goes first, putting that card in the center of the table. Play then goes clockwise around the table. Each player must match either the suite or the number of the last card tossed down. If they can’t do either, then they have to claim the “mess” and pull all the played cards into a stack in front of them.

Once everyone is out of cards, you count up how many messes each player has. The one with the most messes gets the blame, represented by one Simon card. (The number of cards in each mess doesn’t matter; only the total number of individual messes.)
Because of the distribution of cards, the game offers multiple strategies in play. For instance, while the pink cards are the most numerous in the deck, they’re also the only suite with cards above 10. Only three of the suites (and the smallest three at that) have any cards numbered lower than 3. Deciding which cards to throw down is an exercise in paying attention to which cards your opponents haven’t been able to match and playing the odds.

Simon’s Cat is a quick little game, easy to learn and to play. This makes it perfect for killing time while you wait for the rest of your RPG group to show up, or while someone else sets up the board for a more complicated game with lots of pieces, like Twilight Imperium or Blood Rage. It’s just a deck of cards, so that makes it easy to carry with you and is very inexpensive. In short, it’s a great addition to anyone’s games closet.