182 – Year of the Rat – The Family Gamers Podcast

Episode 182 - Year of the Rat
Episode 182 - Year of the Rat

Did you know that 2020 is the year of the rat (or the mouse) in the Chinese 12-year zodiac cycle?

We decide on our top 5 games featuring these rodents. Play a few with your kids to celebrate!

What We’ve Been Playing

We “gamed our faces off”:

Quacks of Quedlinburg – a reminder that there’s a lot of luck involved in drawing from the bag. We really want the expansion to allow for a fifth player.

Filler – barely fits on an airplane tray table.

Handsome – a word-building game from Button Shy that feels a little bit like Texas Hold ‘Em. Your goal: Build a word that holds the majority in 3 different “suits” (all represented by neckwear). No vowels provided!

Kingdomino Duel – a two player roll-and-write. Draft dice to create your “domino” and then write it in on your player sheet, following the usual Kingdomino style.

Draftosaurus – cute dinosaur meeples win over (nearly) everybody!

Similo – a huge hit. On this trip, we played a lot of the History set.

PARKS – beautiful and very enjoyable.

Ecos – we’re really enjoying it. To get the most out of this game, accept that you’re not going to know everything that is going on and efficiently min/max. Focus on your own abilities and how to best use them. Also, the hippos might be overpowered.

LOTS – it took a while to get to us, but we have it, and we’re really enjoying it. Both LOTS and Ecos have the players build a common structure while competing against each other for points.

The Game of Wolf – a trivia game for 4-12 people. Get a topic, then decide if you want to be a “lone wolf” or team up with a “pack”, before getting the questions. The rest of the players also answer the questions: they don’t get points, but they want to get more answers correct than the Wolf/pack.

Just One – we figured out how to play this with a kid who’s not quite reading yet. Made for a fun family time at a restaurant.

Century: Golem edition – because it’s a “grown-up” game that our 5-year-old can play.

Chicken Cha Cha Cha

Circle the Wagons – a fun entry from Button Shy. The same terrain-laying style and variable scoring as Sprawlopolis (which came later), but in a competitive 2-player drafting game.

Boom Bang Gold – throw “dynamite” into the box and watch the pieces bounce. Grab the gold!

Skulk Hollow – a fun asymmetric game for 2 players. We recommend that the “weaker” player (usually the younger player) take on the role of the Foxen. The guardians are the more difficult role to play.

Wavelength – a big hit at game nights. Play it on Twitter: @WavelengthDaily

Kenny G figurine at the end of the game board

SNAP Review – Kenny G: Keepin’ It Saxy

We review this cooperative game for 2-5 players. Get Kenny G to the end of his day without losing all of his groove. Read the transcript and see the pictures in the full review.

Top 5 Games Featuring Mice or Rats (and 5 more where rodents play a supporting role)

We ordered our list from least known to best known:

Pie Rats of the Carob Bean Farm – a light game from our friends at Wild East Games. (Wild East Games was a sponsor of the podcast in 2018.)

Mmm! – designed by Reiner Knizia and published by Pegasus Spiele. Anitra is not shy on her love for this all-ages cooperative game.

Brave Rats – from Blue Orange. A two-player-only game that’s a cross between Love Letter and War. Choose a card to play from your hand; reveal, and the higher card wins – unless a special power changes it up. First player to win three hands wins the game.

Mice & Mystics – from Plaid Hat Games. A story-driven dungeon crawl with no GM needed. A little more complex than it needs to be, but we love the theme.

Mouse Trap – published by Hasbro. Not a great game, but iconic. Better as a “activity” to build the contraption?

Mice or Rats as a “supporting character”:

Quacks of Quedlinburg – published by North Star Games, this is one of Andrew’s favorites. The rats on the board are a catch-up mechanic: count how many tails are on the scoreboard between you and the leader, then “skip” that many spaces in your cauldron for the beginning of the round.

Purrrlock Holmes Gangs

Purrrlock Holmes: Furriarty’s Trail – from IDW Games. Another of Andrew’s favorites. Deduce which gang member is assiting Furriarty before he gets away! One of the gangs is the Rats.

Simon’s Cat card game – published by Steve Jackson Games. As we stated in our review, the goal is to always be able to play a card from your hand. One of the suits is the rat.

Catch! – from Peaceable Kingdom. Another one we’ve reviewed in the past, this cooperative game is best for young children. Catch that mouse!

Rat-a-Tat Cat – from Gamewright. Very similar to CABO. Get rid of the rats in your hand. Simple, compact, with cute illustrations, it’s very popular wherever we see it.

How about You?

Do you have a favorite game that involves mice or rats?

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