Let's take a look at How to RPG with Your Cat, OddFish Games' role-playing game for cats that recently arrived on Kickstarter.
Yes, you got it right: How to RPG with Your Cat it is not a cat roleplay, but a roleplay game for cats.
So yes, we are facing a title that should be played by cats. Or, better said, by you together with your cat.
Genius? Folly? Are we talking about something even remotely possible?
Well, the OddFish Games team thought they wanted to face this challenge. After all, the folks at OddFish Games are not new to RPGs based on at least particular concepts. Their other two projects launched on Kickstarter, in fact, are Cooking with Dice, where you role-play by cooking for real, and Adventure Scents, that is themed smells and perfumes (some are "dragon cave", "battlefield" and "magician's tower") to be used during RPG sessions.
Given these projects, a cat role-playing game doesn't seem all that strange.
So let's see what it consists of How to RPG with Your Cat, how its crowfunding is going and how the pledges are divided on Kickstarter.
You will find the Kickstarter of the game HERE.
How to play a How to RPG with Your Cat?
Understanding how it works How to RPG with Your Cat it's not exactly immediate, looking at the Kickstarter page.
In fact, the explanations on the rules are really kept to a minimum, so you have to watch the videos of the sessions to get a better idea of the actual rules.
Either way, how this title works would seem simple enough. Also because it does not invent a real new game system, but merely builds on that of D&D or, in any case, of a traditional d20system. Let's see better what it is.
The reactions of cats instead of dice rolls
Basically, we are facing a role-playing game that replaces the dice rolls with the reazions of cats to stimuli.
In fact, whenever there is uncertainty about the result of the action and, therefore, in a d20system you should roll a d20, you will have to interact with your cat, presenting it with a stimulus. The stimuli change according to the type of shot (initiative, attack, skill rolls, saving throws, etc.) we are making.
You will then have to compare the cat's reaction with a series of possible reactions written in a table. Depending on the score associated with each reaction on this table, it will be understood whether the cat passed the test or not.
In general, it seems that a success always consists of one affected reaction and partaker of the cat. Conversely, a failure occurs when the cat does not interact and ignore the stimulus.
Finally, it is good to remember that the reactions of cats only replace the dice rolls of their characters. Any other enemy or character played by a human will use the classic dice rolls.
Examples of cat stimuli and reactions
For example, to do a stunt shot, you have to put a blanket on the cat, and see its reaction. If the cat gets up and walks away before the blanket touches it, it will have successfully passed the test.
Instead, instead of a hit roll, a string or ribbon should be waved in front of the cat. If the cat will play with it, biting it with gusto, the test will have been passed.
Or, to make a perception roll, you will need to open (out of the cat's field of vision!) A can or bag of food. If the cat pricks up its ears and comes to investigate, you will have passed the test.
Or, to make a survival roll, you will have to throw a toy at the cat. If the animal plays with it, it will have passed the test; but, if he ignores it, he will have failed.
Finally, to take initiative, you have to stick a small piece of scotch tape to the cat's paw. Depending on how quickly the cat gets rid of the annoyance, it will determine how quickly it will act.
Who and what will a cat play?
But what are these shots for? Well, in How to RPG with Your Cat cats are not just an alternative to nuts, but theoretically they should control a character. In this sense, the game can be used in a quite varied way.
Indeed, it could playing alone with your cat, creating a character based on him and following his adventures. To do this, you can follow the adventures proposed in the Kickstarter or invent your own personal story. In this sense, we would be faced with an experience not too dissimilar to that of a game book in which dice rolls are foreseen, which however are replaced by the reactions of cats.
Alternatively, you can play together with other people, with each human playing with their cat. Thus, you can create a party of adventurers "controlled" by their respective cats.
If, on the other hand, you want to play together with other humans, but with your cat as a special guest or NPC inside the adventure, How to RPG with Your Cat suggests using your own system to substitute the cat's reactions to the NPC's die rolls.
In that sense, if you wanted to let the cat interpret the tiger animal companion of the Druid, you can replace the shots of the tiger with the reactions of the cat. Alternatively, the cat could "control" an enemy (a griffin, a catfolk, a terrasque), substituting one's reactions to his dice rolls.
What materials is the game made of?
How to RPG with Your Cat it is meant to be compatible with d20systems, so we don't have to expect a totally new game system. Ultimately, it is literally about D&D/Pathfinder, but with the reactions of the cats instead of the dice rolls.
Therefore, the game will have a single manual, which contains the rules for creating the cat character, the rules for passing the tests, the rules on cat stimulation and how to integrate the game with other existing systems. Furthermore, on the OddFish Games site some are also available themed adventures.
The other contents offered on Kickstarter are gadgets not essential to the game. They range from a gift bag to themed dice throwers, to handmade cat armor.
How is the Kickstarter doing How to RPG with Your Cat?
How to RPG with Your Cat surpassed its € 2.565 target, currently raising over €5.800 thanks to the support of 206 users. Crowdfunding it will end on Thursday 14 October.
On the front of stretch goalsAt the moment, cat stickers and confetti have been unlocked, as well as a poster and digital reference cards for the classes.
This Kickstarter has a remarkable variety of pledge. In fact, they range from € 13 for the digital manual and € 26 for the physical manual, to pledges over € 100. With € 129 you will also have an online game session with your friends, your cat and the creators of the game, for example. But going up to € 214 you can have the cat-like dice thrower, while with € 300 you will also have the cat armor. At the moment, higher pledges have not been backed by anyone, with the exception of the $ 343 sold out one which included armor from Meowcromancer.
Two final words on How to RPG with Your Cat
How to RPG with Your Cat is a game on which it's hard to form an opinion without playing it. In fact, from the Kickstarter not much is evident, and much of the more technical information about the game comes from the recorded game sessions.
Of course, the idea of playing with our cats is very nice and certainly a cat lady like me is very tempted. In short, in the end it could be a fun game.
However, I believe that other factors must also be taken into account.
The attitude of the cat is fundamental
First of all, to ensure that How to RPG with Your Cat functions you must have a cat that likes to interact with its human. Furthermore, it is essential that the cat has an interest in interacting with the human, and that it is not bothered by our stimuli. In this sense, the proof of the tape attached to the paws does not convince me very much: I realize that it is harmless, but I do not really appreciate the free treats to their cats.
If we have a little cat antisocial, getting him involved in this game would just be a nuisance. For example, my Ottina, who is a rather reserved girl, would probably only lend herself to rehearsals with tape and pets. Certainly, Ottina would never have scotch stick on a paw.
If we have a cat instead lazy, he would almost certainly fail all shots. My Macarone, to say, who is a bit of a dumb and very sleepy cat, would probably just stare at most of the stimuli, without reacting, thus failing the tests. At best, it would be very good at perceiving.
How long can we play?
The second thing to be aware of is how long we could play a How to RPG with Your Cat. In fact, it is by no means certain that our cats will be in the mood to play with us for more than one evening, or in any case when we want to organize a session (maybe even with our friends).
In this sense, playing a mini-campaign with your cat will depend a lot on the cat's mood. Then I speak of mini-campaign because, for this very reason, I find it difficult to start a long campaign with the cat as a regular player of a PC.
Personally, I believe that How to RPG with Your Cat it could perform better and over longer periods of time if our cat did not control a player character, but rather an animal companion, a familiar, or an enemy. In this way, it would be easier to meet the animal's mood and involve him in the game without bothering him.
So, when our cat jumps on the table during the session, stepping on our precious miniatures, we could simply decide to exploit his desire for attention to make him "roll the dice" instead of the monster.
A small final judgment
In short, I believe that How to RPG with Your Cat is a product with nice ideas, and that surely tickles my cat lady nature.
However, I also think that it will be a product that we could never use as much as another d20system and that, therefore, will always be a optional extra. Let's understand: a nice optional extra and potentially a lot of fun, but still an extra.
But if you have a cat that seeks attention during the session, How to RPG with Your Cat it's definitely a good way to get him involved and entertained.
It could also be very nice to integrate the rules of this title with those of role-playing games that have animals as protagonists, as in the case, for example, of History.