A few weeks ago, I wrote a review of Sherlock by Reinhard Staupe. Staupe is one of the top game designers in the business. Catch the Match from Playroom Entertainment is another example of why I think so highly of his work.
The game consists of 15 cards. On each card is 15 different objects. All objects are shown in two different colors. Each card has the same 15 objects, but they are organized such that any two cards have one, and only one, object that is exactly the same. Players race to find this matching pair.
Shuffle the 15 cards and stack them face down. Take any two cards and turn them face up in the center of the play area. All players play at the same time. They check the two cards to find the one and only match. When you think you have found it, call out the name of the object. Point to the object to show the other players. If you are correct you take one of the two cards and turn it face down in front of you. If you are incorrect then you are out for this round and the other players continue to look for the match. The game ends when only one card is remaining.
That sounds simple doesn’t it? What makes it fun and, at times frustrating, is object are rotated differently on each card and appear in different locations. Racing against the other players, it’s a real challenge to find that match quickly.
The objects are all items that young children will be able to identify. The cards are over-sized, making it easy for little fingers to handle. They are also extra thick. Which means they will hold up well over time from the abuse those little fingers can dish out.
It may seem like having only 15 cards would limit the number of times you could play the game before you would get to know the cards too well for it to still be a challenge. Don’t worry, since the objects are scrambled and rotated, Catch the Match will remain challenging and fun no matter how many times you play it.
Other games have copied Staupe’s design of having one and only one matching item on any two cards. That doesn’t mean those games aren’t worth buying. What it does mean is that Staupe deserves high praise for the original idea. With thousands of games having been published over the years, it isn’t easy to invent one with a totally new concept.