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Whereas my gaming family and friends almost always find strategies and tactics in Zoch's children and family games, Für die Katz is one of the few exceptions, it is most definitely a game for children, however, it is a fine spectator sport for adults. Watching one blindfolded child trying to follow a route through a forest with a large walking-stick and knocking cats out of trees without removing any treetops without cats.

The game board is a forest floor with holes into which wooden tree trunks are placed. On top of each trunk is placed a treetop, these are placed face down so that any cats on them aren't seen and the players don't know where the cat treetops are. The top down view is impressive as a 3D forest.

The players then select four of the twelve circular animal tiles (the tiles are circular not the animals, there aren't any round cows etc.) and places them in the North East South West positions around the boards. The choice of animal tiles is down to which ones the players think they can make the best noises for. Most kids can Moo for a cow, Cluck for a Hen, Buzz for a Bee, Nay (neigh) for a Horse, Hoot for an Owl, Riddip for a Frog, OInk for a PIg, Woof for a Dog, Caw for a Crow, but can you make recognisable noises for a small Bird, a Goat or a Donkey? 

Once the four animals are in place, select one of the players to be the Cat Seeker (seeker of cats) and ensure they know in which animal is in which compass position. Then they put on the mask and the other players check that the mask wearer cannot see (wave hands in front of their face, make faces etc. Poking fingers in their eyes isn't a good idea).

Now the players turn over all of the treetops so that they can see where the cats are hiding. They give the Cat Seeker the Walking-stick by placing it in their hand (again poking them with it may be fun for everyone, but not for the Cat-Seeker) and have them hold it down, just off the board, telling them whether they are in the N, E, S or W position of the board.

The Cat-Seeker has to move the Walking-Stick through the forest, using it to knock treetops off their trunks. They have to knock off only the treetops with cats, leaving the plain leafy treetops still in place.

As they cannot see what they are doing they have to react to the noises made by the other players. Instead of being allowed to shout, North, East, South or West, or Left, Right, Forwards and Backwards, the players can only make the noise of the animal in the position the Walking-Stick should be moving.

Thus if you positioned the Cow to the North and the player needs to move Northwards then the players should be Mooing. Naturally this gets chaotic very soon and the players, unless under adult control (so mostly never then), will soon be making all manner of noises in the correct and incorrect places, totally confusing the poor Cat-Seeker.

After all players have been Cat-Seeker once the game ends and to be honest, by then everybody is laughing so loudly - to the point of getting sore stomachs - that nobody really cares if the cats have been rescued or not.

You can imagine adults having a really silly time with this game in so many ways once the children are in bed, or better still, staying over at Nan's for the night.


© Chris Baylis 2011-2021