Just recently I heard about the concept of mint-tin games. Games that, in essence, are designed to fit within a mint-tin. Which, as curator of the microgame feature for Tabletop Gaming, is entirely up my alley. One page RPGs, microgames, business card/post card/letter games, and now mint-tin games are some of my favourites to play and design. The tight restrictions force some cleverness in design and make for some unique games. Just look at the variation in dexterity games on display here.
Both of this week’s games are made by Alley Cat Games and are due to hit Kickstarter in February for £10 each
It only makes sense that a company called Alley Cat Games would make a couple of games about cats.
Kittin is an exteremely easy to understand yet deceptfully skillful game about stacking cats. At the start of each round, the active player flips a card which has a tower of cats on it. Everyone then has to race to grap the right cat meeples and make their standing tower. First to get theirs built and say “meow” wins.
Being able to quickly identify the cat meeples needed, find them in the central pile, and build your tower needs a quick mind and nimble fingers. And is a great little challenge between games.
Kittin is still pre-production but seems to be a little further along than Tinderblox in terms of components as the tin comfortably fits everything and some while still being very portable.
In Tinderblox, you take on the role of scouts competing to be the safest with fire by being just awful with fire. The main challenge is to place logs and fireblocks in the main fire based on what the card you draw shows. The only issue is that these scouts use tweezers to lift their materials. And if you’ve never tried to play Jenga with tiny logs and tweezers… I don’t recommend it. It’s so fiddly!
The dexterity needed for Tinderblox keeps the game fast and difficult as even the most steady handed block puller (yours truly) will struggle with some of the challenges. Balancing two blocks on a log on a vertical log is difficult. Trying to do it with your non-dominant hand is an ordeal. One you’ll come across often as the deck is filled with these non-dominant hand cards.
Tinderblox does have one massive advantage over other dexterity games. It’s heckin portable.
These games are great for little challenges between longer games or just as something to do over coffee. The portability and simplicity, to me, makes them a great staple for anyone’s game night bag. Even if they’re not going to be the meat of the night. Check them out on Kickstarter next month!