My cats seem to do nothing but sit around and sleep for most of the day and night. However, I’m convinced they are hiding something from me. For reasons that defy science, Albert can fit into any box, no matter how small it appears. Penelope has an uncanny ability to knock things off of shelves that are seemingly beyond her reach, and Gracie can turn on the charm with her giant eyes and her sad meow. I am convinced they have secret powers and reveal them only when it suits their wishes, just like the cats in Mew-Tants, a pulp-style RPG from Anima Press.
Mew-Tants is a role-playing game for at least 2 players, but can scale up to as many players as you like.
In Mew-Tants, you take on the aspirational role of not just a cat, but a cat with super-powers. During cat-racter creation, you roll for your breed. Each cat breed has different ranks in Claws (for strength-based activities), Whiskers (for mental-based activities), and F**ks (for charisma-based activities), as well as nine lives (naturally). Super powers are then rolled for, with the list including being able to breathe underwater, having laser eyes, or being able to climb any surface.
While playing, the game master presents situations for your cat to interact with and problems to solve. Checks are made by rolling d6s equal to your ranks in Claws, Whiskers, or F**ks. Items such as catnip and scratching posts can be sought out and used to gain bonuses, and lives can be spent for rerolls. How do you win the game? By having fun and lots of laughs with your gaming group. Also, by rewarding yourself with a pleasant catnap post-session.
The rules for Mew-Tants allow players to get right into the game, with character creation literally taking the time it takes to print out a player sheet and roll a few dice. The different breeds and powers gave us quite a laugh, and coming up with names and backstories for the cats was equally as enjoyable. As cat owners, we found ourselves connecting the crazy shenanigans our own feline friends get into to the tales we were spinning of our super-powered cats.
Unlike a complex RPG like Pathfinder or Dungeons and Dragons (both of which are our usual fare), Mew-Tants provided us with a light experience on a night when we could not get the whole party together for our usual game. While we do not see ourselves necessarily playing Mew-Tants as a campaign-style game, we would definitely turn to it as a one-off for our regular group, or as a way of introducing new gamers to the world of RPGs.
Like any role-playing game, a good amount of the strength and success of the game is going to come from the players at the table and we are fortunate to have many experienced role-players available via video chat to play. Having someone in the group who is an experienced role-player is a must, since Mew-Tants is so reliant on narrative and less reliant on lots of dice-rolling and character optimization.
A great thing about light RPGs is that they can be used as a means of introducing the next generation of gamers to what all the buzz is about. We wish that there maybe was a better choice of word in place of the one selected for cat charisma; while we got a good laugh out of it, we would have to rework the character sheet for play with our younger family members.
Mew-Tants definitely delivers on its promise of a light RPG where you can be a cat and use your not-so-secret super powers to do whatever it is you feel like doing. Great for a quick game with friends, Mew-Tants will scratch the roleplaying itch for experienced role-players and novices alike.
Final Score: 4 Stars – A light-hearted romp through the secret lives of cats and the secret powers they hide from their human pets.
• Some language needs replacing if you want to play with families.
• Needs someone to act as the game master.