06 August 2021
No, it's not a spelling game!
With a head full of Exploding Kittens, this game came as a bit of a surprise. Still containing the zany but wonderful artwork of the Oatmeal creator in the Tacocat emblazoned on the front, and the various cards within, it’s recognisably an Exploding Kittens game, but it’s a little less… energetic.
Let’s explain: This is a palindrome dedicated game, rather than a spelling game. You’ll unfurl the box to create your board. There are seven indented paths to victory, and you’ll place the Tacocat in the middle. Pick your side, and try to bring tacocat towards you. This is done by the cards you’re dealt – you’ll fight to win with the highest card, adding cards in if you dare to defend, where losing this battle sees you sacrifice your lowest card, and at the end of the turn, lowest card can move the Tacocat towards them. This backwards and forwards is kind of like a palindrome – see what they did there?
So certainly, there’s no flinging burritos (Throw Throw Burrito), or flicking tiny balls through a plastic cats’ mouth (A Game of Cat & Mouth), but there is a great amount of fun to be had. Everything seems to be thought of: as you leave a space, a perfectly fitting tile slots in to prevent it from being used in future, making the board smaller and smaller and the contest tighter and tighter with each round. Your card hand changes depending on a number on the tile you land on, so depending on how well you’re doing you may have more card choice. Small changes, but notable, as suddenly the competition is balanced, victory is not certain, and that competitive nature comes roaring through.
If I were being critical, I’d perhaps say it doesn’t feel hugely Exploding Kittens vibe, and that it presents more as a spelling game (it’s not!) than a palindrome dedicated game, but removing that from the equation, it’s just a super fun, well made, super light game.
Designer: Exploding Kittens
Publisher: Exploding Kittens
Time: 15 minutes
This article originally appeared in issue 57 of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.
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