Rat-A-Tat Cat

rat-a-tat-cat.jpgToday, Lindsey shares a game that's fun for kids and grownups alike:

A few months ago I realized that I was rushing my children through dinner and bath to make sure we had time for TV before bed. Startled by this, I simply told them the next day that we weren't going to have TV. We enjoyed a more relaxed dinner and evening and that was that -- the transition was shockingly seamless. Instead, after bath and before bed, we now often play a short game. I admit that some of the board games stacked in our family room are, quite frankly, a little slow for me.
Subsequently, I was glad to discover Rat-A-Tat Cat. This card game has become an obsession for all three of us. My 6- and 8-year-old play it together, though they prefer when I play with them. The game is simple: you deal four cards in front of each player, two up and two down. The goal is to wind up with the smallest number of points represented in your four cards (the cards are 0-9). Taking turns drawing from a pile of cards in the middle, you can swap out cards you draw for your face-up cards or take a chance and swap a card with a known value for one of your face-down cards. There also are a couple of other cards, such as "peek" and "swap" which allow you, respectively, to glance at one of your face-down cards or to swap a card, even a mystery one, with another player.

Rat-a-Tat Cat has the right mixture of speed (so I don't get bored) and simplicity. All three of us have won before, without anyone going easy or stressing out, and this makes the game more fun. It's a perfect game for the airplane and for up to four players, and I've overheard my 8 year old playing it on a play date before. One round takes about 10 minutes, and so far nobody around here is bored! I highly recommend Rat-a-Tat Cat.