You like cute pictures of kittens, right? Kittens in funny glasses? Also, card games?
What if I told you something combined these things into one little box? I know, right? And I know what you’re thinking: Really? They did that? You Gotta Be Kitten Me.
How It Plays
First things first: you’ve got kittens, see? That’s the thing.
These kittens are wearing sunglasses, hats, and bowties, because why not?
So it’s your turn. You look at your hand of five cards. Count the colors, count the different items, make a bid.
Eight hats, you say. Sure, you only have 3 in your hand, but with five other players the odds are pretty solid that the count is there.
Ten hats, says Joe.
Fourteen blue, Sam makes her claim.
The bid bumps its way up as it rolls around the table. Just before you, Amanda calls out: Nineteen bowties.
Now back to you. Are there nineteen bowties at the table? Could be. Maybe not, though. You could challenge it, and everyone reveals their hands to count ’em up. If you’re wrong, you lose a card; correct, and Amanda takes the hit instead.
You gotta be kitten me! You cry out. Cards on the table, count ’em up – 18 bowties. Ha! But wait, you forgot: a card from the deck flips up. This one just happens to add two more bowties. The group shrieks, Amanda cheers, and everyone gets new cards – only you just get 4 cards now, instead of five.
Game ends when everyone’s run out of cards except one player.
A variant is included for experienced players where, in addition to raising the bid or challenging, you can also call “purrfect” if you think the last bid was exactly correct.
Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire?
If you’re familiar with the game Liar’s Dice, popularized by a certain well-known movie involving Pirates fancy-footin’ their way around the Caribbean, the structure of this game should seem pretty familiar to you. It’s sort of an odd mix of bluffing, bidding, and guessing. And in this case, many, many kittens.
Liar’s Di… I mean, You Gotta Be Kitten Me might not seem that appealing outside of a certain crowd – you know, the crowd that really likes kittens. When I first introduced the game to my group, I found myself on the receiving end of more groans than grins, and to be honest I wasn’t exactly sure I’d get out of the experience myself. The neon colors and cutesy icons don’t exactly sell the concept to most people.
But I’m glad I followed through, because You Gotta Be Kitten Me (hereafter referred to as YGBKM) ended up being completely ridiculous and completely fun, especially because of all the adorable silliness.
More of a party game than anything else, YGBKM is trickier than it at first seems, especially when you’ve got a full group. You think you’re getting into a preposterous level of bids, and then someone calls it and it turns out that, yeah, there were actually 29 sunglasses. It’s especially hilarious when the card from the top of the deck just manages to tip the scale. Actually, it goes both ways – the person waiting to find out if their bid was legit can dwell in suffering or in glory just as much as the one who calls it out when that last card is turned over.
You can’t take it too seriously, namely because you’re holding a hand filled with neon-accessorized kittens. That, and it’s basically a guessing game. You have some information, but not nearly enough to know anything for sure. You can base your guesses on other players own bids – if someone bids way up on your guess, they probably have a few in hand – but on the other hand, they might be bluffing. You might do the same, but you still don’t know what the other players have. I’m probably overthinking this. Kittens.
The level of deception is minimal, so it shouldn’t really turn off players who avoid the sort of hidden-role games or other games that are heavy on the bluff element – but it’s enough to add value to the gameplay.
Ultimately, the toughest choice is when to call and when to raise the bid. Since no one has all the information, no one can control the table. It’s all just lucky guesses, and again if you dwell in that spirit you can have a lot of fun. You can laugh at your failed calls as well as anyone else’s, you can cry foul at the deck when it betrays you. And. I mean. Kittens.
The deck includes a nice mix of cards to keep you on your toes. Many cards have two or even three items on them – generally all the same color and type of object – so the numbers really can go pretty high, even with a small number of players. Wild cards and Double Wilds ensure that there can be a lot of any color and item in the same hand. And invaluable Skips can let a player sit back to let the bid pass, keeping them safe from going to high or calling a legit bid.
Make sure to enforce the rule that people must say “You gotta be kitten me!” to challenge someone. It makes the whole experience that much better.
Hehe. Look at those cute little kittens all piled on top of each other.
The one thing I don’t love about this game: the player elimination. It’s a little bit less fun to not be involved when your cards run out. Okay, it is still kind of fun to watch, but I’m one who’d rather play than watch just about anything. Although it does seem hand sizes tend to dwindle fairly evenly, you probably won’t have eliminations til closer to the end unless people are playing foolishly, but it’s not impossible. Bad luck could put one player constantly at the fulcrum point where if they challenge, the bid is still good, but if they raise it goes over the limit.
I’d say this does make a good game night closer; eliminated players can simply leave when they’re bored.
I also would play a house-ruled version where the game ends after the first player is eliminated, which would cut down the game time and remove any problem with player elimination. The winner would be the player with the most cards in hand, with a quick tie-breaker round or two between any tied players.
So. All in all, the player elimination is not really that big a deal.
The game takes about half an hour, which isn’t too bad. The clumsiest part is that you have to re-shuffle after every round – at least in Liar’s Dice, it’s quick and easy to re-roll your dice pool. The shuffle and re-deal does slow the game down, but it’s not all that bad. I haven’t played with 10 players, the full player count, but each player adds a little time to the game as well. 10 might be a little much – that’s a lot of extra cards to dwindle down, in addition to the number of bids to go through each round. It’s not going to go on for hours, but it might push the limit a little.
‘Course you could once again use that house-rule where the first elimination ends the game. That would save on time.
You Gotta Be Kitten Me is blatantly absurd. It’s an extremely simple game that’s easy to learn and impossible to master. But it’s also hilarious and entertaining and filled with soft pets, so somehow it makes it out the other end of game night as a success. Bring it to parties. Bring it to family gatherings. Just make sure not to take things too seriously. And if someone tries, just look at them and say one thing:
iSlaytheDragon would like to thank Stone Blade Entertainment for providing a review copy of You Gotta Be Kitten Me. And also for the box of kittens that came along with it. Seriously. Actually no, just kidding. I mean, just kitten.