Have you ever heard the expression “it’s like herding cats”? It means that whatever task you’re undergoing is difficult, time-consuming, and frustrating, with the subjects of the task making things more difficult by not listening and disobeying.
And if you’re playing the game Boop, it also means that it’s a lot of fun.
The Story of Boop
Boop doesn’t really have a story – it simply isn’t that kind of game. The premise, however, is thus: you’re looking to herd your cats. You don’t start with cats, though. You start with kittens, and in order to get cats you’ll have to evolve them.
But herding cats can be as difficult as, well, herding cats. They don’t like to stay in place, tend to move at every given moment, and sometimes even fall off the bed. You have to think smart, as well as account for the fact that someone else (your opponent) is making moves to herd their own cats as well.
The basic rules of Boop are extremely simple. You’re looking to line up 3 cats in a row on the game board, which looks like a bed divided into a grid. To do so, you’ll need to line up 3 kittens in a row to evolve them into cats.
When you place a kitten on the board, the kittens in adjacent squares are pushed back 1 square. If they’re on the edge of the bed, unfortunately, they’ll fall off, and go back into their player’s hand. If 2 kittens are lined up next to each other, though, they don’t move – since the kitten 2 spaces away does not move, and blocks the movement of the kitten 1 space away. You need to use the kittens you’ve already placed, as well as the kittens that your opponent has placed, to bounce the kittens into a row of 3.
When you’ve managed that, and it’s a bit harder than it sounds in its simplicity, the kittens you’ve lined up are removed from the board. In exchange, you place 3 cats in your hand. These cats can be placed much the same as kittens, and you’re looking to line them up in the same way. The main difference is that placing a kitten does not push cats. Cats can push other cats, but kittens cannot. You can use this fact to make it easier to line up more kittens, giving you more cats to place on the board. Or you can simply use the cats that are available to try and line up your 3.
The first person to line up 3 cats wins!
Luck vs. Strategy
Boop is all about strategy. There’s no randomization of drawing cards or rolling dice, just simple strategy. And the rules are simple enough that each player is about on par with each other in terms of learning them. There aren’t really any loopholes to exploit. You just have to judge each placement as it comes, and try to set up a good board for you to line up your cats.
Number of Players
Boop is a strictly 2-player game. That’s probably a good thing, since more than 2 players pushing the kittens and cats around would result in an overly busy board, and too much going on to really strategize or keep track of things. And while you can’t exactly bring it out for parties, having a good game option for quiet nights at home, just you and one other person, isn’t a bad idea.
The Atmosphere of Boop
This isn’t exactly an immersive game. There is no story or elaborate art to draw you into anything, and you’re generally putting too much thought into your next move to be drawn into any kind of cat-herding fantasy. Even still, Boop manages a cute and fun atmosphere. The kitten and cat tokens are cute, as well as the little bed-shaped game board.
You aren’t going to become immersed in the game by any stretch, but you still get a quaint, fun feeling from playing the game that even the heavy strategy doesn’t interrupt.
Boop’s History and Availability
Boop was released in 2022 by Smirk and Laughter games, a more family-friendly side to the company Smirk and Dagger (we’ve reviewed another game by the company, the vastly different The Night Cage, in another post here: Let's Hope We're Alone in the Dark). It was and is extremely well received.
Currently, a preorder is in the works for a Halloween-themed version of the game. It’s meant to use the same rules, but with ghost cats, and a cute witch cat on the cover. The actual gameplay is the same, but it’ll be a cute alternate version, especially for those who didn’t get their hands on the original game while the prices were cheapest.
Boop is currently listed on Amazon for $35, and the Halloween version of the game is listed for preorder on TGGgames for $26. You might also be able to find the original version of the game cheaper at your local game store.
Our Personal Thoughts on Boop
This is a ridiculously cute, incredibly fun game. But it isn’t exactly one of imagination, which limits the audience from a lot of gamers who are more inclined toward RPG games. Playing it gives you the same satisfaction as solving a Rubik’s cube, or winning a round of checkers (it’s not quite complicated enough to be compared to chess).
If you’re a fan of strategy games, or looking to introduce more complicated traditional games like go or chess, Boop is a wonderful choice. Kids might find it somewhat complicated at first, but it’s not such a learning curve that they can’t learn. And adults are just as inclined to enjoy cute games as well, too.