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KICKSTARTER PICKS: SCHRODINGER’S CATS Practically Purrrfect Bidding Game

Some 80 years ago, Erwin Shrödinger was only just coming up with his now-infamous feline-centric thought experiment, but people are still debating the cat’s well-being today. 9th Level Game‘s Schrodinger’s Cats takes Schrödinger’s experiment and forces players to argue and prove their theories in this bluffing, cat-based card game.

Background

Schrödinger’s Cats, a cat-based card game of “scientific” deduction and poker-esque bluffing, launched earlier this year on Kickstarter with resounding success. The game was created by the dual Heather team of Heather Wilson and Heather O’Neil. O’Neil previously helped co-create Demon Realms. Wilson had written and edited but never personally developed any games before this. Their original project goal of $9,000 was met in a week and quickly surpassed several stretch goals to end with a total 45k pledged, 500% of their original goal. O’Neil was surprised by the fast funding and remarked: “We are so excited that our game has received such an enthusiastic response!”

The team describes the game as “a bidding game where your goal is to correctly predict how many cats will make it out of Schrodinger’s lab.” As part of their Kickstarter campaign, there was a print-and-play version of the game made available for people to test before deciding to back the project.

9th Level Games is also behind such titles as Kobolds Ate My Baby!, Cthulu for President and Ninja Burger the RPG. With the conclusion of the Kickstarter, the first printing for Schrödinger’s Cats is expected to come this summer. You can find out more about the game’s development by following the crew on Facebook at Schrodinger’s Cats Card Game, Instagram at catphysicist or on Twitter via @catphysicist.

Gameplay

In each round, there are a set number of boxes and players must deduce how many contain alive cats, dead cats, and how many of the boxes are actually empty. To top it all off, there are Heisenberg wild cards which count as whatever is currently being guessed. For example, if the “hypothesis” for the round was that X cats are alive, any and all Heisenberg cards, including ones in other players’ hands, would count as alive cats. If the next hypothesis after that is about dead cats, then Heisenberg cards count as dead cats and so on.

Guesses come in the form of “bids” which may be raised or “debunked,” by the other players. Players can also choose to “prove” their guess by placing any number of cards from their hand face-up on the table. While this may seem like it would be a huge disadvantage, it also allows the player the opportunity to draw new cards from the deck and mix it up a bit. At its core, Schrödinger’s Cats is a bluffing game where you have to correctly guess several components a la Clue.

The rules suggest 4-6 players as the optimum range, but there are additional rules for 2-3 players to adapt the game. After a few rounds, it becomes obvious why it was suggested as a 4-6 player game; although playable with fewer people, as bids increase, it begins to get ridiculous far too quickly. Say there are two players, with 12 boxes total, as quickly as bids increase in a round, they would hit the range of impossible guesses and have little to no “proof” within minutes. With a larger amount of players, and a larger amount of boxes on the table, at the very least rounds would last longer.

Cat physicists are dealt out at the beginning of the game and each has a one-use ability. The cat physicists are based on real scientists and range from Neil deGrasse Tabby to Albert Felinestein or Stephen Pawking and each boasts a specialty; Madame Purrie, for example, is an expert in “radio-CAT-tivity.” Their abilities range from drawing extra cards to ignoring all alive cats for the round. Cat physicists are entirely optional, and it would probably be best to try a round or two of basic gameplay before introducing them. If you’re playing with other experienced scientists, the addition of cat physicists can add an extra level of complexity to the game.

Components / Rulebook

The game, as a card-based game, does not have very much to it as far as components go; there are 60 game cards total along with the rulebook and two bid trackers. The artwork is simple and cute and the recent addition of separate artwork for each cat physicist just makes it even better.

The rulebook itself is well-labeled and short, all things that make it user-friendly. Overall, the rules are fairly clear and the game could probably be taught in less than 15 minutes even if every player at the table was seeing it for the first time. Since this was only a test version and the original game will not be available until later this year, as part of their FAQ, they explained that “…the rulebook is still being finalized, however, we do not expect any major rules changes. The character abilities may end up changing in the final version.”

The bidding system is possibly the most difficult part of the instructions to explain. Another easily lost point comes with the empty boxes; empty boxes are counted at twice the value of either alive or dead cats.

Overall

You do not have to be particularly good at bluffing or deducting to enjoy Schrödinger’s Cats. Overall, the game is easy to set up and start playing; it could theoretically be played anywhere. Although initially the bidding system may be difficult for some players to grasp, once that hurdle is passed, the rest of the game is easy-to-understand fun. If you like logic-based bluffing games or even just cats, this game is something you can enjoy. If the pre-release version is anything like the finalized game, Schrödinger’s Cats will prove to be a must-have for anyone that wants a quick, cute and quirky game in the same vein as games like Clue or  Love Letter.

 

Cover image via

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Categories: Kickstarter Picks, Tabletop Reviews

Author:Brittany Pressley

Brittany loves tabletop games. She can be found on twitter: @brittpressley.

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