This is a guest post by AnnaMaria Jackson-Phelps
Curiosity may kill the cat, but does uncertainty? Ninth Level Games is challenging players to open the box and find out! In this completely adorable cat and science themed game, you’ll present your hypothesis and one up your opponents’ research. Schrodinger’s Cats is a bluffing game for 2-6 players that takes about ten to fifteen minutes to play. It plays best with 4 players.
Played in rounds, Schrodinger’s Cats is a bidding game where each player has a hand of cards containing a random assortment of live cats, dead cats, empty boxes, or Heisenberg uncertainty principles. Each player has a special power they can use once during the game.
The players then take turns hypothesizing (guessing) the number of cats (live, dead, or missing) based on their hand, and any cards that have been laid out. This continues until a player challenges another to prove their statement. Players are eliminated if they are proven incorrect twice, and the winner is either the last player left or makes a correct guess three times.
While on the surface this seems like a straightforward bidding game, hidden powers and a reveal-and-draw mechanic present enough twists to trip up your typical stat cruncher. Just when you think you have this cat in the bag, your opponent may use Stephen Pawking to skip their hypothesis or Albert Felinestein to discard all of their research.
The number of players lengthens an average game, but when played with six, it feels slightly overlong. I also found the two player experience to be a little too short. Four players is the sweet spot, particularly since I’m not keen on player elimination games lasting too long (no one wants to be stuck sitting around watching, right?)
The rulebook sometimes suffers from trying a little too hard to adhere to the science theme. A list of terminology used helps somewhat (experiment = round of play, etc.) but I feel like more streamlined rules would be somewhat easier to read. Fortunately the game itself is fairly straightforward so it’s not rocket science (its physics – ha!) to figure out.
What initially drew me was the theme – Schrodinger’s Cat (a thought experiment for those that don’t know) crossed with a bluffing game is a really clever pairing. I also understand that there is a Latin translated print-and-play from the Kickstarter which is brilliant! To pair with the theme, the art is hysterical in addition to the comic names like Madam Purrie and Neil Degrasse Tabby. I even dig the off-beat color palette.
For me, the sweet cream on top is that this game was designed by two women – Heather Wilson and Heather O’Neill. I had the pleasure of meeting both at PAX Unplugged and they’re just as funny and clever as their game!
Schrodinger’s Cats has become one of our go-to “waiting on the takeout” games. It’s simple to explain for new players and there’s almost no setup time. Also, its small but distinct differences from a standard bidding game offer more in the way of replay value, and the theme and art are hella-cute. If you like bluffing games or need an addition to your short games shelf, Schrodinger’s Cats is a winner!
Final Score: 4 Stars – A fun, fast, and funny game to fill some time or warm up for something larger.
• Rulebook could be more concise
• Not great at full player count
About the Author: AnnaMaria Jackson-Phelps is a game journalist living in the DC Metro area. In addition to being a tabletop enthusiast, she also plays video games and RPGs.