Have you ever met someone famous before? Like, someone who made something great? Or someone who did a great performance? This could be an actor, an athlete, a CEO of a big company, or maybe even an inventor. (Do people still invent things for their job anymore?) Sometimes meeting these people can mean a whole lot and can help us appreciate what they have done knowing more of how they are or what their story might be. Well, like many of you, this happened to me. I met Scott Brady, an aspiring board game designer who you get to hear from often here on SAHM Reviews. Maybe not as often as previously, as it seems like he is busy with his designs coming out, but we still get to read his words every so often.
I first met Scott Brady in person at one of my favorite board game conventions, Geekway to the West in St. Louis. But I talked with him most recently at Great Plains Game Festival in Lincoln Nebraska. There we played one of his prototypes which I’m sure will become a published game soon, but then he also taught me how to play his cat-themed game, boop.
If you’ve never been taught how to play a board game by the designer themself, it’s such a treat. Strangely enough, Curt Covert from Smirk and Dagger (who publishes boop.), first taught me his game, Cutthroat Caverns at Geekway one year. And that experience has really impressed me. I got a different feel, a special experience for a game. You get to know more about the game when the designer is there teaching it. Another example I’ve had was playing Bloodstones online with Martin Wallace. That was also such a treat.
Scott taught me and my family how to play boop., but he also had news that there was going to be a spooky, or spoopy version of the game, BOOoop. So it was great to see the game coming out with special themes, (which I think will continue with some other standalone versions of boop.). Once he started teaching, I knew this game was going to give me a better experience with it than other board games I learn or play on my own. I’m sure many people would agree with that.
On to the game, boop. Right when you open that box you see the quilt that just makes this game feel even more cozy. You lift it up to see the cute cat and kitten meeples. Then, the game takes 10 seconds to setup, you flip the box over, place the quilt on top, each player takes their color of kittens and cats. Each player starts with their eight kittens, and leave their cats in the reserve to gain sometime throughout the game.
Players are taking turns placing their pieces on the bed in any open space, trying to line up their kittens to be placed 3 in a row. Doing so will upgrade those kittens into cats. To win the game, after upgrading some of their kittens, they need to line up 3 of their cats. But it isn’t as simple as you might think because kittens and cats will be “booping” others, including your own out of the way.
When you place a kitten down, each kitten sitting adjacent, including diagonal, gets “booped” and moves one space away in the direction related to it and the newly added kitten. Kittens can be booped off the bed and are returned to the owner’s supply. So lining up 3 kittens (or cats) can be hard because when you place one you move your own out of the way as well, so you almost need to boop a kitten into line to do this. As you play the game you will figure out some tricks for doing this.
When 3 kittens are lined up in a line after all the booping is done, that player takes all 3 off the bed, replaces all of them with cats and adds them to their active supply to use on future turns. Each player will always have eight pieces at all times. That’s a combination of kittens and cats in their supply and on the board.
Cats are special as they can boop kittens and other cats. While kittens cannot boop them, only other kittens from either player. As a player keeps upgrading their kittens to cats, whenever they are able to either get 3 cats in a line, or what Ev always tries to do, if they are able to get all 8 pieces on the bed, that player wins.
This is a game where players can be clever with their choices and placement of kittens or cats. Like the classic tic tac toe, you are trying to setup your own pieces but also you have to keep an eye on your opponent’s pieces as you can disrupt what they are trying to do. Which leads to booping their pieces off the bed, which is almost always a good idea. Plus, it’s just fun.
I first taught boop. to Em and she picked up the concept fairly quick. I had to at times make sure she understood that she not only booped my pieces but her own as well. She then figured out if two of her pieces were together, they couldn’t be booped, and it helped her setup to upgrade her kittens into cats. Ev is 6, and had a harder time figuring out what was going on, but he just loved booping pieces off the bed, as he would do his evil laugh when doing it each time. With time his only strategy ended up being trying to get all of his kittens on the bed without upgrading to cats.
I appreciate the time Scott Brady took to teach me and my family this cute, solid, 2-player only, abstract strategy game. Think this is the purr-fect game to add to your entertainment queue? Ask about it at your local game store, get it direct from Smirk & Dagger or order online through Amazon. If you want to be among the first to hear about upcoming boop-related releases or other games from Smirk & Dagger, follow them on Facebook and Instagram!
Have you be taught a board game by the designer? If so, what game and who designed it? If not, what game designer would you want to teach you their game?