Catch the Moon is a dexterity game about making a precarious stack of wooden ladders reach as high up as you can, trying to reach up to the moon. Be careful though, if you make a mistake and things topple you will make the moon cry.
I first got to see Catch the Moon at Origins Game Fair many years ago. Now that I finally have my own copy, you can read on to find out if the game is as fun as I remember it being back then.
Disclosure: Thanks to KOSMOS for hooking me up with a review copy of Catch the Moon. Links in this post may be affiliate links. Using these costs you nothing but may earn us a small commission on eligible items. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Learn about Catch the Moon
Catch the Moon is a dexterity game by Fabien Riffaud and Juan Rodriguez. It features artwork by Emmanuel Malin and was first published in North America by KOSMOS back in 2017 and is still readily available.
This ladder stacking game plays one to six players with games usually lasting well under half an hour. The rules are simple and the game can be enjoyed by players of pretty much any age, though you may have to worry about ladders breaking or going into the mouths of very young kids.
In Catch the Moon the players are attempting to reach the moon by building a stack of precariously balanced ladders. Each turn players will add new ladders to the growing stack. If things go badly and they cause any ladders to fall, they make the moon cry. Once you are out of either ladders or moon tears, the player who made the moon the least sad wins.
Due to some technical difficulties, I don’t have an unboxing video to point you to for this one. I thought I had recorded one live on the Tabletop Bellhop Twitch Channel along with a bunch of other unboxings on the same day but for some reason it not only didn’t record, but I wasn’t even live for this particular game.
So you are going to have to make do with the pictures here and my description. Catch the Moon comes in a smaller sized box that holds a big plastic cloud base with several holes in it. There are three starting ladders (only two are needed to play) and a bunch of misshapen birchwood ladders. You will also find a custom wooden six sided die and seven blue wooden raindrops (the moon’s tears).
The game comes with a felt-lined box insert to hold all of this, including a nice well for holding all the ladder pieces and mixing them up before and during play. The instructions come in multiple languages and are very clear. They include ways to play Catch the Moon competitively, cooperatively and solo. The rules also include some tips on how to stack, lock and attach the various ladders.
The component quality in Catch the Moon is very good, though I wish the features on the die were a little bit darker. The ladders are nice and light and come in a variety of different shapes including things like missing rungs, which makes trying to stack them them even more fun and interesting.
How to play Catch the Moon
To play Catch the Moon you place the plastic base out on the table and stick two of the three straight-edged, starting ladders in a set of holes on the base. There are multiple different configurations for this and the ladders can lean various ways adding a lot to the replayability of the game.
Then the first player (the last to see a full moon) rolls the die and places a ladder using one hand only. The die features three different possible symbols which determine the placement rules that must be followed.
A single ladder on the die means the newly placed ladder must touch one and only one other ladder when placed.
A double ladder on the die means the new ladder must touch two and only two ladders when placed.
The last symbol on the die is a moon. This means the newly placed ladder must end up being the highest point in the structure after being placed and it must touch only one or two other ladders.
If you fail at following these rules when placing your ladder, or if any ladders end up touching the table or the cloud, you made the moon cry. You take a raindrop shaped moon’s tear token and your turn ends.
Any ladders that are touching the cloud or table are removed, if possible. Sometimes things fall in a way that a ladder is touching the cloud or the table but still holding things up. These stay in play until they can be safely removed. If things fell while a ladder was being placed but before it was let go of, that ladder is also removed from the game.
The game continues until you run out of either tears or ladders and the winner is the player with the least tears.
If two or more players are tied and there are ladders left you continue to play as if each player rolled a moon on the die each turn with players being eliminated if they can’t place a ladder. If there’s a tie with no ladders left, the tied players share the victory.
That’s all there is to playing the standard version of Catch the Moon.
You can also play cooperatively, with players working together to build the highest structure they can.
The group collects a set of five tears. They take turns rolling the die and placing ladders as normal. At any point, on any player’s turn, the group can decide to turn in one of their tears to score points.
Points are awarded based on how high the structure is compared to the game box lid stood upright. Ladders sticking up past the box are worth one point, and ladders completely over the top of the box are worth three. Any time someone makes a mistake one of the scoring tears is lost and the game is over when the group has no more tears.
Catch the Moon also includes rules for playing solo, which are the same as the cooperative rules but you just play by yourself and try to beat your own high score. It isn’t much of a solo play option, but it works.
Catch the Moon is a very engaging and eye catching dexterity game.
I first got to try Catch the Moon at Origins 2019 and I’ve wanted a copy ever since. I love dexterity games and I adore the theme of this one. I also really dig the fascinating physics in play in Catch the Moon. This is one of the most funky stacking games out there and that’s all due to the wonky ladders that you are stacking. Their weight, their shape, and the way they can interlock with each other, is just fun to play around with.
Catch the Moon reminds me a bit of Drop It in that things don’t quite act the way you might expect them to. Things you think are solid crumble at a mere touch and sometimes ridiculous angles created by two ladders barely touching end up somehow holding up the entire structure.
This is also one the simplest games in my collection to teach, potentially the simplest. The gameplay in Catch The Moon boils down to rolling the die and placing a ladder with only three possible, very easy-to-explain, options. Touch one, touch two or be the highest. The easy to explain rules combined with the cute and approachable theme makes the game fantastic for public play events and for gamers of all ages and experience levels.
One aspect of Catch the Moon that I totally missed when I first saw the game, and that came as a surprise to me, was the fact the game includes cooperative and solo play. Though it’s also possible that this is something that was added to later printings as I did see that Board Game Geek has Catch the Moon listed as a two to six player game.
Personally, I prefer the competitive game, but I love that there’s a cooperative version included. I know many game groups that prefer to play that way and cooperative play is often better when playing with kids.
Overall, Catch the Moon is exactly what it sounds like. There really aren’t any surprises here. This is a stacking dexterity game featuring wooden ladders. It also happens to be a game I love, my kids love, my extended family likes, and that has been a huge hit at our local public play events. It’s super easy to teach, accessible, and just fun.
That is, if you like dexterity games. If you don’t like this style of game, or more importantly if you have issues with shaky hands, Catch the Moon probably isn’t a good fit for you.
That’s all I have to say about Catch the Moon, a ladder-stacking dexterity game with super simple rules and fantastic table presence.
What’s your favourite stacking game? Let me know about it in the comments below!
- Fun Game: Get ready to ascend beyond the clouds and strive for the moon in Thames & Kosmos’ Catch the Moon! Harness the power of a few strategically positioned ladders, a steady hand, and a touch of creativity and risk-taking on your way to the moon