COPYCAT is a nine-year old game (2012) from the evergreen Friedmann Friese and 2F Spiel.
It is for 2-4 players aged from 12 upwards. You can still buy it in the UK (and therefore I assume in Germany and the USA and elsewhere) for around £35.00 online in the UK.
It may be 9 years old now but it has remained a firm favourite for us and may have been missed by others - it's definitely a game to enjoy regularly. It's in the same genre as Agricola but with input from other game styles, such as Deck-Builders, hence the name 'COPYCAT'
COPYCAT is one of the most enjoyable and fun worker placement games. There are options that expand every Round - Rounds contain five Turns which are essentially playing a card from your hand (of 5 cards) and, after each player's Hand is empty, activating their effect in a game-determined order. This may be placing workers (players begin the game with 3 worker meeples), gaining Gold, gaining Cards or perhaps Purchasing a card to add to your personal deck.
Like many deck-builders, players begin with a deck of cards made of the same composition, in this case it's 3 for VPs and 7 for Gold. These get shuffled together and five are dealt to form the player's Hand. The Hand is used one card at a time and then discarded and the remaining five cards form the second hand. Any cards bought during play are added to the discard pile. When the first 10 cards (2 Hands) have been used they, and any additional cards are shuffled and a new Hand of 5 cards is drawn.
When cards are added to the deck there may be some remaining after a Hand is dealt. If there are less than five remaining the discards are shuffled and enough cards added to the remainder to form the Hand back to 5.
There are 'offices' on the board where players put their meeple workers and at the end of each Round each of these spaces is activated. Apart from cooperation games, most games have players are in competition with each other in one way or another. Sometimes there are battles (not necessarily war) sometimes it's a race, sometimes it is buildings, and sometimes there are ways within these competitions of collaberating with the other players. In COPYCAT, the placing of meeples and their usage are the closest the game gets to player interaction.
Also, like in most deck-building games, there is an element of 'wash, rinse, repeat' in COPYCAT. This gets mixed up a little by the addition of new 'offices' every Round, and the often changing type and cost of cards along the bottom row, but each Turn/Round does have a sameness.
Most board games stick to one or two mechanics so the 'sameness' is comforting in as much as this makes them easy to learn and play, it's the player's actions that cause deviations from the plod games could become if nobody put thought into their moves.
COPYCAT doesn't plod along. It flows easily and with a comfortable tempo, making it playable within (or just over) an hour with four players. I am happy to play it 3 or 4 players but am not so keen on it as a 2-player game (personal opinion/feeling that I can't really put into words, it's just not 'right' somehow).
The theme, about players being Politicians on the campaign trail, is weak and easily forgotten. We played COPYCAT the other day and none of us took the theme onboard, we simply played and enjoyed it as a fun and sometime frustrating game.
If you like deck builders and worker placement games COPYCAT melds the two classifications equally into a very playable singularity, so there really is nothing not to like. If you are into political games this is not for you.
If you like games that have:
Card play (choice of which card to play from your Hand),
Decisions (where to place meeples and what option/effect to take),
Luck (there is always an element in card games) and
Frustration (wanting to do more in your Turn than is allowed)
Then COPYCAT is definitely for you!