Board Game Journal – January 23 2023

So work was not the cruisy experience it was last week. Everyone else coming back to work and having thoughts on projects over the holidays should be banned!

This week is a short week though – maybe I can get some games in with Rabbit and/or a bigger solo session? Have to see how that goes! I did get to try a new game last week in Cat Cafe which was super fun.

I also played a lot of Cartographers on my mobile. I need to get back in the habit of recording those games!

Cat Cafe

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Alpal suggested that I give a roll-and-write game called Cat Cafe a try. She has a knack for finding simple games that I really enjoy, so I looked up the rules and we had a few rounds on Board Game Arena. And once again, Alpal has found a game that I absolutely love!

The gameplay of Cat Cafe is really simple. You roll a number of dice (players + 1), and you use the number on the die you chose and the remaining ‘communal’ die to place objects in cat towers. From there, Cat Cafe becomes a min-max type puzzle where you try to place specific items in the right spots to get the highest score.

20230123 - Cat Cafe - A cute bit of fun
Cat Cafe is a cute bit of fun with deceptive depth

There are lots of ways to score. You can go for the majority of yarn balls on each tower. Link groups of mice toys together for more points for longer chains. You can also place cat bowls with lots of different objects around them for points. Don’t forget to put butterflies through the tower to earn paw prints to manipulate your dice values later.

It sounds like a lot to keep track of, and Rabbit and I definitely needed a couple of games to hit the high scores that Alpal was getting. But the beauty of Cat Cafe is that a long game is only 10 minutes, so needing to play a game or two as trial runs isn’t a big ask.

20230123 - Cat Cafe - Finally gave Alpal a challenge, but not enough to topple her win streak
Took some of us a while to get the hang of scoring, but Alpal still has the Cat Cafe crown!

I’m definitely considering getting a physical version of this game for Rabbit and I to play together. It’s quicker to set up than ‘Welcome To’, quick to get through, and a lot of fun. Also, if the pics of Enzo wasn’t a big enough clue, the theme hits for both Rabbit and I which always helps!


Last year, some friends introduced me to a game called Parks and I thought it would be something thatAlpal and Rabbit would enjoy. I wasn’t sure which of two camps (puns!) it would fall into. Would it be a longer but fun game like Isle of Cats, or an unnecessarily long game that would other games like Century Spice Road would be preferred?

20230123 - Parks - Still a pretty journey
Parks is a pretty game, but has a lot of moving parts

Luckily, Parks fell into the first category. Rabbit especially took to it, which was nice to see. The part of Parks that I thought would appeal to them is that you essentially play your own game together. You can try to collect resources that others might need or buy gear that someone else has their eye on. Going out of your way to do this will more often than not ruin your score. So Parks doesn’t really cater to “take that” players unless everyone is playing that way and that’s the game you want to play.

20230123 - Parks - Gear is important to get the most of future turns
Gear is important to help you get the most out of future hikes

I’m glad I got to play Parks with Alpal and Rabbit, but I don’t think they’ll be asking to play it again anytime soon. While Parks was nice to play, it will probably end up on our “We can’t play Isle of Cats and 7 Wonders Architects again right now” list.

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know! 

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Until next time,