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Katzenjammer Blues
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Store:  Card Games, Family Games
Edition:  Katzenjammer Blues
Theme:  Music, Cat / Kitten
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

Manufacturer(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

  • Designer(s): Reiner Knizia

  • Manufacturer(s): Rio Grande Games, Goldsieber

  • Year: 1998

  • Players: 2 - 6

  • Time: 20 - 30 minutes

  • Ages: 10 and up

  • Weight: 190 grams

  • Language Requirements: This is an international edition or domestic edition of an imported item. Game components are language-independent. Manufacturer's rules are printed in English.

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 3.5 in 8 reviews

by Mike
Katzenjammer Blues is the Cat's Meow!
January 29, 1999

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!

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.

A better than average bidding game.
January 26, 2001

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!!)

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