Last night I found out how to play as a magical kitty and I had a blast! As a follow-up to my teaser post yesterday, I thought I would show you inside the box and talk a little about what I found.
Having opened the box, I was immediately struck by the high quality production of the game. Full colour, high-quality paper, nice dice, good stock cards… wow! Atlas Games have exceeded my expectations with this one. Admittedly, this is the deluxe edition but I am very glad I spent the extra.
Now, as a 51-year-old male British gamer who has never taken an interest in this genre, I was surprised to find myself immediately falling in love with the premise: you are magical kitty who has a human to protect and keep safe. It’s otherwise pretty much the modern world and the key objective is to use your magic to protect the humans without ever letting the humans know that the magic exists.
The box has three adventure booklets – the default River City setting plus Alien Invasion and the Wild Ones. The first is anytown on a river and is designed to provide a firm foundation in the genre for new players. Alien Invasion is pretty much what it says – protect the humans from aliens. The Wild Ones introduces kitties who don’t have a human but protect other wild animals instead, living in the wilderness.
The first step is to play through The Big Adventure – a comic book “choose-your-own-adventure” style introduction that you play solo. It introduces you to the world in about three panels, gets you to create your magical kitty, choose your magical power, and then teaches you how to play. It took me about 30 minutes to play through and has high replay value.
What I particularly liked about The Big Adventure is that it was cleverly designed as an introduction. I learned about the magical kitty subgenre of fantasy through playing it. I learned the rules of the game. I had fun creating my own kitty and began to care deeply about him. More than anything, though, the solo adventure teaches about choice and consequence in roleplaying games.
An example would be the panels that show various options for you to choose in a visual layout. Numbers for where to turn to next are superimposed over items on the image. Thus, in the example above, you can see options to slip around the back of the house, check out the bushes on the left, go through the hole in the front door, or climb in through the window.
When you make choices, sometimes you just discover what happens next. But if the task has an obstacle (like a locked door), you generally have to make a dice roll to see if you can achieve the task. Failure has consequences just as real as success. The game teaches you that if something doesn’t work, you need to try something else. Going around obstacles is fruitful and you don’t always have to fight the creatures.
Every choice in The Big Adventure is meaningful from the beginning. What you do, which powers you pick, and how you approach problems is very nicely rewarded and gives rise to a sense of being replayable because different choices will yield different results.
Finally, I am impressed with the tokens and dice – nice chunky dice feel good. The cards are well made and provide a deluxe touch to the game box. There is a sense of fun to the whole product too that’s hard to quantify. It’s as if the designers are giving you a taste of the genre through each item. Oh, and there are gorgeous maps tucked inside each adventure booklet!
All in all, this looks like a fun and simple game. Yes, it’s designed for children and suitable for anyone who can roll dice and pick out the different numbers. That said, it appeals to me greatly and I would love to play a group game with it. Magical Kitties Save The Day is something I didn’t expect to like… but I love it already!