- Designers: Keegan Acquaotta, Scott Gratien, Jennifer Graham-Macht, Jesse Haedrich
- Publisher: Wizkids
- Players: 2-4
- Ages: 14+
- Time: 30 minutes
In Kibble Scuffle, players try to get their cats to eat the best (most valuable) food out of the three food dishes by the end of the game. Each player starts with their own deck of 20 cards. These are shuffled, and each player draws a starting hand of five cards from their deck. The box itself is the start player marker, and it’s not your usual box. In one of the corners, there is a spout actually in the box, and the 55 food cubes are placed inside the box, and they will be shaken out of said box via the spout! The three bowls are placed on the table, and four cubes are randomly shaken out onto each dish.
The game is played in alternating phases with players initially playing cards (cats) around the food bowls, and then when triggered, a feeding phase occurs where the cats will eat the food in the bowls. Each of the cards has an illustration which takes up the bulk of the card space. The title of the card and a description of that card’s ability is at the bottom. The upper right corner has space for a cube icon which tells you how many food cubes that card will eat. A few of the cards have a super faint yellow star under their food icon which tells you that they get priority when feeding.
In the feeding phase, players take turns playing cards from their hand. When a card is played, it can be placed at any of the food bowls, and then the action of the played card is resolved. This might cause another card to move to a different bowl. If this happens, the owner of that card moves the card to a different bowl AND then the action of that newly moved card resolves at its new location. This could, in turn, cause another card to move. Keep going until all the chain is fully resolved. A card may also be discarded; there may only be one cat with a Priority icon at a bowl. Another cat with Priority may not be played there (except the special action of the Queen cat).
Now, it is time to check to see if it is Feeding time. If there is a bowl which has 5 or more cats around it, then there is Feeding. Then, the next player clockwise starts the next turn by playing a card.
If there is a Feeding Phase, any bowl which has 5 or more cats around it will participate. Starting with the cat with Priority feeding, and then going to the player who holds the feeding box and then in clockwise order from there, each player can choose one of their cats at that bowl to feed. When a cat feeds, it takes a cube of choice from the bowl and then the card is placed in that player’s discard pile. The collected cubes are kept in front of the player so that all players can know the current score. Then, the next player in order who has a card at the bowl chooses one of their cards to score. This continues until all cats have left the food bowl. Then, the Feed Box is passed to the next player on the left. Check to see if another food bowl needs to be resolved. Then there is an upkeep phase where any empty food bowl is replenished with 4 random food cubes and then ALL players draw back up to 5 cards in their hand.
Game end is checked – if at least one player has 20 points of Food in front of them, the player with the most food wins. Ties broken in favor of the player with fewer food cubes.
My thoughts on the game
Well, as I have mentioned earlier this month; Wizkids has a plan in 2019 to produce a lot of games, ostensibly to find a game for every possible gamer. I can see that this well suit the crazy cat ladies out there (Sorry for outing you, Karen!), and the novelty of the spout in the box has not failed to bring a smile to anyone that I’ve shown it to.
The game itself Is a simple tactical game – look at the cards in your hand, make a play and then let the cards (cats) fall where they may. While I don’t think anyone would say that this is a deep game, there is enough room for interesting plays/chains that smart plays will be rewarded. In general, you’ll want to trigger feedings when you have priority or are near the start of turn order so that you have a better chance of getting the higher scoring food cubes.
Your decisions are fairly simple, though it is sometimes hard to see the end results of your play as you may not be able to foresee what your opponents will do if they are forced to move one of their cards. Surprisingly, for such a simple game, there is potential for a little AP at the start of a round as you have 5 different cards to look at in your hand, and then you may have to try to track the downstream actions that happen as a result of playing that card. Later in the round, as hand sizes decrease, there are fewer things to look at – though more cards at the bowls to consider. But, in the end, you try to get your cats to bowls with higher scoring cubes, and then make sure that you draw first.
Ergonomically, I wish that the cards had a slightly larger font of the action text. While the art is great to see, I would like to be able to read the actions a little better when on the table. Also, the faint yellow star which indicates priority feeding really could have been made more distinct. On more than one occasion (admittedly, in some poor light), we found that we had mistakenly allowed two Priority cats to be at the same food bowl. I fully admit that the fault is ours, as we should be checking – but, man, it would have been so much easier if the food cube on the priority cat had been bright yellow to stand out.
The game can also be made more advanced using five extra cards included in the box – either substituting for cards in the basic deck or allowing players to each design their own deck from their supply – but we have not tried this. This game has been a nice light opener, and frankly, I think it is a bit long for what it is at 20-30 minutes; and adding 5 minutes to “build” a deck would push it over that edge.
The spouted box is a nice novelty, but make sure that you carefully put the box back together so you don’t bend the interior mechanism of the spout. Admittedly, functionally, you can get the same randomization from a cloth bag; but the bag sorely loses out on the cool factor scale. For any cat-owning gamer out there, this might be a great fit, and you can rest assured that Wizkids has made at least one game for that demographic this year. For the rest of us, Kibble Scuffle is a perfectly fine filler to bring out when the crazy cat lady comes over.
Until your next appointment,
The Gaming Doctor