This entry is part 1 of 9 in the series The best board games

Board games with cats - you can't do without them. The agile four-legged friends are not only fluffy and pretty smart, they are also perfect as protagonists or sidekicks in modern parlor games. Because that's the way it is, they appear regularly, sometimes even in complex connoisseur or even expert games. We present five good board games with cats.

The internet loves cats - and not only for fans of video games, as the recent cyberpunk title Stray by Annapurna impressively demonstrated. And meanwhile, cats have arrived in the analogue world of entertainment as well. Board games that use the properties of the clever ball of fur appear again and again. Sometimes they lie around lazily and just inspire with their cuddle factor, sometimes they are used as active protagonists. However, one thing is certain: Board games with cats are never really that bad.

Calico

Calico was published in German by Ravensburger. Image: AEG/Spielpunkt

Calico by Kevin Russ is perhaps the prototype cat title among board games. The cuddly fur balls do exactly what they do in real life in the puzzle board game: nothing.

Players have to tie a patchwork quilt with laying tiles and orientate themselves on various laying tasks. They give points for the patterns and colors laid, depending on the level of difficulty. Buttons and cat tokens also land on the game board, which also visually enhances the whole spectacle. The game is calm, sometimes relaxing and, depending on the puzzle task, also a real challenge. The rules are simple, there is not much to consider, at least mechanically. The only difficulty in Calico is to get as many points as possible from knotting the patchwork quilt.

The game was originally crowdfunded on Kickstarter with illustrations by Beth Sobel of Flatout Games. This was extremely successful and ultimately called the publishers Alderac Entertainment Group and Ravensburger into action. Calico is also available in German in this country, whereby this applies primarily to the instructions, which are not particularly complicated anyway - otherwise the board game is language-neutral. There are many beautiful details - from the colorful button tokens to different cats to the multi-layered puzzle boards.

The theme and gameplay go together perfectly, and the board game is also a great solo player title.

Calico is suitable for 1-4 people aged 10 and over. A party takes about 30 minutes.

Preview Product Rating Price
Alderac Entertainment 6210 - Calico Alderac Entertainment 6210 - Calico * 40,11 EUR

island of cats

The Isle of Cats is available as Insel der Katzen in German via Skellig Games. Image: The City of Games/Spielpunkt

More cats, more fun - that must have been the idea behind this board game, the table is full of them. This is not only incredibly cute, but also a playful hit. After all, entire boats have to be filled with a multitude of different fantasy cats. The boats bring the fur balls to their island.

Strategy, jigsaw puzzles, but also luck are required in a game of the board game Insel der Katzen, which has been published in this country together with expansions and meanwhile its own roll-and-write offshoot by the small publisher Skellig Games. Not only cat fans are right with the title: from connoisseurs to family players, the game experience can be adjusted in terms of rules, even children can easily participate in the simplest version. The Tetris concept is on the one hand a classic, but works quite well in this board game within the idea of ​​task cards.

Isle of Cats is fun for almost everyone, but not particularly cheap. Even the basic game costs around 55 euros. Extensions – they are not absolutely necessary – are associated with additional costs. One exception: If you want to play with more than four players, you can't avoid the add-on pack. The Isle of Cats is rightly considered one of the best puzzle-laying board games on the market right now. The material is great, the replay value is high, only getting started can be a challenge due to the sometimes somewhat confusing instructions. Once you've mastered them, there's nothing standing in the way of almost limitless fun with board game cats. Above all, of course, this applies to the most complex of the rule variants - as varied as Frank West's idea of ​​​​a clever cat game is hardly any other representative of the genre.

Insel der Katzen can be played in the basic game with 1-4 players aged 8 and over in around 60 minutes.

Preview Product Rating Price
Skellig 601 - The Isle of Cats Skellig 601 - The Isle of Cats * 49,93 EUR

cat lady

The small board game Cat Lady is also available as an app. Image: AEG/Spielpunkt

Cat Lady is a board game or card game about cat ladies - after all, the title already exists. They are demanding and greedy. Accordingly, in this game by Josh Wood, the aim is to make cats as happy as possible – with toys, catnip or food, among other things. There seems to be a particularly large number of cat fans at the Alderac Entertainment Group, because this title also comes from this publisher – coincidence? Hardly likely!

In Cat Lady it's easy to get used to: getting started is uncomplicated, which is mainly due to the basically simple rules. Even children can quickly jump in and achieve success in the drafting game. However, with rounds lasting between 15 and 30 minutes, Cat Lady is not a full-length board game. Rather, the title is used as a filler or to warm up. If you want to play on the go, you can also do so via the app.

Cat Lady focuses on the push-your-luck component when it comes to food. Just like in real life, feeding cats the right food can be a gamble. The card game title is conceptually somewhere between Coloretto and Sushi Go, but with a much better theme. In the end, the strategy behind the game isn't that simple - simply collecting cats rarely leads to success. Rather, it is important to keep an eye on the other resources as well. What is also positively noticeable is the look: Cat Lady's style is special.

Cat Lady is a game for 2-4 people. A game lasts about 25 minutes and the recommended age is 8 years.

Preview Product Rating Price
Alderac Entertainment 5885 - Cat Lady Alderac Entertainment 5885 - Cat Lady * Currently no reviews 27,31 EUR

Cat Crimes

Cat Crimes by Think Fun is a crime logic game. Image: ThinkFun/Spielpunkt

Okay, admittedly, Think Fun's Cat Crimes isn't a classic concept for a list of good board games featuring cats - but that's what makes the title so special. Rather, the pure solo title is a puzzle game. But there are cats and they are staged wonderfully. There are 40 cases to solve, you have to use logic to crack the deductive tasks. Adults are good at this, children could sometimes be faced with problems - for the youngest, some tasks are real headaches. Especially nice: Even in the easy levels you have to think properly, otherwise you won't get the solution.

What sets Ct Crimes apart from the tricky tasks is above all the optics. The table and the little cat standees, along with the accessories, make the table appearance a success. Ultimately, this supports the gameplay, because purely mechanically, Think Fun shouldn't have played the game so lovingly detailed. Luckily they did, because purely “cat-technically” there are no points of criticism.

The various criminal cases are motivating and can sometimes be solved together with several players. However, Cat Crimes is really good as a solo puzzle and alternative to TV, books or video games. Time flies as you solve the cases. And Cat Crimes makes players at least as clever as cats: logic, reading and language skills are encouraged - and without Cat Crimes trying to be an educational game. By the way, if you are through with the cats, you will find an alternative in the dog version Dog Crimes. Of course, you can't put the two games together on the table.

Cat Crimes is a puzzle game for 1 person aged 8+. The playing time varies depending on the case.

Space Cats Fight Fascism: The Board Game

In Space Cats Fight Fascism: The Board Game, the name says it all. Image: TEA Collective/Spielpunkt

Space Cats Fight Fascism: The Board Game? Exactly, because one is probably at a loss for the first time. The background story for this board game, which the publisher TESA Collective financed via crowdfunding on Kickstarter, is twisted. An authoritarian ruling group - The Rat Pack - wants to seize control of the galaxy. And only the cats can fight the fascist regime. In this cooperative board game, 2 to 4 players slip into the roles of rebel cats and try to liberate four planets together. On the other hand, if the Rat Pack gains control of the Galactic Alliance, peace will finally be over.

The creators crowdfunded almost $50.000 to finance the game. In addition to the board game titles themselves, the countless cat puns in particular provide plenty of humor. They also deliver solidly in terms of play: Hardly any game is the same as the other, which is not least due to the selectable cats. Getting started is easy, but the gameplay is not. Sometimes the games are tricky, you don't always win. The expansion "Secret Meowssions" provides even more motivation, which improves the basic game significantly with new game elements on the strategic level. In the end, it's easy: don't do like Nikita and get your paws dirty!

The 2018 board game went under the radar at times - sure, the theme is as special as the title, but Brian Van Slyke's idea is anything but a big joke. The game concept is worked out more cleverly than you would think at first glance, although you quickly learned the basics. The balancing is terrific and reminds of board games à la Pandemic. Hardly surprising, after all, they can be called ideal templates for Space Cats Fight Fascism: The Board Game. There are still unique selling points - and then of course there is the thematic design, which, including the illustrations by Evan Rowland, hovers over everything. Space Cats Fight Fascism: The Board Game is one of the top five best board games with cats.

The board game is suitable for 2 to 4 people aged 10 and over and takes about 30 to 60 minutes to play.

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Last updated on 5.08.2022/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API