Why am I Hungry Now?: A Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza Review
2-8 Players, 10 Minutes, Low Complexity, Low Strategy, Ages 8+.
Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza. Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza. These words echo through every round of the appropriately titled party game- it’s a chant, a mantra, an implicit agreement among the players that the second those silly words stop, shenanigans will ensue. Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza is an extremely hectic variation on Slapjack, which means the player with the quickest reflexes and the best memory will come out on top.
Wait... something's not right here.
All sixty-four cards are shuffled out to the players at the start of the game. The cards are kept facedown in each player’s hands, no peeking allowed. Play goes in a circle, and players do two things on their turn. They play one card into a faceup pile in the middle of the table, and they say one word- either cat, taco, goat, cheese, or pizza- and they say it in that order. If the picture on the card matches the word that player said, then it’s go-time. Every single player has been watching like a hawk, waiting for this moment so they can be the first to strike (literally!) when it does! Players will try to slap their hand onto the pile of cards in the middle as fast as they can because the last player to do so picks up the ENTIRE pile of cards. You win when you’re out of cards, so this can be a pretty devastating punishment which leads to even more tension, more competition, and honestly, more laughs.
This game is already tense, but the fact that most of the cards have pictures of the words you’re saying out loud makes things extra confusing. You need to focus on the word you’re saying out loud, while playing a card that has a picture from (probably) a different part of the mantra. Considering how quickly turns go, this can honestly make your brain feel a little fuzzy after a while- much like the Stroop Effect that occurs when you read the names of a bunch of colours, except the names are filled in with a different colour. You say one thing, but your brain wants to say another. When everyone’s hands are hovering over the pile, ready to strike, you only have fractions of a second to decide whether that white blob is a goat or a cat. Considering the punishment for slapping the cards the wrong time (or even FLINCHING as if you were going to slap the cards) is picking up the pile- this very simple puzzle is turned into quite the brain burner when you factor in the pressure, the stakes, and the reaction times necessary to win.
Look who's peeking out from this terrifically tiny box!
To make matters even trickier, there are more cards than the title would lead you to believe. There are three kinds of special cards that can end the round immediately, regardless of what word is said when they’re played. When a gorilla card is played, players beat their chests as quickly as they can, then slap the pile of cards in the middle of the table, which still goes to the slowest player to do so. When the chipmunk card is played, players slap the table in front of them with both hands before slapping the pile, and when the narwhal card is played, they race to tent their hands above their heads (like a horn!) before slapping the pile. Remembering which action to do in the moment can be tough, and it adds a surprising amount of spice to the formula. Additionally, the artwork on the cards can be deceptive- there are slight variations on some of the cards, and it turns out when they’re both sporting the same cheeky smile, a piece of cheese can look a lot like a slice of pizza. The same is surprisingly true for the goats and cats. These card similarities are enough to give you a half-second panic attack when they hit the table!
A work of art worthy of the Sistine Chapel. Or at least a good camping trip.
Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza is a simple game, but that just makes it easier to pull out and play with new friends. It’s perfect for parties, a killer filler game, and it will get children from five to one hundred and five scrambling over each other and shrieking with laughter. The art is adorable, the fun is undeniable, and the whole thing can fit in your back pocket. Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza is a phenomenal game, no matter how you slice that pizza pie.
Distributed by Outset Media for Blue Orange Games in Canada only