Okay. Let me get this out of the way. Canterpillar Feast uses the strategic bingo mechanic of Take It Easy. Everyone has their own player board and everyone gets the same options.
That's not a bad thing. It's a family of games that I really like and one that I have been able to use with a wide variety of groups.
In Canterpillar Feast, you are hungry, hungry caterpillars munching on leaves. Every one has a branch with ten leaves on it, numbered two to six and eight to twelve. Each leaf has nine empty boxes on it and a ladybug. The tree that the branch is on has nine knot holes.
You'll take turns being the active player. The active player rolls four dice and then chooses one to discard. Everyone then chooses two of the dice to add together. That's the leaf that you'll be eating this turn and the number on the last die is the number of boxes you'll be filling in.
Here's the kicker. You have to fill in that number of boxes. If you'd go over, you can't use that combination of dice. And if you can't fill in any boxes (and, as the game goes on, that will happen), you fill in a knot hole. When someone fills in their last knot hole, the game's over.
In addition, if you're the first person to complete a particular leaf, you get to circle the ladybug on that leaf. The farther on the edge of the bell curve, the more spots they have. The two and the twelve have six spots and six and eight have two.
When the game's over, you get ten points for every completed leaf, points equal to the number of spots on your circled ladybugs, and negative points equal to the number of empty boxes on your leaves. Whoever has the most points, wins.
I played Canterpillar Feast as a solitaire game, which is how I'll probably test drive all the games I try in the GenCan't library. And I think that is probably the weakest way to play the game.
Playing by myself, I was able to optimize every roll. Someone else choosing which die to discard would definitely add tension. Same thing about actually having to compete for ladybugs. On top of that, the game ending when anyone fills in all their knot holes also keeps things tense.
In general, having played a lot of games like Canterpillar Feast, I would call it a solid game, not brilliant but not disappointing. One thing that gives it an edge is that it's free and easy PnP.
However, the biggest takeaway for me is actually the theme. The theme takes an abstract number and odds cruncher and turns into a cute game with a kid-engaging theme. It's gone on the large stack of potential games when our toddler gets a little older and I've already shared with friends with older kids.