Spotlight– Cantankerous Cats By Mentha Designs


The Cat’s Meow

It’s no secret that I love cats.


Me when I saw this game.

I have a pet cat, occasionally don some cat ear hair clips, and I worked at a cattery for a year during college. Even in the logo for this blog I have cat ears! That being said, any game involving cats will grab my attention. Just last month, I backed another cat themed game called Cat Box. I just can’t help myself.

When I was working on my Meg’s Radar list for this past Saturday, I found this game and went all “Oh God, I need dis” on it. So, of course it made it onto my radar list. Theme aside, this looks like a really fun game and I decided it was worthy of this week’s spotlight.

Cantankerous Cats is the first title from Mentha Designs, and I definitely feel like it is going to be a winner.

Just Cats Makin’ Mischief

I pretend to nap in the warm light cast through the shadeless glass. My ears are perked, listening for the moment you’ve left the room. I only have a small window of time to make this happen– you will be back soon. The room goes silent and I decide that it is now or never. I casually stretch, and do my best imitation of waking up. I glance around and see that the coast is clear. Silently, I creep over to the coffee table where you have set your drink so perfectly at the edge. I sit close to the table and give the room one more sweeping glance. You are nowhere in sight. I reach up cautiously, my paw shaking with fear and excitement. I tap the glass and I feel it wobble. I tap it again, this time with enough force to knock it completely over. It lands softly on the beige carpet, orange liquid spilling from its opening. I hear your footsteps echo from the hall and I rush back to my spot in the sunlight. I settle in and pretend to sleep once more. Another point for me Human, another point for me. 

Cantankerous Cats is a 2-6 player parlor game where making mischief is part of the fun. Players take on the role of cats looking to balance their affection for their humans and how much trouble they are looking to cause them. The goal of the game is to be the first cat to gain 9 mischief points and have control of the Cat Toy. 

The Basic game begins with players drawing their hand of 6 cards from the Food Bowl (draw deck), then bidding for the first player marker. The first player marker will have a bid condition which will ask for either the highest or lowest ranking card. Based on this, players will bid a single card and then the player whose card fulfills the condition best, will become first player. All cards used for the bid will then be gathered and used to create the Litter Box (discard pile). The first player is now in control of the Cat Toy.


The 4 different types of cards in the game. Photo Credit: Cantankerous Cats Kickstarter campaign page

In the game, there are three different card categories: Affection, Mischief, and Incident. Affection cards act as a sort of currency to be able to cause mischief. If you try to cause mischief without having banked enough affection from your human, then you may find yourself out in the cold. Mischief cards are how you gain points. By playing a mischief card and balancing out its affection cost, a player will gain the amount of mischief points indicated on the card and they will move their token up the scoring track. Incident cards can be green “Event ” cards or yellow “Frenzy” cards. These cards may be played to shake things up in the game.

On their turn, a player will draw three cards from the Food Bowl and then take two of the following actions:

  • Bank one Affection Card
  • Score one Mischief Card
  • Play an Incident Card
  • Be a picky eater
    • Discard their whole hand, then draw cards from the Food Bowl equal to the amount discarded
  • Buy one Pounce Token (these have use in the Standard gameplay)

Once a player has performed their two actions, they will draw up or discard down to the hand limit of five, then the Cat Toy passes to the next player. Play continues until someone has reached 9 points. These are the Basic rules to the game. For more advanced play and strategies, you can follow the Standard game rules. If you’d like to preview the rulebook, you can check that out here. Below is a video tutorial of basic gameplay.

 What’s In The Box


Infographic of game contents. Photo Credit: Cantankerous Cats Kickstarter campaign page

  • One 90 card deck
    • Cards will be casino quality playing cards
  • 7 Cat Cards
    • These display your status to the table: Domestic or Feral
  • 7 Cat Tokens
    • These are used to keep score
  • 8 Pounce Tokens
    • Used for special actions in the Standard gameplay
  • 1 Turn Indicator
    • Shows the direction of game flow
  • 1 Cat Toy Token
  • 1 Score Card
  • 1 Instruction Manual
  • 1 Two Part Box
  • Any stretch goals reached

Pledge Levels

The campaign offers 7 different pledge levels, ranging from $1 USD to $450 USD.

The first pledge level is your standard thanks level, which you can pledge to with a dollar or more. The next level is a swag level, meaning that it is a pledge that gets you some goodies, but not the main product. For $10 you can pledge to get a 3-pack of postcards that features artwork from the game.

The next level is the Early Bird pledge at $25– unfortunately, this level is all gone. Since the Early Bird level is unavailable, if you are interested in getting your hands on the game, you will have to pledge $35. However, this level also includes a Letter Press “Thank You” card, the 3 postcards from the $10 level, and all unlocked stretch goals. This is a pretty sweet deal. Obviously, paying $25 for all that would be better, but $35 really isn’t that bad.

The next three levels jump in price, but they offer some custom stuff that is only available to a limited number. The first is the $150 level, which will include everything in the $35 level, but you will also get one of your cats drawn into the final game art. You will also receive a print of the final card art featuring your cat. There are only 7 spots left for this pledge. The next level will cost you $250. For this pledge you will receive everything at the $35 level, as well as a signed water-color painting of the game art. The last pledge level is the $450 level, which again gets you everything at the $35 level, custom player card for one pet, a framed “Domestic” painting of your pet, and a framed “Feral” painting of your pet. These are some really sweet higher level pledges, and no lie, I’m very tempted to switch to the $150 level. Having my cat in the game would be super awesome!

Stretch Goals

There are currently 8 stretch goals in addition to the initial funding goal. I will list them below, and any that have been reached will have a purple diamond next to it.

  • $15,000- Funding goal
  • $25,000- Big Cat player cards
    • These will be alternate art player cards that feature big cats, like lions, instead of the standard house cat art. 
  • $30,000- Foil backed playing cards
    • Backers will get a chance to vote between lavender, burgundy or gold foil detailing for the backs of the cards.
  • $36,000- Premium cat curios
    • The 7 cat cards will be upgraded to sturdy, die cut curios. 
  • $42,000- Wooden Pounce Tokens
    • Pounce tokens will be upgraded to basswood. 
  • $50,000- Green Apple Press letterpress scorecard
    • The scorecard will upgraded to be letter pressed on high quality archival paper mounted on 1/16″ basswood. 
    • This will be a collaboration with Green Apple Press.
  • $60,000- Wooden game box
    • A special collector’s box will be manufactured. 
    • It will be made from wood, with the logo, line art, and a thanks from Mentha Games etched on the lid. 
  • $70,000- Add-on: “Shitty Kitty”
    • This would be an add-on of a deck of 90 cards that were from the more sinister early stages of the game. 
    • Will feature a satin tuck box, modified illustrations, and modified card backs. 
    • It will be included free in the $150+ tiers and offered as an add-on for about $10 for all lower tiers. 
  • $85,000- Mystery Reward Reveal
    • If this is reached a special Kickstarter exclusive will be revealed. 

Mentha Designs


Photo Credit: Mentha Designs Kickstarter profile

Mentha Designs is a small creative design collective headed by Al Garcia and based out of Los Angeles, California. They specialize in graphic and web design, photography, and multimedia development.  This is their first game project, and they have been branching out into the board game world with Cantankerous Cats.

It is always nice to see people from all walks of life break into the board gaming world. With this team’s background, I’m expecting their first game to be aesthetically appealing, and based on what art I have already seen, the game will look beautiful.

If you’d like to follow along with their progress on this project and others, you can find them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. You can also check out the Cantankerous Cats Facebook page.

Final Thoughts


Business Cat is ready for business. This is my cat, Dr. Pythagoras Oliver Manhattan.

I am really looking forward to this game. The theme and the style of the mechanics are something I’m sure I’m going to like. I love that they have it set up so that you can play a basic way, so that it can be introduced to newer, more on the cusp casual games. I like versatile games a lot and usually prefer them for teaching. I love heavy games too, but I enjoy games most where I can play with everyone regardless of style, yet still feel like I am playing something with actual strategy. Games like this are a nice fill and are a good medium between heavy and party games. I am hoping that the designers put out a second instructional video that will expand on the Standard gameplay. The rules are pretty easy to understand, but it never hurts to see something played out.

As I am writing this, there are 41 days left in the campaign, and they are 53% funded.

My consultant says this is going to be good. I mean… I have to trust him, right? He is a cat, but I don’t think it makes him too biased. :-p


Was this helpful to you? What other information would you like to have seen? Have suggestions for future Spotlights? Would you like me to do a review/preview? Please leave a comment below, or head over to my contact page to send me an email, tweet, or Facebook message. Thanks for reading!:)


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