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Takenoko and Mind MGMT maker’s new board game follows tiny cats in a bustling Japanese city

A night meow-t on the town.

Box art for Kyoto no Neko board game
Image credit: Jérémie Fleury/Matagot

Kyoto no Neko is a new competitive board game from the publisher responsible for Takenoko and Mind MGMT, and it give players the true gift of living the life of a cat roaming the streets of Kyoto.

Designed by Cédric Millet and illustrated by Jérémie Fleury, Kyoto no Neko supports two to four feline travellers who will gradually uncover bits of Kyoto’s unique architecture and culture as seen from the vantage point of a stray cat. Over the course of their life, the player-cats will hunt down interesting bugs, the best spots to snag a free meal and humans that are either sympathetic or critical of your kind.

Gameplay surrounds a series of missions that form an independent scenario - each player will wortk through their own using the natural grace and curiosity of a cat. That could mean wooing a local school child to settle a turf war with another cat, or perhaps swiping free kibble from another player’s food bowl. As one player reveals a critical resource, location or person, they mark it with specific tiles or standees.

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Over the course of the game, your bushy-tailed kittens will grow into thriving and cunning cats and consequently open up new areas of the map that your bumbling, awkward kitten phase found impossible to traverse. Publisher Matagot didn’t specify what these skills look like in action but mentioned that this 35-minute long board game has been designed with both newcomers and veteran players in mind.

"I wanted to give everyone the chance to embody a kitten in a condensed experience of exploration and skill development, based on a role-playing mechanic in which every dice roll has a positive outcome (you succeed or you learn!),” said Millet. “The game lets you experience the sensations of a kitten's life by performing the full variety of typically feline activities (at least a new one in each scenario); I hope it will delight cat fans of all ages!"

board spill example from Kyoto no Neko board game
Image credit: Jérémie Fleury/Matagot

“Sharing my studio with three adorable cats and being a big fan of Japanese aesthetics, I put a lot of passion into this project," said Fleury. “You'll find nods to pop culture and a healthy dose of cuteness to ensure that players have a convivial time. Maybe the experience will even make you want to travel, because ever since I illustrated Kyoto No Neko, all I've wanted to do is go to Japan!"

Kyoto no Neko will be playable at this year’s Essen Spiel convention, and Matagot plans to open sales during that convention. No date is available for wider retail, but expect it to hit hobby shop shelves later this year.

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