Once upon a time a group of powerful princesses were captured and locked away in Cursed “No-Cursing” towers by the Evil Queen Sparkle Kitty. All their words and magic spells vanished and became sugar & spice and …almost everything nice.
Sparkle Kitty Overview
So begins the rules for this clever release from Breaking Games and designer Manny Vega. Sparkle*Kitty is all about a group of awesome princesses who don’t need a prince to save them! In Sparkle*Kitty players attempt to rescue themselves by casting spells to lower the height of the tower they’re stuck in. Spells are cast by playing cards from your hand that match the color or shape of cards in a central spell book. The first player who can get rid of all their cards is the winner.
How to Play
Sparkle Kitty is an easy game to play, being a variant on Uno. A central book will contain all the spells players will cast.
On their turn, players will take a card from their hand and play it on top of an existing card in the spell book, matching either color or the symbol on the card. As they place the card players must “cast” the spell by saying the words out loud. Here’s some of the possible combinations you will most likely say during the course of the game
But never fear, this kitty has some teeth. Black spell cards which add permanent modifiers to all your spells requiring you to utter “EPIC SPOOKY DUCKY”, take that style cards let you force a player to fill up their hand, and attentive players will have extra chances to remove tower cards by playing the sought after “double” combo and piggyback on another player’s spell.
Be the first to get rid of all the cards in your tower and you win the game!
Before I get to my final thoughts I want to pause for a quick interlude. Feel free to skip this if you like, but parents with daughters might want to keep reading.
Sparkle Kitty is a game about princesses, specifically princesses who are tough, and self-sufficient, and creative, and “badass”…I mean look at the strong Princess Punch down there, or hipster La Princessa, or the happy go lucky Princess Violet. They’re girls without a care!
That’s right, in Sparkle Kitty all the characters are women, and in fact the first thing players are told is to “pick your princess”. Looking at the illustrations of these beautiful, artistic, unique royal women I immediately realized this is what lady gamers have been dealing with for decades. Until recently most board games had male characters, and if a woman was playing she’d have no choice but to pick a man to “represent” her.
As the father of a 12 year old girl, I see firsthand how important representation is. The first time I played with my daughter, she saw these girls and her eyes lit up. She immediately picked a character she thought most closely resembled her. But it’s equally important to expose boys to strong female characters. When I include my two older sons in games of Sparkle Kitty they’re just as quick to pick the princess they think is the coolest.
I don’t think that Sparkle Kitty is going to wind up as recruiting material for the Feminist Army, but I’m thankful they made the choices they did. It’s a fun game that happens to have all princesses, and that’s okay.
Sparkle Kitty is the rarest of games, the one you look at, prejudge, then play and immediately apologize to the box for ever having doubted it. The box is small and mighty, and easy to travel with. In fact on a recent business trip, I brought Sparkle Kitty with me so that I could teach my coworkers. The illustrations and artwork in the game belong more in the world of comic books and emoji than in traditional board game design. The cards are thick and sturdy with a high gloss finish that should stand up to as many plays as you can throw at it.
Sparkle Kitty makes no bones about being silly, and in fact embraces it. At least half a dozen times or more you’ll have to stifle, or perhaps outright embrace, a “GIGGLE RIOT” of your own by playing a spell that breaks the table into peals of laughter. Games generally take 15-30 minutes, even at a higher player counts, making Sparkle Kitty a perfect filler game.
If your group is looking for a new casual game, or if you’ve got a group that just loves to laugh, then Sparkle Kitty is the game for you.
P.S. I’d be remiss if I didn’t call out the wonderful song “The Princess Who Saved Herself” by indie rock hero Jonathan Coulton, presented here for your entertainment.