Monday, November 9, 2020

Lost Cats is terribly clever but not my cup of tea

 If you ever wanted to play Three Card Monte as a solitaire game with an ‘robot’ player moving the cards around, Lost Cats is the game that you’ve been looking for.

And, in all honesty, that one sentence was pretty much sums up the game perfectly. I found the game when looking for different kinds of solitaire games you can play with a regular deck of cards. And it was such a simple and clever idea that I had to try it out.

All you need is a regular deck of cards and a chart to play. And you don’t even use any of the spades or the jokers. The remaining three queens are the cat owners and the remaining three jokers are the missing cats. Missing cats are placed face down, sandwiched between the nine and ten of the same suits with their owners over them.

The rules are not only free but just take up on page so I won’t repeat them. Instead I’ll just cover the clever bit. You create an action deck from the remaking cards, shuffling and dealing out ten of them one at a time. The actions cards rearrange and otherwise mess with the stacks. When you are done, you have to try and find the jacks and match them to right queen. No, you can’t flip them over first :P

The only real mechanical issue I have with the game is that you need the chart to see what the action cards do. I have a feeling that the designers of this game will try and kickstart it with a specialized deck, which would solve that problem.

Lost Cats is an interesting example of a game that I don’t enjoy but I really appreciate the design. I’m not just bad at this kind of game, I also don’t have fun with them. If a shell takes shows up as a mini-game in Mario Party, I’m not having a good time.

But I think the action deck does a really good job of making a functional, replayable solitaire Three Card Monte. More than that, I can see it working as a multi-player game with one person running the action deck, possibly at great speed; while everyone else tries to keep up. It’d be like Ricochet Robots with a regular deck of cards.

In short, I may be done with Lost Cats but people who aren’t me will probably have a lot of fun with it.

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