Publisher: Smirk & Laughter Games
Player Count: 2 Players
Game Length: 20 Minutes
Kittens love to bounce on the bed and in boop., it becomes a battle for supremacy as they seek to rule the pillow top. In this fast-paced, tactical, 2-player game, you’ll clear space on the bed quilt by bouncing cats out of the way. Line up 3 cats in a row and win the game. Sounds simple doesn’t it? There might be more to this friendly feline fray than meets the eye. Check out our review below and see if boop. bounces you in the right direction.
ON YOUR TURN
On the surface, boop. is a simple game with simple mechanics tied together by a cute theme. It’s one of those games that are so simple you may end up thinking “I could have designed that.” The truth is, boop. combines a balance of accessibility, theme and strategic depth that is really well thought out and executed and will definitely resonate with a large variety of gamers.
In this tactical, area control game, players will be going head-to-head by strategically placing their kittens on the game board. Placing a kitten adjacent to another will cause you to “boop” that kitten to the next space over—as if you were jumping on trampoline or pillow. Kittens can even be booped right off the bed.
Divided into 2 abstract phases, players will initially seek to align 3 kittens adjacently. Once accomplished, your 3 kittens will be removed from the board and exchanged for full-sized cats. Play continues following similar rules until 1 player is able to align 3 cats.
There are some stipulations: Kittens can’t bounce cats (they’re much too small), booping a cat or kitten doesn’t create a chain reaction of boops and you can’t boop a cat or kitten when a boop would cause them to move into an occupied space on the board.
Games run roughly 10-20 minutes each and will likely require a 2nd or 3rd playthroughs to truly determine a true winner for the night.
Where boop. gains a foothold is in the cute theme and production. While cats can be divisive pets, the fun, wooden cat figures, bright colors and charming artwork is very engaging—it draws you right in. The game board isn’t a board, but a quilted, squishy piece of fabric that allows each cat to comfortably rest in its own space. It’s very unique and certainly elevates the aesthetics.
Being suckered in by a charming theme isn’t a crime, but where boop. will win you over is in the simple yet deep strategic gameplay. Playing your feline tokens quickly becomes a chess match where you’re considering how to successfully solve the puzzle for your own goals while simultaneously attempting to disrupt your opponent and even using their choices to your benefit. There is zero luck in boop. and the best strategist will win.
ARTWORK & COMPONENTS
There isn’t a ton of artwork in the game, but the whimsical, charming components immediately invite you to play. I love the wooden cat tokens and the surprisingly functional, quilted game board. The game even utilizes the box to prop up the board creating a true bed for the cats to play.
The rulebook is short, sweet and easy to understand. Picking up the game should be a breeze.
PROS & CONS
➕ Cute and appealing theme and components
➕ Fun and Simple mechanics that are easy to learn
➕ Light game with relatively deep strategy
➕ Game plays quickly allowing multiple plays at one sitting
➖ I really have no cons here. If I’m digging deep, It’s possible the game COULD feel like a bate-and-switch… The deeper strategy might put-off some players who see the cute theme and are expecting a kids game. Fans of deeper, tactical games might be disappointed in the simple mechanics.
WHY WOULD YOU LIKE THIS GAME?
If you’re looking for a tactical, 2-player, chess-lite strategy game that’s easy to learn, completely void of luck, fun to play and easy to get to the table, boop. might be for you. This is something that works for players of all ages, but can still be satisfying for more seasoned players. The difficulty certainly adjusts for the age and ability of the players.
WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT THIS GAME?
The best thing about boop. is the nice mechanics to strategy balance. The smooth and simple mechanics quickly take a backseat to the more pressing strategic choices. You’re playing the game versus the game playing you.
A lot of games bog you down with multiple mechanics and bizarre goals all in the name of strategic depth. Some are better than others, but there is something about a game that knows exactly who they are and doesn’t try to be anything else. boop. knows exactly who it is: A 2-player game that effectively transforms a simple mechanic into a near limitless series of strategic choices. There is zero luck to boop. allowing players to become the gaming gladiators they were truly meant to be… Gladiators moving miniature wooden kitten tokens across a fluffy, quilted game board.
I’m definitely a fan of simple, streamlined, 2-player tactical games. Games like Hive, Qawale and of course Chess quickly come to mind. While each of these succeed in different ways, boop. stands out by masking what could have been a very cold, abstract experience with a warm, silly and appealing theme.
I’m 12 plays in and my main opponent has been my bright, 11-year-old daughter. She absolutely loves the game despite consistently facing defeat. I’ve noticed that my game continues to evolve more efficiently with each play. I can see her thinking through her turns and not making the same mistakes or falling into the same traps. She has a ways to go, but I can see repeat plays between the same opponents really pushing them to try new approaches and outwit the other.
The question remains: Is boop. right for you? Cute and cuddly theme aside, boop. isn’t very cute and cuddly. I can see the lack of luck in the game feeling dry for some players. If you have a distaste for tactical games like chess, you might not like boop. Now boop. isn’t nearly as complex as chess. In fact, the game’s simplicity should help it cross boundaries and engage players who might otherwise shun a 2-player, tactical battle. The theme does soften the blow and the simple mechanics have a certain charm to them that continues to draw you in. boop. could feel more weigh-y if it wasn’t for how fast games zip by. It’s not the best 2-player tactical game out there, but it does check a lot of boxes. For me, I don’t see boop. slowing down. Its accessibility, simple mechanics and challenging choices make it a perfect game to break out any time you have a few minutes. For the right crowd, boop. is a real winner.