Some games are so simple that they end up being the most fun. Catch the Moon from Thames and Kosmos and designers Fabien Riffaud and Juan Rodriguez is one of those games. With only 27 playable pieces, the game challenges dexterity and risk taking and is equally entertaining for individual or group play.
What’s In The Box?
The game includes 30 wooden ladders including 3 straight starting ladders, 7 wooden raindrops, 1 wooden die, and 1 cloud base. The ladders are lasercut and as long as players don’t put extreme pressure on them, should be fine through numerous plays.
How’s It Play?
Playing Catch the Moon whether by yourself, against other players, or in a cooperative game is really simple. Two straight starting ladders are inserted into the cloud in any configuration and serve as the base of the structure. The third is a replacement. The other ladders stay in the box. Each player must roll the die, which has three symbols that occur twice each.
If you roll a single ladder, the ladder can only touch one other ladder, two ladders allows you to place the ladder to touch exactly two other ladders. If the die shows the crescent moon, you have to place the ladder so that its tip becomes the highest point of of the structure and must touch one or two other ladders. However, ladders can never touch the cloud or the table.
Turns go in this order but if you make a mistake, like failing to place the ladder according to the die result or causing, any ladders to fall, you receive a raindrop. Whoever has the least raindrops once the ladders run out wins the game. Any ladders that do fall are removed from play.
Single player Catch the Moon works the same way but you count points at the end, and in the cooperative game you play in teams to try to build the largest structure with a separate scoring system. In this version, the basic rules stay unchanged, but during the game players have five opportunities to score their structure. Each time you score uses one of the raindrops.
You can either score early or take more risks by scoring later. To score you take the box lid and place it upright next to the cloud. For each ladder that’s partially higher than the top of the box, you receive one point, and for each ladder that is completely higher than the top of the box, you receive three points. Once the last raindrop is taken or last ladder is played, the game ends.
Catch the Moon is a lot of fun! There are so many combinations of how the ladder pieces can be placed, and I definitely tried to build the tallest tower possible. The instructions also include eight common ways to place the pieces with names like the foot hook (supported by a single rung) or the swing (hooked over the end of another ladder and freely swinging).
There’s also the shameful support (an inelegant figure that consists of placing one ladder on another), which is hilarious.
Plus the taller the structure gets, the harder it is to place ladders without knocking things over, almost like Jenga but worse because nothing is stable! My brother and I had a ton of fun playing it, and I know I’ll be playing it again and again.
You can pick up a copy of Catch the Moon at the Thames & Kosmos shop or at your FLGS, where it’ll run you about $35.
Images and review copy via Thames & Kosmos
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