Based in London, UK
24th Nov 2014
Is it a book? Is it a game? Playniac’s award-winning crowd game Cat On Yer Head is now both. This game for 20 to 1,000 people has been played at parties, festivals and events all around the world. A session is typically run by game designer and Playniac-founder Rob Davis, but a new book, already an IndieCade Official Select 2014, now lets anyone run it wherever they can get a few friends together. Cat On Yer Head starts with a few simple rules that can then be modified while it is played. An imaginary cat, passed between players, chases an imaginary mouse who must escape it and eat cheese; or hide down a mouse hole; or turn into a cat-eating monster - or whatever the players invent. Because that’s the aim of the game: to build upon its basic rules, redesign it on the fly and make it sillier while you play.
The game has been featured at over 17 festivals and events, including GameCity (Nottingham), GameCamp (London), Edinburgh Fringe and GDC Europe (Cologne) and played in game design classes and at schools. It was played at the IndieCade Red Carpet Awards at the Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles) as an Official Select 2013. The newly released Cat On Yer Head Storybook is available in digital and print editions. It features over 30 illustrations by Jerry Carpenter, creator of the Game Toilet comic series on Brandon Boyer’s Venus Patrol web site. The book gives players an introduction to the basic rules, before introducing some quirky extensions to get the game going. Next, it gives numerous variations created by players: the elephant, the were-mouse, the sardine smart bomb and many more. Participants can try the variants for themselves, or even better start inventing their own. Either way, the game will often have the crowd in hysterics. In 2015 Cat On Yer Head was adopted by the Mayor of London and UKIE's Digital Schoolhouse London Programme to teach game design in London Secondary Schools.
- Beautifully illustrated 48-page book, available in print edition (laminated A5 book) and digital edition (PDF with free updates).
- Easy to learn and simple play, the game becomes more complex as it progresses.
- Turns the players into a human games console or "drunken human computer".
- Every player can redesign the game and new features get invented every time.
- Expanding project, as players' new feature suggestions are illustrated and added to digital edition as free updates.
Shut Up and Sit Down review with 200 players YouTube
IndieCade, Los Angeles YouTube
Sunday Assembly, London YouTube
Full session at Google Campus, London YouTube
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Awards & Recognition
- "Adopted by Digital Schoolhouse London Programme" London, 2015
- "IndieCade 2014 Official Selection" Los Angeles, 2014
- "GameCamp 7 Featured Game" London, 2014
- "IndieCade 2013 Official Selection" Los Angeles, 2013
- "GameCamp 6 Featured Game" London, 2013
- "Channel 4 Fuel Featured Game" Glasgow, 2012
- "Edinburgh Interactive Featured Game" Edinburgh Festival, 2012
- "GameCity 6 Featured Game" Nottingham, 2011
- "Intelligent, interesting (…) One of the prettiest things we’ve seen in a long time (…) Initial impressions: extremely strong."
- Shut Up and Sit Down, Podcast
- "Filled with invitingly playful illustrations (…) A very significant game (…) An embodiment of what I have devoted my life to creating."
- Bernie DeKoven, author of The Well-Played Game, Review
- "The first ever big game storybook."
- Frank Lantz, New York University Game Center, Website
- "Get ahead, get Cat On Yer Head (…) I can’t recommend it highly enough."
- Edinburgh Evening News, Article
- "Brilliant Playniac party/comedy game that turns audience into ‘drunken human computer’. Love it!"
- Douglas Wilson, Die Gute Fabrik, Tweet
- "An interesting crowd based game where you’re making up the rules (…) Fantastic to watch a real-life iteration on a game design."
- BBC Worldwide, 99 Coins podcat, Podcast
- "Lovely little game. Clever. Astutely designed."
- Bernie DeKoven, author of The Well-Played Game, Article
- "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, Gamecamp, Website
- "Genius idea!"
- Ricky Haggett, Honeyslug, Tweet
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Shut Up and Sit Down podcast
Listen to SUASD's review of Cat On Yer Head at soundcloud.com.
The Cat On Yer Head Storybook was an Official Selection at IndieCade 2014. indiecade.com.
The Cat On Yer Head game was an Official Selection at IndieCade 2013. indiecade.com.
Listen to interview with Rob after playing Cat On Yer Head at the Conway Hall at soundcloud.com.
BBC Worldwide Review
Listen to the BBC Worldwide games podcast review of the game at soundcloud.com.
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Cat On Yer Head Credits
Game Designer, Playniac