Gamers have very strong feelings about themes. Some love science fiction themes and some are over zombies. If there is one theme that will always see some playing time in our house, it’s anything involving cats. As we live in our three cats’ house, we always need to find a way to show our appreciation to them for allowing us to share their space and repay them for their kindness with tasty food.
In Kibble Scuffle by WizKids, you are trying to get your cats the best possible food from the food dish before all the other cats gobble it up. Will your kitties get to scarf on that delicious wet food, or have to settle for some dry (but still delicious) kibble?
Kibble Scuffle is an area control game for 2-4 players, that plays in about 15 minutes. We recommend Kibble Scuffle to be played with 3-4 players.
Each player has their own deck of cat and toy cards, each with their own special powers and effects. On their turn, a player plays a cat or toy at one of three food bowls, activating that card’s power. Cards can move or discard other cats, add or take away food from the bowls, or other similar sorts of game effects.
Once a food bowl has 5 cats at it, the owners of the cats, in order, can collect the food from that bowl. Food can be worth one, two, or three points, depending on the type of food. After the cats are fed and they disperse (by getting discarded), the food dish is refilled and gameplay resumes. A player is declared the winner when they have 20 points worth of food!
While Kibble Scuffle tends to skew towards the light side of rules, there is a surprising amount of depth of decision-making when determining where to play your cats and activate their powers. Since every players’ deck is the same, keeping track of which cards your opponents have played and trying to plan for all possibilities leads to more tactical thinking than we were initially expecting. Since the player that initiates feeding by playing the fifth cat may not necessarily be the first to feed, there is a bit of thought required to determine who gets the advantage on a particular move. We found this level of depth appropriate yet not so complicated that it is beyond the reach of younger or inexperienced gamers.
As with most area control games, Kibble Scuffle does not work terribly well at the two-player table. We found our games became less tactical and more of a race, which was not necessarily expressive of the game’s quality. Playing Kibble Scuffle with three or four players is where it shines, because of the more varied gameplay, interactions, and decision-making requirements that having more than two players present.
Since the decks are standardized and the card pool is on the small side, we do have a worry that replay value may be a factor. However, Kibble Scuffle does not have the same drawing power for consecutive plays like another game may have, so the worries about repetitive gameplay may fall away in the event that you are playing it as a warm-up with your group or with non-gamer family and friends.
A cute touch to Kibble Scuffle is the way the game box is employed as part of gameplay. Normally, a title like this would include a bag of some kind to blindly draw the food cubes from. The developers of Kibble Scuffle added a pour spout on the side of the box, so you can put the cubes in the box, give them a shake, then pour them out as required to add to the food bowls. Such a small design decision has such an enjoyable impact on gameplay.
Kibble Scuffle is a rules-light game that has plenty of elements that make it enjoyable. Between the theme, straightforward rules, and clever design, this can definitely find a happy home on your gaming shelf. Just make sure to keep the litter box clean and the water dish topped off.
Final Score: 3 Stars – A nice game in a cute and small package, like my cat Penelope. No risk of it knocking pens off your desk, unlike my cat Penelope.
• Only plays well at 3+
• Limited options could hinder replay value