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Card Catcher Review

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Card CatcherAs most regular BGQ readers know, I’m a big fan of those ticket-dispensing arcade games. From skeeball, to the addicting coin pusher, to that one where you throw balls at a clown’s head, I can waste hours collecting tickets for a bunch of crap I don’t want and will probably never use. While not really a ticket-despensing game, I have spent more time than I care to admit playing the claw grabber games. Move the claw, grab a stuffed animal, and hope the machine gods smile on you.

Why is any of this nonsense relevant? The mind of Brad Talton, Jr. (Millennium Blades, Pixel Tactics) and Level 99 Games have released their newest family/party game: Card Catcher. It seeks to grab the spirit of the claw grabber game and bring it to our tabletops.

Gameplay Overview:

Card Catcher Rules
Make your own claw!

Playing Card Catcher is very easy. The cards are tossed in a messy pile on the table and the start player grabs the coin. On a player’s turn, they take the coin and holds it in one hand, while placing their elbow (from the same arm) in their other hand. It’s kind of hard to explain, so just look at the picture on the right here. Got it? Good, all that’s left is to move your hand around (like the claw machine game) and pick your spot to drop the coin. If it lands on a card, you get to claim that one.

The first player to take 6 cards ends the game, and the player with the most points wins.

Card Catcher Gameplay
Take the coin and drop it on a card. Easy peasy.

Game Experience:

I feel like Card Catcher is a game that you will know right away if it’s for you or not. It’s silly fun, and not really a game you can take too seriously. Much like playing Rhino Hero, it’s a family game with some definite cross-over appeal. My kids adore it, but I’ve also played it with my parents, non-gamer friends, and even a few players with my regular gaming group. Everyone has had a good time with it and it was quite surprising how hard it can be to hit a card you are aiming for.

Card Catcher Coin
The top most card the coin touches is yours.

One thing I liked was that there are some diverse scoring cards in the game. Some are just worth straight-up points, while others are set collection cards, or grant bonuses like extra turns. Yet none of that turns the game into a thinky one because even if you are trying to collect sets, where the coin lands pretty much feels like luck. I’d imagine if you played it enough, you could develop some skill of dropping the coin where you want it, but for us, it’s pretty much just dropping the coin and hoping for the best. And that’s fine. When the coin bounces a few mm from a card, there is a little bit of tension as we all stare closely to see if it’s a hit or not.

Card Catcher Score
Some of the cards even have bonus scoring abilities.

Card Catcher is not a serious game, and I think it’s mainly going to appeal to younger kids. I can’t see playing this with adults very often unless we turn it into a drinking game (which does sound pretty fun). When I tested it with my kids, they had a blast, even though my daughter tends to pout when she misses a card. Yet they have also asked to play again (one of my benchmarks for whether its a good family game or not) on quite a few occasions.

The other thing it has going for it is its production values. The whole package is a small square and can easily fit in a bag or purse to take it on the go. The cards themselves are a plastic material, which is nice because the coin won’t damage them.

Final Thoughts:

There is not a ton to say about Card Catcher that you won’t already know just from reading the back of the box. The gameplay is right there front and center and you’ll know pretty quickly whether or not this game is a good fit for you. That being said, it’s worked really well as a family game, and also as a quick playing filler. It only takes about 10 minutes to play, and I’ve busted it out a couple of times while waiting for people to show up to game night.

Its small shelf requirement, minimal rules, and $12 price tag make it a great option for a filler or family game that won’t overstay its welcome. And as usual, we don’t do review scores for family games, as your mileage will vary depending on who you are playing with. That being said, we’ve had a lot of fun in my house so far with this one.

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