Animal Board Games Card Games

Cat in the Box

Cat in the Box details

Cat in the Box overview

キャットインザボックス (Cat in the Box) is a trick-taking card game from Japan, based upon ideas from quantum mechanics. Players play cards from their hands of different values. But the colour of the card is not determined until the card is played, and the cat is let out of the box.

Played over three rounds for three players, and four rounds for four, players begin by making a bid on the number of tricks they will win, based only upon the value of their hand cards. The cats on the cards have no colour at this point. Players will score for tricks they win, and score more for completing their bid.

As a player leads with a card from their hand, they declare its colour. A player's marker goes onto the communal research board, covering the value for that colour. Subsequent cards must have different values of the same colour if possible. However, a player may declare that they do not have any more cards of that colour, and so play the same value but in a different colour. That player now marks their own board for Do Not Have in that colour.

The highest card of the colour lead wins the trick, unless a card is declared as red, the trump colour.

Crucially, all cards values and colours played out must be unique, otherwise a paradox is formed, ending the round.

So if a player is holding a 1,3,6, and yellow is lead, and only the yellow 1 remains open on the research board, the player is forced to play their 1 card as a yellow. But if that player has already claimed they Do Not Have yellow (as above), and if the other colours are also blocked on 1, 3 and 6, this causes a paradox. They cannot play, thus ending the round and triggering a scoring.

The player causing the paradox does not score and incurs penalty points also.

Scores are accumulated over the rounds, and the player with the highest total at the end is the winner.

Players must balance trying to win tricks to their bid with avoiding forming a paradox, forcing the round to end and incurring penalties.
user summary

Subscribe to Meeple Mountain!

Resources for Board Gamers

  • 36+ Board Game Gifts for 2022

    Our epic board game gift guide has over 30 recommendations for every kind of board gamer! There are wallet-sized games and wallet-friendly games. There are games for the first timer and for friends who have been playing for years. From lightweight games you can play in minutes to multi-hour games your gamer will love. Read more…

  • Board Game Giveaways

    Enter a Board Game Giveaway! Enter each board game giveaway and you could win free board games from some of… Read more…

  • Tennessee Meeple T-Shirt

    Now you too can show pride in your state, and more importantly your love of board gaming. The Tennessee Meeple t-shirt is printed on soft and comfortable 100% ring-spun Anvil 980 t-shirts and is available in sizes S through XXXL. Read more…

  • The 2022-2023 Guide To Board Game Conventions

    Looking to attend a board game convention? Our guide to board game conventions can help you decide what to pack, play, and pass on! Read more…

Board Game Categories