Under The Microscope – Rat-A-Tat Cat

This time Rat-A-Tat Cat is under the microscope.

Designed by Ann and Monty Stambler
Published by Gamewright

This is a quick family game that reinforces addition and subtraction where the lowest score wins.

What You Get:
A deck of 54 cards made up of cat and rat cards with various point values or powers
A rules sheet
All in a tuck box

How Do You Play:
Shuffle all the cards. Deal four cards face down to each player. Do not look at the faces. Place the remainder of the deck in the middle of the play area as the draw pile. Turn over the top card of the draw pile to start the discard pile.
Without looking at your cards, put them in a face down row. So now each player has a row of four face down cards in front of him.
Each player now looks at the outer two cards in his row only. Note the point values and remember them. This is important later in the game.
Now the first player takes his turn by:
– drawing the top card on the discard pile and using it to replace one of the cards in his row. The replaced card is then discarded.
– draw the top card from the draw pile. You have options in using this card. You may
-replace one card in your row
-use the power if it is a power card
-discard it
Play continues until one player thinks he has the lowest score and can win. He then taps on the table and says ‘rat-a-tat cat’. Everyone else has one more turn then all cards are revealed. Power cards are replaced from the discard pile. Each player then adds up his points. This completes one round. If playing multiple rounds, shuffle the cards, pick a new dealer, and begin again.
Power Cards
There are three types of power cards in the game. Swap cards allow you to swap any one of your cards with one from another player’s row, without looking at either card. Draw 2 cards allow you to take two more turns. On the first of these you must draw a card from the discard pile. You can use this card but you forfeit the second turn. Otherwise discard this card and draw another one from the discard pile. Use this one or discard it. The second turn is now over. The last power card is the Peek card. It allows you to look at any one of your cards. When power cards are drawn, you must show it to the other players to use it. Power cards are discarded once used.
At the end of the game, the person with the lowest score wins.

What I Think:
This is a pretty fun little game. It can drag if you don’t set a round limit. It encourages children’s adding and subtracting skills in a stealthy kind of way. It is a good game for families with younger children.  It’s home on the web is here and the BGG site is here.

Microscope Rating: