Game Review: Cats & Boxes

Today’s review is for Cats & Boxes by Smart Games.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary game for review from Timberdoodle. All views expressed are my own. 

Sparky and Smokey

Before I get into the review I wanted to introduce you to our newest kitties. Because, of course, if we’re going to talk about Cats & Boxes there ought to be some adorable pictures of kittens in a box, don’t you think?

Orange kitten and gray kitten in a box.

Sparky, the little yellow girl kitty, and her brother, Smokey, came to live with us in April. My cousin’s cat, Poppy, had these sweet babies back in the winter. We’ve learned that cats are helpful animals to have on a farm, so we were happy to add these two. That brings us to a total of four, which seems to be enough.

Orange kitten and gray kitten sleeping in a box.

We enjoy cuddling them while sitting on the porch, but watching them play is even more fun. They jump and pounce and bat things around and wrestle with each other until they are all tuckered out and ready for a nap. Then, of course, they want a box.

I don’t know what it is about cats and boxes, but it really is a thing.

Which brings me to this cute game:

Cats & Boxes

Cats & Boxes Smart Game

Like other Smart Games, Cats & Boxes is a single-player puzzle game. This one focuses on planning, logic, concentration, problem solving, and spatial insight. It is recommended for ages 7 to adult.

Cats & Boxes Smart Game

What’s Included

Cats & Boxes includes a game board with clear plastic lid, five “cat” game pieces of various colors (white, gray, black, orange, and brown), and four “box” playing pieces (one of which has two boxes so you end up with a box for each cat). It also includes a saddle-stitched challenge booklet with 60 challenges.

Cats & Boxes Smart Game

How to Play

First, you set up the board with the five cats in their respective places and arrange the box pieces around them according to the challenge booklet. At this stage none of the cats are in boxes.

Cats & Boxes Smart Game

The object is to rearrange the boxes until every cat is inside one. The cats don’t move during the challenge. (They can be rearranged between challenges.) To add to the challenge, only one box piece can be moved at a time.

Cats & Boxes Smart Game

The first few challenges tell you what order to move the box pieces in so all you have to do is figure out how to turn it and replace it on the board with the box section covering a cat. Later challenges don’t give that hint so it’s up to you to figure out the order and the direction.

My Thoughts

Cats & Boxes is not just a fun fidget to keep the kids occupied. It’s more challenging than I expected. Even just moving one piece at a time, it takes some concentration to think through how to arrange the pieces.

I took it, along with a few other Smart Games, to Vacation Bible School for the game table. This gives the kids something interesting to do when they finish their craft before it’s time to go on to the next thing. Cats & Boxes was a big hit.

I love that it’s compact enough for travel. The clear plastic lids fits over the game board and the challenge book fits inside. I took it on a recent weekend trip and shared it with my cousin’s kids.

We enjoy having Cats & Boxes on our game shelf as a single-player game for all ages.

Cats & Boxes Smart Game with gray cat.
Yellow cat in an open suitcase.

Smokey and Sparky give Cats & Boxes two paws up.

More Reviews

If you’re intrigued by single-player thinking games check out these other Smart Games I’ve reviewed:

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