Too Many Games isn’t just about video games and retro games. In fact, sometimes the best fun at the convention is playing all the physical games. Table top games including board games, card games, trading card games, traditional role-playing games, and more make up a large portion of the show. We had a blast playing ApocalypZe and Battle of the Electric Vikings last year, so we were on the lookout for more exciting, new physical games. But how can a small card game maker stand out in a sea of Pokemon, Super Mario art, and video games? Easy. Use cats…and physics? Well, that’s exactly what Ninth Level Games did with their latest game: Schrödinger’s Cats.
Schrödinger’s Cats, Ninth Level Games’ latest game, offers up feline physics thought experiments in card game format. For those unfamiliar with the actual Schrödinger’s Cat theory, the basic rundown is this…
- Put cat in box with a radioactive particle, which can change states.
- Let cat sit for a while. If particle changes, it will kill the cat.
- So, what state is the particle in and is the cat alive or dead?
- There’s no way to know without looking, is there?
- The cat must be considered both alive and dead at the same time until you verify the cat’s state.
- Therefore, an object is in a state of uncertainty until it is observed in the universe.
Whoa, heavy stuff, am I right? Ninth Level made a game about THAT. And you know what? It was awesome.
The concept is simple. Each player gets their cards depicting the inside of the box from the experiment. Each card has a cat that is either alive or dead, an empty box, or the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, which stands in as a wild card that can become anything. Players take turns hypothesizing the number and state of the cards amongst all players hands. For instance, if there are 9 cards between 3 players, a player can hypothesize that there are 4 alive cats or 2 empty boxes. The trick is that as play continues, each player must increase the hypothesis. In the previous case, the next player would have to increase the count to either 5 alive or dead cats. The game comes with a handy tracker to keep tabs on what the current hypothesis is and what players can hypothesize next. The catch is that play quickly reaches the point where hypotheses become unrealistic, at which point any player can call B.S., Bad Science. In this case, all players reveal their hands. If the player’s hypothesis doesn’t match, they are eliminated and new hands are drawn so that play can continue with the remaining scientists.
As an added element of strategy, each player also receives a special game changing card called Cat Physicists. Each card is based on a famous real life scientist, such as Neil deGrasse Tabby or Albert Felinestein. These special cards have unique abilities that can be real game changers if used correctly. For example, in our test run I made a crazy prediction that all the cards in players hands were alive cats. Rich called me for Bad Science. I would have lost if I didn’t have a cat physicist that adds two alive cats to the scenario.
That’s when the game really shines — when hypotheses are reaching the point of absurdity and you know that something has to give. The game has a nice balance of strategy and absurdity with a healthy dose of cats and science puns mixed in. This all comes together to make a wonderfully quick and entertaining game. It’s obvious that Kickstarter backers think so as well, as 9th Level Games revealed that they successfully funded their project and will be releasing sometime this fall. It seems that the internet still has an inherent love of all things cats and puns.
If you’re interested in checking out more about 9th Level Games, their products, and Schrödinger’s Cats, check out their website. Schrödinger’s Cats is available for pre-order right now.