Reviewed by Jenny Bray
Catch the Mouse is a game from Jumbo Games that is aimed at children aged 3 and upwards. The box it is in is sturdy cardboard and made from 100% recycled card. The rest of the game is also made from recycled materials, which is good to know in this day and age. Inside the box is a message about the game instructions, stating that you need to download the game rules in order to save paper (3000 m² is the given detail). However, I’m not sure it actually saves anything as the likelihood is that many people will end up printing the rules off anyway, it just means that Jumbo aren’t doing it themselves.
The game itself is a relatively simple concept, with 4 plastic mice with long tails, a plastic cat paw, cardboard plate of cheese and dice. They’re a mixture of cardboard and plastic. The dice is cardboard sides with plastic edging that you make up when first putting the game together. As there are elements that are plastic I was impressed that these are also made from recycled material. I also liked that the game is made in the EU rather than mass manufactured in China or similar. It therefore means there are less air miles when delivering the game for sale.
The game states it is for 2-5 players and will take around 15 minutes to play. The cat’s paw belongs to Lightning, and the person assigned to Lightning should hold the paw at least 20 centimetres above the mice, who need to be positioned on the plate of cheese. The player who is Lightning rolls the dice in clear view of all players. If they get a cat then they can attempt to catch mice in their claw. A point is scored for every mouse caught. If a mouse is rolled then the player who is being Lightning can pretend to catch mice. If anyone playing a mouse moves then the person playing Lightning gets a point. If the player as Lightning accidentally touches a mouse when they’ve rolled a mouse then they lose a point. Each player plays five rounds as Lightning. Once each player has played a round as Lightning the points are added up and the person with the most points wins.
I have 3 children, aged 8, 7 and 4. The game appealed to them, particularly the element of catching the mice when you’re the cat. The mouse tails are flexible, which helps when arguing as to who was quickest to move. Mine do like to argue over most things, especially competitive games where someone will be declared a winner! From my point of view, the cat claw could have done with being on a slightly extended arm rather than holding the claw directly as that would have made it easier for everyone to keep hold of it when playing. Due to the competitive element when being the cat, being linked to speed and trickery rather than just being straightforward, I think this game will become a favourite in our household!
The concept of the game is straightforward and easy for all ages to understand. I love that the whole game is made of recycled materials and that it is manufactured within the EU. I’m not so keen on the rules not being included in the pack. I think they could have been printed on the box instead of all the other information. It is also marketed as being for all ages but I think older children may get bored with it quite quickly. I’d therefore recommend it for the younger age range of primary school aged children.
For the contents of the box the price tag seems a little steep, despite the eco credentials.