Here’s my idea:
Having worked with cats, I know how difficult it is to catch these little critters, so making a game out of it is sure to appeal.
It starts as 3 Cat workers trying to return the cats to their cages before the public come in the main door. The place must be clean and kitten free before the time runs out.
Two extra areas: Maternity and Isolation, will be available for the 4th / 5th players.
Maternity will be the skittish cats that run far more often, and Isolation need to be kept safe from the others - who they will attack.
The Kittens themselves will be named - have cute pictures (theme) and will move randomly - this is going to be achieved like Pandemic with certain colours of cats moving in a certain way on each one. Calico (three colour) will be in maternity.
The pieces will be L shaped - representing the players with their out stretched arms. This not only is how you tend to catch them - but gives you a kitten token space to hold them.
Cleaning and feeding will also take place as the cats will be naturally attracted to food, and need to excrete. Both of these need cleaning up before the end.
When I first looked at this though - it became apparent that it was more of a chess based puzzle than a game; so I went back to look at the core basis. Catching kittens is tough - and gets tougher the more stressed you are - so I introduced the concept of stress.
So, you can build your stress by over-exerting, but this means the kittens are harder to catch. And if you get to too much stress, you yell expletives - which means all the kittens scatter.
How do you lose stress? Stroking the kittens. This reduces your stress counters and makes them more docile.
So, it’s a battle of stress vs. time.
My first attempt at a board came out like this:
But I hit an immediate snag: If my players are L shaped - are they 3/4 of a square or 3 squares?
If they’re 3/4 of a square - the kittens will be frustrating to move - not my plan.
If they’re 3 squares, I suddenly have to make everything bigger.
So…I need to redesign the board - this is quite a normal cage set up; but as this is a board game, I think I need to make a super cat chamber. Maybe the same number of cages, but a lot more maneuver - romp room.
Stuff to look at
- Can kittens herd themselves?
- Do they all need to be fed?
- Looking at 4 moves per turn - Pick up / Drop / Stroke will all take a move - but you can’t carry food / Mop / Kitten.
- How do I represent stress? As this is a co-operative game (for the humans), it should be seen.
I quite like the idea of having *$&£ cards, representing cuss-words.
- The kittens should certainly be named, but should the catchers? I quite like the idea of all the catchers being faceless shapes - focussing totally on the kittens. But then do the players need a face to imagine being stressed.
So: Basic Game
8 / 12 / 16 kittens
Each player has 4 moves to catch kittens and may take one extra per stress gained, or may remove a stress for one move.
To pick up a kitten, they must roll below their current stress on a d6. Failing gets them an extra point.
Same to clean up mess, if they first have picked up the mop.
Stroking a kitten makes that kitten ignore the next movement card and reduce the players stress by 1.
The cards will refer to the colour of the kittens that move - with added poop, stress, scratch cards.
When the clock hits 12, the floor must be clean and the kittens must be shelved (& fed?) to win.
Kittens will tend to move towards food and away from stressed people - but may dart towards open doors.
So - need a good & fair selection of cards - a more playful board - characters - kittens and poop/food counters.