Actual Play – A New House in Santa Rosa (1/30/2011)

GM: Sean Nittner
Player: My kids
System: Cat

The kiddos have been asking me to pick back up Mouseguard for a while, but Jessie wasn’t home and I didn’t want to jump back in without her mouse. We almost grabbed Happy Birthday Robot! but since my littles have been so obsessed with Warrior Cats of late I figured it was time to pull out Cat and give it a spin.

One fun fact I found out moving and unpacking all my books: although I’ve never played it before I own two copies of Cat. Umm… you’re welcome John.

So, I cracked open the book and started reading the introductory story to the kids, who all thought it was very awesome, AND both of them got the joke at the end.

After that we made two cats, Leaf and Rosie, also known as the  Pouncer and Tree Climber.

We started the game with a few questions to find out where Leaf and Rosie came from and what they were just about to do.

As it turns out a couple Dottie and Pickle just purchased Leaf at the store and brought her back to their home in the woods when Leaf just magically appeared (she is “best” in tail after all) and now they were a family. A bear attacked their house though, so Dottie and Pickle decided to move to Santa Rosa. They packed up the Toyota and a trailer hitched to the back and headed out to their new home…

And play begins…

Rosie likes car rides but Leaf doesn’t so she kept interrupting. Luckily Pickle is a total push over so when Leaf started scratching the window he pulled over to let her stretch her legs and hopefully pee. Dottie was on the phone with her mom and Pickle was checking the trailer so none of them saw Leaf and Rosie exploring the rest stop. There they met ruffles Yorkshire Terrier that was curious about the cats.

Another swipe of her tail and Leaf was magically back in the car but Rosie stuck around to meet Ruffles. She puffed up her chest and told him not to come sniffing her and thanks to her impressive coat he backed off but was very curious about where she was from and where she was going. As cats do she got bored and decided it was more fun to sneak back in the car.

The downside of all this sneaking and magic was that Pickle was quite confused and was waiting outside for the cats. They tried meowing to get his attention but weren’t loud enough, so Rosie leapt up on Dottie’s lap and pushed down the automatic window, allowing Leaf to summon Pickle over and get back on the road.

The two legs stopped again for gas, where the cats smelled a skunk in the distance but decided they didn’t want to talk to it.

When they arrived at the new home in Santa Rosa it was late and Pickle and Dottie were both exhausted from the drive. As Pickle unlocked the front door though, Rosie smelled something very wrong inside. She knew what it was… Boggins! With some quick team work, Leaf jumped on Pickle to get his attention and Rosie went into scout out the new place. There hanging from the light switch was a strange bat with teeth at every joint in its wings. The thing hissed and told Rosie he was Mr. Light Switch. She tried to leap up and knock it off the light switch but it fluttered away.

Leaf however, isn’t known as the pouncer for nothing! From in Pickle’s arms she leaps out (which he doesn’t understand at all) and catches the thing mid-air bringing it down to the ground. For a while they try to bite it but the bat thing keeps shocking them and even gives Rosie a few scars from its wicked teeth. Finally, while Leaf had it locked in a grapple Rosie got a shoe, an old heavy shoe with a hard soul that Pickle was going to carry in and flung it from her maw (discus style) at Mr. Light Switch, killing him dead and leaving a black stain on the carpet just under the light switch where he faded away.

The boggins in the rest of the house retreated a little further into their corners.  The new cats had arrived!

What rocked

Picking up the game was easy. We pretty much read the rules for character creation and how to roll dice and started.
My kids do some awesome cat stuff.

It was fun to start with no prep and just see how the kids would handle the simple premise of “moving to a new house”
Backstory questions worked really well to give us a picture of who the cats were and what kind of cats they were. Rosie was in a kitty store and knew about store things… Leaf was from the forest and knew about nature, etc.

My kids were able to both create their characters and fill out their catsheets. For eight, and especially five, that is very cool.

What could have improved

There was a strong tendency to use magic to disappear from any encounter before it even started. Which is fine cat behavior but leads me to believe we need some more compelling motivations.

Creating reputations took a little too long, so we just wrote down one for now and will do more later.

I could not find an online copy of the catsheet (character sheet) anywhere. I googled for about 20 minutes and eventually stumbled upon the whole damn game. Apparently it has been torrented all over the place (sorry John). A copy of the catsheet really needs to get online.