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Katzenjammer Blues
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Store:  Family Games, Card Games
Edition:  Katzenjammer Blues
Theme:  Cat / Kitten, Music
Genre:  Auction & Bidding
Format:  Card Games

Katzenjammer Blues

English language edition

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Ages Play Time Players
10+ 20-30 minutes 2-6

Designer(s): Reiner Knizia

Publisher(s): Rio Grande Games, Goldsieber

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Product Description

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.

Product Information

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 3.5 in 8 reviews

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by Fred
Just Awful
August 30, 2001

I'll start out by saying I own a bunch of Knizia games, and many of them are just superb.

This one, however, is an exception to the rule. It's dirt cheap, it takes up no space in your collection, and the pieces are of pretty good quality (though 50% of the nice mouse drawing gets left behind when you cut out the chip--too bad for the artist's effort). But you would almost spend as much energy getting together with friends to take guesses on coin flips. And if you play it with (for example) 4 players, once a player hands in a set of 5's and stays clear of jokers, he's won. Where's the fun in that? Maybe for kids under 5 years of age--otherwise, 1 star. I just don't see the re-playability.

Not exactly the cat's meow
June 28, 2001

This game is easy to catch on to and is a reasonably quick little bidding game. The art on the cards is cartoonish, but the colors used in the art are lush and lend the game good atmosphere (such as it is). My main problem with this game is that it is far too similar to another Knizia filler: Money!. Trying to capture mice is a cute idea but I find the deck has too many jokers in it and the game just feels a bit flat. Money! tends to have closer finishes and sneakier player-to-player interaction (withholding triplets etc.). Katzenjammer Blues seems to lack that interaction.

Since I played Money! first, I think that I tend to like it better. Perhaps if I'd played Katzenjammer Blues first, I would have liked it better than Money!, but with 2 games so similar it seems like a waste to have published them both. I recognize some will prefer Katzenjammer Blues over Money!, and that doesn't bother me. My main point is that the 2 games are altogether too similar. I would give this 2.5 stars if I could because 2 seems a bit low, but Katzenjammer Blues just feels flat to me and I am not keen to play it. Since I gave Money! 3 stars, it'll have to be 2 for this one. (Which makes me realize that I rated Samarkand too low.)

Evolution as card game
June 28, 2001

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.

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