Quick Look: HISSY FIT
Designer: Levi Robertson, Chris Stone
Artists: Little Putin
Publisher: Stone Age Distractions
Year Published: 2023 Currently on Kickstarter (Links at bottom of review)
No. of Players: 1-4
Playing Time: 10-20 minutes
In this cooperative card game of carefully-coordinated cat coaxing, you and your partner are humans trying to get your cat into the carrier. But be careful, or this trip to the vet could turn into a trip to the emergency room!
To win, you must guide the cat along the path and into the carrier by using treats, distractions and strategies from the Human Cards. Plan your actions, dress your wounds, and build combos to thwart the cat’s defenses and steadily lead it into the carrier before time runs out.
But each turn, Cat Cards are drawn to make the cat run, hide, scratch, or have a total conniption! If the cat has three full-blown “Hissy Fits” or you suffer five scratches, the cat wins.
What jumped out to me immediately from the first game offering from Stone Age Distractions was the box cover art. Hissy Fit’s box features a cat, clearly enraged, not wanting to be stuffed into a carrier. Then, when I read the premise of the game, I was curious, to say the least. You are working solo, or with another human, to coax your cat into the carrier to visit the vet. Now, I have a cat, and have had cats, most of my life. This is never easy to do. Does Hissy Fit capture the real fear and danger associated with this terrible, but necessary, task?
Rules & Setup:
Setup takes little time. Separate the cards by back: Cat Cards (orange) & Human Cards (purple). Shuffle each and deal Human Cards to each player based on player count. Then place the remaining as a draw deck, and flip over the top three cards/ Place the Cat Cards underneath flipping the top card. Next, place the cat tracker card with the meeple on the cat facing “1.” Mix up and place facedown the three Hissy Fit Cards. Lastly, place the Hiss Tokens, red scratch cube, and 10 Calm cubes near the cards.
Rules are simple. You are working together to get that darn cat into the carrier. On a player’s turn, flip the next cat card over and resolve any effects, then take 2 actions. Action choices are Take 1 Human Card (either blind from the stack or from the 3 face up) or Play 1 Human Card and resolve effects. The same action can be taken twice, in any order. However, if the active player selects to draw twice, a third card is taken. No hand limit.
Theme and Mechanics:
The theme of trying to coax or coerce a cat into a carrier for a trip to the vet is quite unique. And specific. If you haven’t had to do this in real life, consider yourself lucky. I have had a lot of cats in my life, and none have liked going into that carrier. This artwork hammers this home. The cats on the Cat Cards perfectly captures the annoyance, fear, and hatred cats have for this.
Mechanically, the game is very sound. We played a few times. With a short playtime, why not? The flipping of the Cat Cards each turn forced you to deal with them or pay the consequences. It forced you to make tough decisions. Do you calm the cat? Or, do you heal yourself? Perhaps, you can do both. But then you are not advancing the cat toward the carrier. All worked very well cohesively.
The gameplay is simple. Deal with the cat, your scratches, or draw cards. At the start of your turn, flip over a new Cat Card and resolve its immediate effect if it has any. This could be to move the meeple back one space, advance the scratch marker, or add a hiss token. Then, look at its ongoing effect: can’t advance the cat meeple, can’t combo cards, remove calming cubes, or the same three immediate. Now, the active player can play a card from hand or draw a new card into hand. The object is to calm the Cat Card to discard it. Each card will have a number of a certain “cattitude”: angry, sneaky, stubborn. Each of the Human Cards could have matching icons. If played, place a calming cube on each of the matching icons. Once all are covered on the Cat Card, it is discarded. Once it is discarded, its effects are no longer in effect. If you, or any player can match one of the combo icons on the left side of the card, additional cards may be played. All cards, however, must be of the same combo icon: fish skeleton, wind up mouse, ball of yarn. All cards played in a combo are considered one action. A second action can then be taken. If drawing two cards into hand is done, a third bonus card is drawn. (I think this might be a little too powerful).
Play then continues clockwise. If a Hiss Token must be added, it is placed on the left most card. Once a card has three tokens, it is flipped. This is not good. Ever. A bad effect happens, the three face up Human Cards are discarded, and if it is the third and final Hiss Card to be flipped, you all lose. If not, play continues. The players win if the cat meeple reaches the carrier eleven spaces from the start. The cat wins if you receive five scratches, or if that third Hiss Card is flipped.
Artwork and Components:
I worked off a print and play, so I cannot judge the components of the final product. The art, on the other hand, I can. I loved it. The art by Little Putin puts you right in the middle of the action. Bandage and Dead Stare are two of my favorites. Those images capture the attitude of a cat not wanting to go to the vet perfectly! Much of the cards say “art in progress,” and I cannot wait to see it! Cards like Plot, Cuddle Buddy, and Judge have me curious…as a cat?
Hissy Fit has a very shallow learning curve. It is not a tough game to learn or teach. It is, however, very entertaining to play. It leads to fun conversations and planning with your team. With the randomness from the Cat Cards coming out every round, your best laid plans could go completely to waste. This does give the game a heightened replayability. The combo aspect at first did not seem that important, but once you string together a long combo and deal with two Cat Cards AND move the meeple 5 spaces, it felt good. Like you really accomplished something.
Being this accessible and cooperative also allows me to play with my kids, nieces, and nephews. All the inconography is easy to understand, too.
First, I want to address a few things about the print and play files. It would be cool if they offered a scratch marker and calm markers for cutting out, along with a simple fold-over style standee of a cat for the meeple. There is plenty of room on the last full page printed to add these. Some people might not have tokens or cubes (I don’t know who), but it also gives another chance to use the artwork paid for. Now, none of these effects the gameplay at all. This was just my inner print-n-play builder venting.
As for the game itself, you are never quite in danger of losing. At least we weren’t. We would combo like 5 or 6 cards, have none left in our hands, then deal with the next two cats with another solid combo. I wish that the game was a little harder to beat, or easier to lose. Maybe add an icon that makes you flip another Cat Card. Having more cats in play makes the round much harder.
Backing this for the $3 print and play is a no-brainer. Hissy Fit is fun, fast, easy to learn and teach, and has a fun unique theme. Cat lovers will love this game. Kids will love this game. The artwork stands out and really makes this game even more fun.
Players Who Like:
Short card games, co-op games, cats, the feel of taking the cat to vet without the actual threat of bodily injury.
Find out more at BGG.
Do you find that you’re missing too many reviews as we drop them? Provide your name and email below and we’ll keep you in the know of what we reviewed that week as well as other hot news!!!!!
Adam Collins – Reviewer
Adam Collins plays many games. Too many games if you ask his wife. Not enough games if you ask his kids. Adam also designs games for his publishing company Bearded Board Games. He also runs a podcast, Eat Lunch and Board Game, where he reviews games on their merits include their ability to be played over a lunch hour. He also interviews other people involved in various facets of the board gaming community: designers, podcasters, authors, cross stitch designers. He grew up playing games, revived the passion ten years ago, and hasn’t turned back.