Action Cats! from Twogether Studios is the cat-lover’s dream game. Never before has there been a game in which players pull out pictures of cats, explain their adorable names, and then tell each other different versions of the cats’ made-up life stories. Some may do this in real life, but Action Cats takes it to the next level with competitive storytelling and creativity.
Action Cats! consists of more than 170 cards, each featuring the picture of a cat. Some are fuzzy, some are hairless, some are goofy, some are serious, and all are gorgeous.
The backs of the cards are divided into two sections, each offering one part of a two-part statement. The statements cover in a wide range, from the cuddly (“This cat is your best friend…”) to the surreal (“This cat is a bestselling author…”), with the answering part of the statement offering numerous possibilities like “…And they just bought a two-year supply of cat food,” “…As foretold by the Prophecy,” and “…On the sofa.”
Like other card-matching party games, Action Cats follows straightforward gameplay. One player serves as the judge, drawing a card with a picture of a cat and declaring the cat’s name. The other players then lay down two cards each, assembling a quip about the cat, such as, “This cat is a world famous game designer…But they’re tired of the rat race.”
After each player presents a story, the judge chooses the best, presents the card to the winner, and the next player becomes the judge. Play continues for nine cats, and the overall winner is the one who has collected the most cat pics, just like in real life.
What sets Action Cats apart from other games is its encouraging of players to build from the cards. While Apples 2 Apples leaves a sense of vagueness from the matched adjectives, Cards Against Humanity fills in the blanks specifically, and both games have players turn in cards anonymously, Action Cats has players read their own cards as emphatically as possible.
Some words are grayed-out on the cards, allowing flexibility in word use with players replacing them if there is something more specific that fits the cat’s life story they are making up. Players may even go beyond reading the cards to give further detail, spinning a wild yarn that will be as fun to follow as it is to tell.
Action Cats! is a party game for three to six people aged nine and up. Younger players might join in as well with a little help on some of the harder words in the story sections or by just making up their own stories to play along. With only nine cats played, games are very speedy, lasting about 15 or 20 minutes. Unless, of course, players get carried away telling the cats’ backstories.