Catch The Moon (2018)
Let’s start by saying that dexterity games are not my bag, baby. Although I do own one, that I got as a christmas present many moons ago. Wobbally is it’s name and I find it amusing because it’s a tower constructed from coloured marbles. And like Jenga, you’ll need to remove one every turn, without knocking the tower over. I have adapted the rules from the different variations that came with the base game to create my own fun version. But, all in all, I don’t hold dexterity games with any great esteem. I prefer to use the muscles in my brain than the muscles in my finger tips.
So why am I reviewing a dexterity game?
Well, number 1) I have demoed this game a lot for Bombyx and have found it fun to teach and also amazing to see the smiles and strange structures created. And 2) I do find it an interesting and elegant little challenge.
The story for the game (yes, this is a dexterity game with a story) is that the moon is feeling sad and lonely. And you, the players, want to cheer him up by paying him a visit. The only way to do that is to stack up all the ladders you can find and climb on up, without knocking any ladders over. Doing so will cause the moon to cry. A sweet, poetic story. Cute and adorable for families, but also serves to explain a little bit about the rules.
Players are going to take turns rolling a die and then add a ladder to the existing pile of ladders. The die will dictate the restrictions to how you add your ladder. It may be allowed to touch only one other ladder, or maybe two. Then again, it may have to be the highest ladder in the structure. If after letting go of your ladder, if it falls or others fall or the ladder breaks the restrictions of the die, you make the moon cry. Boo-Hoo! By doing this, you’ll collect one of the seven wooden teardrops that act as points and timer for the game. The game will end when a player takes that final teardrop and they will also be eliminated from final scoring for making the moon very, very sad. Whaa-Haa! The remain player with the least amount of tears wins the game.
Simple rules that make for a quick explanation and then your friends at the coffee table can jump straight in and play. With its small box it makes it very transportable and great for taking on holidays or just round a friend's house. The box insert can even host the game It suggests that you remove the gamebase from the box and place the ladders inside the insert. But equally you could leave everything in the base and place the ladders in the lid.
Another thing that makes this game stand out is the fact that you can manipulate the other ladders by using your “chosen at random” ladder. Wiggling it into place. Tipping another stack of ladders one way, so that you can touch two ladders instead of three. But if something falls or touches the the table or the cloudbase, you end your turn and collect a tear. Before the next play continues to enlarge the structure. Yes, even if you know most of the ladders over, play continues as does the construction on the remains for your carnage. Keeping the game fluide and interesting. And then it comes down to that last tear, which is the game changer. Do you place your ladder in a simple fashion, or tempt fate...
It also has an elegant look to it. From the fluffy looking cloudbase that you stack the Salvador Dali style ladders, to the cloudbase itself. Which has various holes that you can place the starting ladders in to, therefore making the difficulty level for the start player a little bit more interesting, instead of giving them free reign of a simple placement. It is these ladders which are the key element to the strategy of the game. Admittedly, on my first game, I stacked the ladders in a very simple fashion. And totally missed the intricacies of sliding ladders in between other ladders or hooking them in such a way that created beautiful sculptures. Pictured in the last page of the Rulebook are examples of these beautiful types of combination of ladders and how to hook them together. This one page opened up the game to me.
The game is all about being careful and gracefully placing your ladders. Tempting fate and forcing players to use your previously placed ladder, which is not stable is amusing and satisfying when at least one ladder falls. Plus having a good idea about balance and gravity will help out play your opponents. And that's about it. A very simple dexterity game that has an underlying strategy and has a dreamlike elegance. After playing you may feel the urge to replay. That's one of the bonuses of a quick playing dexterity game I like this. As well as being a good physical dexterity game it is also a cerebral aesthetic game. The only thing missing is a larger version which you can place in your garden come the summertime and a few little variants, that will turn it into my favourite dexterity game.
Barry Doublet &