Cat On Yer Head

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COYH wreaths
Cat On Yer Head (www.catonyerhead.com) is a mass-participation, non-digital crowd game with a few simple rules. An imaginary cat is released into the audience and passed from person to person, where it must chase an imaginary mouse. Not only is the game a prototype for the idea of turning an audience into some kind of human games console, it’s also an exploration of a novel form of game structure.

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★ “Lovely little game. Clever. Astutely designed.” – Bernie DeKoven, author of The Well-Played Game, reviews the game here and here.

★ “Get ahead, get Cat On Yer Head (…) I can’t recommend it highly enough” – The Edinburgh Evening News

★ “An interesting crowd based game where you’re making up the rules (…) Fantastic to watch a real-life iteration on a game design” – Ben Milsom, BBC 99 Coins podcast (at 22 mins 50 secs)

★ “Brilliant Playniac party/comedy game that turns audience into ‘drunken human computer’. Love it!” – Douglas Wilson, Die Gute Fabrik

★ “Cat On Yer Head is an extraordinary game, where players are not protagonists or antagonists but parts of the playfield, intelligent pixels guiding the course of cats and mice that literally don’t exist but want to catch each other anyway. It’s a delightful experience with a unique perspective on games, play and fun.” – James Wallis, Spaaace and Gamecamp

★ “Really want to play Playniac’s ‘crowd as computer’ game that he ran at GDCE. Genius idea!” – Ricky Haggett, Honeyslug

★ “Raise their imagination to find out more and more screws than a cat-and-mouse chase competition in the base game.” – Hungarian newspaper Népszabadság via Google Translate

★ “Totally brilliant party game by Playniac.” – Gabe Smedresman, game designer

★ “Fantastic! I think you’ve invented a new conference phenomenon!” – Ben Milsom, BBC (via Twitter)

We will soon be releasing the Cat On Yer Head Storybook, illustrated by Jerry Carpenter and with full instructions so that anyone can run the game. The book is an IndieCade 2014 Official Selection.

COYH at GameCity 6 (Nottingham) and Fuel4 Games (Glasgow)
COYH at GameCity 6, 2011 (Nottingham) and Channel 4′s Fuel4 Games, 2012 (Glasgow)


Gamecamp 6, 2013 (London)

In every game, the audience take part in improvising new rules, providing a lot of laughs and an insight into game design. Features invented by audiences include the Owl, which prowls around the edge of the play area; the Were-Mouse, a monstrous combination of two mice; the Elephant, which chases the cat but is scared by the mouse; and the Sardine Smart-Bomb, which stuns the cat for a short time when thrown.

COYH at GDC Europe 2011
GDC Europe 2011 (Cologne)

Cat On Yer Head has been performed internationally, featured at games festivals such as IndieCade, GameCity, GameCamp, GDC Europe and Edinburgh Interactive / Edinburgh Fringe; comedy events such as Science Showoff and Bright Club; and special events at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich and for Channel 4 in Glasgow. Here’s a full list of appearances:

COYH at the National Maritime Museum

National Maritime Museum, 2012 (Greenwich)


LEGup at Google Campus, 2014 (London) – Complete session

See Flickr for a full set of photos of the game in action.

Original concept co-created with Richard Butterworth.

Photo credits in order of appearance: Rob Davis, Channel 4, Navina Clever & Paulina Wanat for GDC Europe, National Maritime Museum, Zuraida Buter, Channel 4.

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Playniac make thinky games for browsers, mobiles, tablets and PCs. We're creating our own indie games and have also worked extensively with clients.

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