original German edition
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Be the coolest cat with the most mice by bidding on and booking the hottest blues bands at your club. Use your cards to bid on new cards to create quartets that capture mice when played. When regular musicians aren't available, you can fill with joker musicians to complete groups, but use caution. Using too many jokers can cost you mice and lose you the game! A fast paced card game for family and friends.
Reiner Knizia's card game is the Cat's Meow! You are a club owner, trying to attract mice to your blues club. You know that the better the blues, the more mice you attract. The player who attracts the most mice is the winner.
Each player starts with 5 cards. Cards are turned up from the deck by the 'bandleader.' The cards have a value of 1 to 5 or a wild card. Cards are turned up until 2 cards of the same number are turned up (e.g. two twos or two fives, etc.) or a wild card is turned up. Players bid for the face-up cards with cards from their hand. Points are scored when four cards of the same value are dicarded in exchange for mice counters (e.g. four ones gets one mouse counter, four twos get two, etc.) Wild cards are used to fill in for a missing card. However, if you use too many wild cards you can get a penalty of five mice.
The bidding is great! Gameplay is quick and simple. The game is over after the 24 mice tokens are used up or the deck is exhausted.
This is a wonderful card game! Easy to learn, you can spend hours playing! If you like Hearts or Spades, buy this game! It really is the cat's meow!
Katzenjammer Blues is a close relative of Reiner Knizia's other Lamarckian Poker variant, Money!. The games are siblings, or kissing cousins, at the very least.
What we have here is a game based on the idea of improving your hand of cards by bidding some of the cards already in your hand. While Money! is somewhat processional, with blind bidding, Katzenjammer Blues is a much more wild and woolly experience. Bidding is out in the open, and feels much more like poker.
What makes the game unique is that there are very, VERY few points available for scoring. Jokers can make a high-scoring set, but can come back and bite the player who relies on them too heavily.
There is a subtlety to the play that seems to escape many players. With so few points available, one should try to get large amounts of points when possible, but waiting too long to collect points can mean that the pool of points has been drained already! Don't be too anxious to turn in sets, because it will strip your hand of cards for further bidding.
Some reviewers of these games have said that this is inferior to Money!, but I would disagree wholeheartedly with that assessment. I think the two games are the opposite sides of one very good coin. Two thumbs up.
We got Katzenjammer Blues and another Knizia card game--Money--at Christmas time, and I really like them both. While the others in my group prefer Money, I am rather intrigued by this game. As others have posted, there are similarities in the bidding aspects of the game, and even remotely in the scoring. But I think Katzenjammer Blues poses more difficult decisions, that become apparent during the first couple of playings. In my first 3-player game, for instance, I played a meld for points on the first turn, and crippled my bidding potential for several turns after. Lesson learned: don't be too eager to lay your points out early.
I think it's safe to say that there are significant differences between the two games. But Katzenjammer Blues is more challenging for me.
I recommend it for both gamers and families.
(By the way, if they had a Julie 'Catwoman' Newmar card in the game, I'd have given it 5-stars. Rrrrr-ow!!)
Now here's a funny game. It's a bidding game and it's over before you know it. Each player receives 6 cards and the object is to win as many chits as possible. There are only a fixed number of these and they go remarkably quickly. You claim them by winning an auction, and then discarding four cards of the same value. The cards themselves are ones to fives and are shown as the members of a blues band. There are also jokers, which can be substituted for any card. How do you win an auction?
Well, each round starts with the winner of the previous round dealing out one face-up card at a time until either a joker is displayed or a second card of the same value is revealed. (If a joker is revealed, then each player gets dealt another card.) This is the set of cards that everyone is bidding for. Each bid can either be a set of cards of the same value or a set of cards of different values. The lowest bid is one card, then two different cards, then two cards of the same value, then two cards of a higher value etc. None of the cards are revealed except those of the winning player. If a player drops out of the bidding, they cannot rejoin. Generally an auction only lasts 30 seconds. The winner then may discard a set of cards of the same value and receives a number of chips equal to the value of the set. If you need to use a card either in a bid or to complete a set but don't have the right one, you may substitute a joker. The downside is that the person with the most jokers used during the game or left over in your hand at the end of the game loses 5 points. This is such a large number that it is unlikely that you will win the game with this disadvantage.
And this is what we thought was the game. There seemed to be a flaw with the game because if you got a hand of jokers you may as well give up. However, the game was still pretty good. Then we found the missing rule in the middle of the rules. You could discard a set of four jokers if you won an auction. This so transformed the game that it has become a very popular game to play in our Friday evening game sessions. The game works surprisingly well with two players and well, of course, with more. Recommended.