Wednesday, August 22, 2018

I poke at Katego

Okay. Since I bashed Katego in passing, I feel like I ought to actually write about it.

Basically, there are eleven point slots, two through twelve. Everyone takes turns rolling two dice and assigning wherever they roll to one of the slots. After everyone’s gotten eleven turns and the scoreboard is filled, whoever has the highest roll in each spot gets those points. But if there’s a tie for highest roll, no one gets the points. Most points wins.

There is nothing ‘wrong’ with Katego. It’s very simple but all the rules work. I would even go so far as to say that it has meaningful choices. However, it doesn’t have any zing and that’s coming from a guy who loves abstracts and dice games. It feels more like an exploration of probability theory than a game. (Which it may have well been)

Katego would be completely unknown if it hadn’t been designed by Reiner Knizia and free. It was originally published in his book Dice Games Properly Explained in 1999. Pulling it off the shelf (is anyone surprised I own the book?), he writes it was designed in 1990. Which is pretty much right at the start of him being a professional designer. 

So it might really have been an experiment more than a game and that might also be why it has more of a pub game feel. Judging it too harshly is like lambasting P. G. Wodehouse’s first book, The Pothunters. (On the other hand, the only way I can forgive Love Among the Chickens is that it gave us Ukridge)

I don’t hate Katego. Frankly, I just find it dull. It’s an interesting historical footnote but there are better little dice games out there to play. (Like Reiner Knizia’s Decathalon :D)

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