RPG Review: Magical Kitties Save The Day, an RPG for all ages where you play magic cats

The instant I heard about the family-friendly roleplaying game Magical Kitties Save the Day from Atlas games I wanted to play it with my kids. The entire concept of this kid-friendly RPG about magical cats sounded amazing.

“You are cute. You are cunning. You are fierce. You are a magical kitty, and it’s time to save the day! Every Magical Kitty has a human. Every human has a Problem.”

I can’t think of a blurb that has made me want to play a roleplaying game more.

Disclosure: Thanks to Atlas Games for sending me a copy of Magical Kitties Save the Day to check out. Some links in this post are affiliate links. Using these links doesn’t cost you anything extra and it helps support this blog and podcast. As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. 

What do you get in the box with the Standard Edition of Magical Kitties Save The Day?

Magical Kitties Save The Day (Bell not included)Magical Kitties Save the Day was designed by Matthew J. Hanson and originally published, in PDF only format by Sneak Attack Press back in 2016. Then in late 2020, the game was picked up by Atlas Games, who kickstarted a new second edition publishing it in both digital and print formats.

This new second edition of Magical Kitties Save the Day was also designed by Matthew J. Hanson but this time with help from Justin Alexander and Michelle Nephew. It features artwork from Anthony Cournoyer, Kat Baumann, Ekaterina Kazartseva and Jason Thompson.

Both a deluxe and a standard edition for the second edition of Magical Kitties was published, with all of the upgrades in the deluxe edition also available for sale separately. The deluxe edition of the game quickly sold out.

In May of 2021, Atlas launched a second Magical Kitties Save the Day kickstarter called Magical Kitties Save The Day Level Up, featuring three new sourcebooks for the game as well as reprinting the Deluxe Edition of the game. That kickstarter funded in less than an hour and a half.

While I was really hoping to get to review the Deluxe Edition of Magical Kitties, Atlas sent me the non-deluxe boxed set, so that’s what we will be taking a look at here. This RPG boxed set has a very reasonable MSRP of $29.95 (note this price was raised by $5 since I first published the review)

The box cover for Magical Kitties Save The Day an RPG for all ages.Magical Kitties Save the Day is a family-friendly roleplaying game where players take on the role of magical cats. Every magical kitty has a human and every human has a problem. It’s up to your Kitty Krew to help solve those problems while keeping your magic a secret from the humans.

The game features a simple D6 dice pool system driven by three core stats, Cute, Cunning and Fierce, along with talents and of course magical powers. It’s a traditional RPG with many modern RPG elements added, like shared narration and worldbuilding and an in-game currency that both mitigates randomness and adds story elements. 

To get a look at what you get in this RPG boxed set be sure to check out my Magical Kitties Save The Day Unboxing Video on YouTube.

Overall I was impressed by the component quality, even in the standard edition of this game. You get two softcover books one being the rulebook and the other being a setting sourcebook for River City. You also get a digest-sized comic book, a which-way style solo scenario, that serves as an introduction to the rules. Then there’s a fold-out poster map of River City, a set of nice looking pale blue dice, a thick pad of character sheets and a punchboard filled with kitty treat tokens. 

While having the deluxe wooden tokens and dice with cat paws on them would have been nice, there’s nothing actually wrong with the components in this box.

The box insert for Magical Kitties Save The Day a kid friendly RPGThe box also contains a moulded plastic insert, which is clearly designed to hold up to four decks of cards and the standard edition of the game doesn’t come with any cards. While I guess I have a spot to put the cards if I decide to buy them separately seeing this great-looking insert for components I don’t have just made me feel like I was missing out. 

In the rulebook, they do suggest that you use these deck shaped spaces for storing each individual character’s kitty tokens and dice between sessions, though the game only comes with one set of dice. Perhaps they assume players will provide their own D6s once you start playing? 

Before I move on I did want to talk a bit about the rules. This is a full-on traditional RPG and the rules have a lot of text in them. That text is presented in a two-column layout with lots of white space. The rules are intermixed with some great-looking artwork and feature a ton of call-outs, tips and examples.  Overall the layout was expertly designed and I really liked the amount of game advice that was about how to play and not just mechanics. 

What follows is a detailed look at the three books you get in the Magical Kitties Save the Day boxed set, followed by my thoughts on the game based on reading it and running the included adventure for my family. 

A look at the Rulebook from Magical Kitties Save The Day

The rulebook for Magical Kitties Save The Day the RPG from AtlasThe rulebook for Magical Kitties Save the Day is a sixty-five page softcover full-colour book. It’s a lot more than I expected from a game directed at kids. 

The book isn’t divided up into chapters but it is presented in a number of sections in a logical order. While this isn’t great for reference during play, there is an index provided on the back cover of the book. 

The book starts off by talking about what the game is and what roleplaying is. Throughout the text are these Kitty Tip call-outs that do a great job explaining why the rules are the way they are, offering additional options and providing some great roleplaying tips and theory. There is a lot of what I would call modern roleplaying advice included, such as talking about when not to roll the dice, player knowledge vs. character knowledge, how to include player input in the resolution mechanic, a discussion on “winning” in RPGs and more.

Here we learn how to be a Magical Kitty, which sets the tone and expectations for all the players. This includes a number of rules like, “You must keep your magic hidden from humans. You want to help your human. You can understand humans but they can’t understand you.”, and the fact that you have a special spot in your home the humans don’t know about that will let you come and go without being noticed.

Before the book gets into any real details of how to play it suggests you stop and go play through The Big Adventure which is the digest-sized comic book solo adventure that I mentioned above (check the next section of this review for more on that solo adventure).

One of the best RPG examples of play I've seen, from Magical Kitties Save The DayNext, we have one of the best examples of play I’ve ever seen in a rulebook. I think most players could just play through The Big Adventure and then read through these four pages and know more than enough to play the game. 

Not only does this section of the rulebook walk you through a short encounter with fictional players and their GM, as each part of the story unfolds there are Kitty Tips explaining the rules that are being used at that point and how they work. They explain when the GM doesn’t need to call for a roll, when they do call for a roll and why, how to make checks, what happens on success, what happens on a failure, and more. 

At this point, it’s all still very high level. This is an overview of the system and not detailed rules, those come later. Up first we have the Making Your Kitty section that walks players through how to make their Kitties and fill out a character sheet (there’s a nice thick pad of these included in the boxed set). 

Magical Kitties Save The Day: How to make your kitty characterCharacter creation is simple. Pick a name and a hometown. Your hometown is the setting for your game of Magical Kitties. This boxed set comes with one sample hometown, River City. The deluxe boxed set comes with more settings, which are also available for sale separately including Wild Ones, Mars Colony, and Alien Invasion

Players are free to describe their kitties however they want and are encouraged to draw a picture of their Kitty. 

Next, you note down your starting Owie Limit of two, the fact you start with two Kitty Treats and your starting level of one. 

Each Kitty has three attributes: Cute, Cunning and Fierce. One attribute starts at three, another at two and the last at one. You can assign these yourself or roll them on a table. 

Every Kitty has a Talent. This talent will give a player an additional die to roll any time they can tie that talent into the test about to be made. You can pick your own or there’s a table you can roll on featuring a number of talents with short descriptions. Some examples of talents are Night Vision, Claws, Empathic, Bargainer and Hunting. 

Along with talents, every Kitty has a Flaw. If you are able to bring up your flaw during play in a way that causes something interesting to happen in the story you earn a Kitty Treat. Again there is a table you can roll on or you can create your own flaw. Some examples of flaws are Gluttonous, Loud, Show-Off and Careless. 

Magical Kitties Save The Day is a game where you play cat with magic powers.Next, we get to Magical Powers. There are thirty-six of these included along with a table for picking one randomly if you wish. There is a detailed description of each power as well as some bonus features that can be earned with experience or used by spending a Kitty Treat. Some examples of Magical Powers are Flight, Laser Eyes, Burrowing and Time Freeze.

The last step in character creation is to pick your human. Most of the details of your human are left up to you to fill in except for their problem. Remember every human has a problem. Well, it ends up many have more than one. Your human will have a total of four ranks in problems, which could mean one big problem at rank four or four small problems at rank one. Besides giving an indication of how big a problem is, mechanically this is also the number of adventures you will need to go on to solve that problem. There are a couple of short random charts for determining what types of problems these are but the details are up to you to flesh out. 

The rules for Magical Kitties Save The Day are simple and concise. Next, we get to the section on Playing The Game

Magical Kitties Save the Day uses a simple dice pool system. When attempting a check you gather a number of D6 equal to the appropriate attribute. Cute is used for getting people to do what you want, Cunning is used for figuring things out and Fierce is for physical activities. 

If there is a narrative reason that your talent would apply to the situation you get one extra die. 

Once a scene you can also use your magical power, but only if it makes sense to use it for that check. This gives you another 2D6.

You then lose a die for each Injury your kitty has. 

The GM sets a difficulty number that ranges from Three (easy) to Six (Extreme) and you roll your dice. Each die that meets or beats that difficulty number is a success. 

Success in Magical Kitties is on a scale and appears to be inspired by games like Apocalypse World and its derivatives. 

  • 0 Success results in Failure – You don’t do what you wanted to do and there will be a Complication.
  • 1 Success results in Success, but… – You do what you wanted but there’s a Complication.
  • 2 Successes results in Success – You do what you wanted. 
  • 3 Success results in Success, and… – You do what you wanted and get a Bonus. 
  • 4+ Succeses restules in Super, Success! – You do it and get a Super Bonus. 

Degrees of success chart for Magical Kitties Save The DayComplications are usually assigned by the GM but the game does suggest getting player input. There’s a list of possible complications to pick from including the foe or obstacle using its Reaction (every adversary has a number of these, more about that later), suffering an Owie, getting put into a sticky situation, inability to act for a period of time, losing a die from your next die pool, you must act out your flaw, a disaster is created, etc. 

Bonuses are also codified but these are usually picked by the Player and not the GM, though the GM does get to have input. Bonuses include, a fellow Kitty gets a bonus die on their next action, you or a fellow kitty shrug off an Owie, you accomplish a secondary goal, one foe can’t cause trouble for some time, etc. 

Super Bonuses, which work the same way, include things like, you and all the other kitties get a bonus die, your entire Kitty Krew can shrug off an Owie, you or another Kitty can shrug off an Injury, one foe takes an extra Owie, etc. 

I’ve mentioned Kitty Treats a few times. These are an in-game resource that players can earn and spend. Players start each session with a number of treats, New characters always start two but the number of treats that you start a session with can be increased when levelling up. 

Kitty Treats are special tokens you use in the Magical Kitty game.Kitty Treats can be spent to re-roll any or all dice during a check, to avoid taking an Injury, to use a Magical Power’s Bonus Feature you don’t have, or to add something to the story beyond your kitty’s control. 

You earn Kitty Treats by bringing your flaw into play in a way that causes some kind of meaningful consequence to the story. Being gluttonous and noting that you are always eating something wouldn’t count whereas eating your human’s turkey dinner moments before the Mayor arrives would. 

Owies and Injuries are the health system in Magical Kitties. Your Kitty can take a number of Owies before they get really hurt (starting at two at first level). Once you reach your Owie limit you start taking Injuries. Owies don’t change things mechanically but each Injury reduces all of your die pools by one. If you ever end up with as many Injuries as your highest attribute (which will be three at first level) you are Knocked Out and will have to miss the rest of the current scene. 

Every Kitty starts at full health at the start of each episode and at the end of each scene all Kitties can remove one Injury. 

Note, there’s no way for a Kitty to die in this game. For the most part, death is off the table in Magical Kitties Save the Day. Even enemies only get knocked out, give up or run away after suffering enough owies to beat them.

The back of a Magical Kitties Save The Day character sheet.Being, in some ways, a surprisingly traditional RPG Magical Kitties Save the Day features a full traditional experience point system. Points are gained every time a Kitty fails a check (another PbTA rule). They are also handed at the end of the game for things like saving the day, everyone having fun, and for learning a valuable lesson.

The last thing that your Kitty Krew can earn is to improve your Human’s or Hometown’s Problems. If you worked to solve a problem the GM can reduce the rank of that problem by one (or more for really epic stories). 

Kitties level up when they hit set XP amounts. Similar to games like D&D, the amount of XP needed each level goes up. Level 2 costs 5 XP, level 3 and 4 costs 6 XP, etc. 

When your Kitty hits a new level you get to pick an upgrade. These are broken into tiers for levels 2 to 4, 5 to 7 and 9 to 10. Each time you get to pick an upgrade you can pick one from your current tier or any previous tier. Upgrades include gaining a Bonus Feature for one of your powers, Improving an Attribute by one, getting additional Kitty Treats, upping your Owie limit, and gaining new talents. 

The second half of the Rulebook includes information mainly meant for the Games Master, though it doesn’t restrict this section to GM’s eyes only like some traditional RPGs do.

There is some great GM advice here, with a lot of modern RPG sensibilities, such as when to roll and how to set difficulties, dealing with players just being silly and trying actions that obviously won’t work, describing what happens, making mistakes and dealing with them, a TV show based story structure and more.

There are also details about how to create a Hometown as well as how to use published Hometowns. Hometowns, like humans, have problems. At the start of your series, you are going to pick four ranks of Hometown Problems for your setting. Just like Human Problems, this could be one big problem or many small ones or anything in between.  This section of the book is followed by a lot of talk about how to handle problems as a GM.

Problems are the hardest part of Magical Kitties Save The Day for GMs to learn.There is a pretty extensive description of how to deal with problems and how you should create each episode by choosing a hometown problem and aiming that at one of your players Kitty’s human’s problems. There’s also talk about creating alliances with your problems, when problems are no longer problems and more. The whole system reminds me of Fronts from PbtA games. 

This part of the book made me start to feel that this game might not be as much for kids as I originally thought it was. While the rules for creating and playing Kitties are simple and easy to grasp, a lot of the content in the GM section is pretty high-level stuff. These are not the kind of things I’m used to seeing in a gateway RPG and I could see a beginner GM being confused and overwhelmed by what’s here.

I will note that early on in the rulebook, it does suggest that an adult, older sibling or babysitter be the GM when playing with kids, but it wasn’t until getting to this section on running the game that I saw why. 

Now that you’ve (hopefully) figured out this detailed problem system, the game gets into creating adventures. It gives you a number of really solid Adventure Recipes that are basically lists of story beats. These include things like the Boss Rush, Five Scenes, A Simple Mystery, The Raid and Rescue Operation. Each of these basically gives you a formula that you can fill with problems, foes, challenges, roleplaying, and more.

For example, the Five Scene recipe consists of The First Threat, The Puzzle, The Roleplaying, The Trick or Doublecross and The Big Finale.

Foes from Magical Kitties Save The Day rulebook.The final sections of the books give you details of foes and disasters that you can slot into these adventure recipes. 

Foes have the same attributes your kitties do but in this case, they don’t represent dice pools but rather the difficulty for a check against that foe using your ability. Remember the GM doesn’t roll dice in this game. 

Foes also have an Owie Limit as mentioned above, which when reached means the foe is defeated in some story-appropriate way. Each foe also features three reactions which the GM should use when the players fail a check and they need a consequence for that failure. 

There is a huge range of foes presented from the mundane (other kitties, various humans, squirrels, and guard dogs) to the fantastic (witches, hyper-intelligent raccoons, and aliens). 

I dig the disaster system from Magical Kitties Save The DayDisasters feature just a single difficulty number and represent natural or supernatural events. They usually come into play as consequences, due to failures or partial successes. Each one features a number of reactions that can be used for any consequence during the scene, not just when directly dealing with that disaster. For example, the earthquake disaster has reactions such as Debris (everyone takes one Owie), Crumbling Walls (an exit is closed off) and Blackout (all the lights go out). 

The last couple of pages of the Magical Kitties Save the Day Rulebook contains a glossary of words used throughout the book that I think really should have been in the front instead of at the back. There’s also a GM worksheet you can photocopy to use during play to help keep track of all the kitties and problems. 

A look at Magical Kitties Save The Day The Big Adventure solo-play book:

The Big Adventure solo adventure comic book for Magical Kitties Save The DayMagical Kitties Save The Day comes with a 34-page digest-sized, full-colour comic book. Early on in the rulebook, you are directed to stop reading until you’ve played through this short solo adventure. 

This adventure is presented as a comic book using a choose your own adventure style format that has you flipping all over the book. Flipping and flipping and flipping. There’s a lot of flipping needed to get to the end of the story. Enough that I worry this book won’t hold up to too many players playing through it (though at this point, all four members of my family have gone through it and so far it’s holding up well enough). 

The Big Adventure tells the story of a single Kitty looking for their human’s favourite toy that has been lost. Clues lead them to check out a mansion that’s rumoured to be haunted. 

This book does a great job of slowly teaching you the basics of how to play Magical Kitties Save the Day, walking you through making a sample character using much shorter lists for possible powers, talents and flaws.

My daughter playing The Big Adventure for Magical Kitties Save The DayThe comic gets into the basics of how to roll the dice without getting into the details of complications and bonuses.

The story features lots of different paths, showing off how you can use your kitty powers in a variety of ways while presenting multiple options for dealing with obstacles. 

I strongly suggest anyone who’s going to play Magical Kitties Save the Day play through this book at least once.

A look at the River City Hometown setting book for Magical Kitties Save The Day

Magical Kitties Save The Day River City Hometown Sourcebook.The Standard Edition of Magical Kitties Save The Day comes with one Hometown book, River City. This is a softcover book that’s the same dimensions as the rulebook but only about half as thick, being only thirty-five pages long.

River City is very much Small Town USA, complete with most of the things you would expect to find in a small town such as a busy waterway that the town was built on, a beautiful town square filled with shops, a single library, a huge chemical plant that everyone tolerates because it’s the biggest employer in the city, and even an FLGS. Along with this though some fantastic elements are presented, like the fact Baba Yaga has just moved into town, the Queen of the Frost Giants is visiting, and there’s an interesting old castle up on the hill that’s been there as long as anyone can remember. 

The great River City fold out map from Magical Kitties Save The DayThe book includes a really nice four-panel poster map of River City, featuring all of these interesting locations and more.

There are a large number of problems presented in the River City book. As mentioned earlier, your Hometown will have four ranks of problems at a time. Now as you solve problems you are meant to add new ones to keep the game moving but I was shocked to find nine different problems of various ranks presented in this book, including the aforementioned Baba Yaga, The Toymaker, the Chemical Plant, the Mice Resistance, Neighbourhood Burglars and more. 

Each problem is described in detail including the Problem’s Agenda as well as a set of Adventure Ingredients for the GM. These give the GM some ways to tie each problem into their own ongoing story. 

Locations in River City for Magical Kitties Save The DayAfter the section on problems, the book goes into detail about various locations in River City which are all called out on the included poster map. Locations I haven’t mentioned yet include but are not limited to the Clock Tower, Danbury’s Antique Shop, Mermaid Fountain, Montgomery Hotel, Hawthorne Beach, Cliffside Hospital, Dewberry Park and more. 

The section is broken down into geographic locations, with each location featuring a number of Adventure Ingredients similar to those presented earlier with the Hometown Problems.

Random Humans from the Magical Kitties Save The Day River City HometownNext, we have the Supporting Cast section, filled with a number of important River City characters. Instead of featuring adventure hooks, all of the Human Cast members listed here have their Human Problems detailed. Along with this, there is a random chart for these humans that your group can use during character creation if they want their Kitties’ humans to be ones featured in this setting. I thought this was a smart touch. Note, not all the cast members listed are humans, you’ve also got characters like Beep-Bop the Squirrel with connections, the visiting Queen of the Ice Giants, and some very enigmatic talking books. 

After the Cast, we get the Foes. These are adversaries for your kitties to face in River City. This section has a number of new Foes including fey folk, a number of dinosaurs, Scrap Pixes and the Malagrym.

Five new disasters that are specific to River City are also presented including a Blizzard, Magical Myst and Whitewater Rapids.

We had a blast playing Magical Kitties Save the LibraryThe book finishes off with an adventure: Magical Kitties Save The Library. This thirteen-page adventure is split over four scenes that can happen in any order. It’s designed as a way to get your Kitty Krew together and starts with a number of humans going missing. 

The format for the adventure is an odd mix of location descriptions, talk about foes and their agendas, and old school callbacks like boxed text. One thing I found strangely missing was any gameplay statistics for foes, adversaries or disasters.

In addition to references to other parts of the River City book, the adventure also has a number of references to the main rulebook. In some cases, these references make a chain where the adventure will tell you to look up a Foe in the River City book and when you do that the Foe has you look up a Foe entry from the core rulebook. 

While I can see the desire to not repeat information in more than one place this adventure would be much simpler to run if everything was just presented within the adventure text, with all of the information there when you need to use it. Due to this, I don’t think many GMs would be able to run this adventure on the spot, without any prior prep work, unless their players are willing to put up with a lot of flipping through books during the game.

The overall story for this adventure is very entertaining and enjoyable and does a great job of showing off the mixing of the mundane and the magical that is a big theme in Magical Kitties Save the Day. There are a lot of NPCs to track during this adventure and I found I had to make quite a bit of notes before running the game to keep straight who’s who and their various personalities. Even doing this I still found myself flipping through the two books for things I failed to note down.

Maps on maps for a game of Magical Kitties Save The DayWhile my family really enjoyed the adventure it did take us a very long time to play through it. Somewhere in the rules, it’s noted that a typical session of Magical Kitties should last around an hour or two. After four hours of play, we only managed to get through three of four scenes in this included story.

I almost wonder if they expect you to play one scene an evening to get into that two-hour timeframe. It’s also possible that my family spends more than the usual time describing actions and interacting with NPCs. I am very curious to know how long it has taken other people to run through this adventure.

Is Magical Kitties Save the Day worth buying?

Playing Magical Kitties Save The DayWhen I first heard about Magical Kitties Save the Day I knew I needed to get a copy. I actually reached out to Atlas to see if they were sending out review copies and then begged them to send me the Deluxe Boxed set. Unfortunately, the Deluxe edition was selling extremely well and quickly sold out, so they sent me the standard edition. 

Despite only having the standard edition of Magical Kitties Save the Day I am very impressed by this game. It does a lot of things right and I think it’s a fantastic game for playing with kids. I also think the theme is going to appeal to some adult gamers and I’m pleased to say that I think there’s enough meat here to keep gamers of all experience levels interested. 

Before I get into why I think this is such a great game I do want to point out a couple of complaints I had with the standard edition of the game.

The first I already mentioned a bit above and that’s the fact that both versions of the game come with the same box insert. While this makes sense from a cost and production standpoint I couldn’t help but feel that my game was missing something upon seeing that insert for the first time. Seeing the four empty spots made for holding cards just tossed in my face the fact that my standard edition doesn’t include the cards.

I did not appreciate references to things I didn't get with Magical Kitties Save The DayThis lack of cards leads to my next complaint. The rulebook is written assuming that you have the components from the deluxe edition. There is a section near the start of the book that mentions that a great way to get inspiration for your kitty’s description is to look through the cards which each feature a different breed of cat. Later in the same section, it talks about how you can make choices easier for kids by dealing them a set of cards instead of rolling on tables. Both great suggestions, but they only work if you actually have the cards. 

Moving on to the positives, even without the deluxe upgrades the components you get in Magical Kitties Save the Day are excellent. The quality of all of the components is great. All of the written materials are clearly written and concise and the artwork is fabulous. Even with just the base version, the game includes everything you need to play including character sheets, a large number of Kitty Tokens and dice.  

Playing through the solo adventure in Magical Kitties Save The Day is fun.The rulebook is very well written, presented in a logical order and well laid out. Starting with the Rulebook, moving to The Big Adventure and back works very well for presenting the rules to first time players. We all really enjoyed playing through The Big Adventure comic book with most of the family doing it more than once to try out the different kitty powers and choose different paths. 

The rules in Magical Kitties Save The Day are very simple to pick up and remind me a lot of Mermaid Adventures. As you can read in my Mermaid Adventures review, both games feature building a dice pool based on an attribute, then adding additional dice based on skills, powers and talents. Where Magical Kitties Saves The Day takes things a step further is the very modern levels of success system.

I really appreciate this use of modern resolution mechanics in Magical Kitties Save The Day. I appreciate the inclusion of the players when determining resolutions as well as the detailed complication and bonus mechanics.

The only complaint I have about this resolution system is that they failed to include the suggested bonus, super bonus and complication lists on the character sheets. Overall these character sheets are great and even have an almost full rule summary on the back of them, it’s actually odd that the resolution options weren’t put there as well.

Lots of problems for Magical Kitties to solve. One modern mechanic that I’m not as sure about is the whole problem system and how the GM is meant to use it for adventure design. It reminds me of Fronts from Apocalypse World and other PbTA games (and I have to admit that I have a hard time wrapping my head around fronts as well).

I find the whole concept of picking a Hometown Problem and pointing that at a Human Problem, while potentially also aligning some problems together to make things more interesting, somewhat confusing. This is coming from someone who has run RPGs for over thirty years. I worry that someone who is just GMing a game for the first time may find this even more overwhelming. Or maybe not, maybe the problem is that I’m old and stuck in my ways and this entire concept would be easy to grasp if I didn’t already have preconceived notions on how to create an adventure. 

This sheet from Magical Kitties Save The Day was uselessSpeaking of GMing Magical Kitties, there was one thing that the game provides to help out that I found almost useless and that is the Adventure Sheet found in the back of the rulebook. I feel like whoever designed this table never actually used it themselves.

The table gives you more room to write a single-digit number for your player’s kitty’s attributes than it does to write in information about each kitty’s Human and those Human’s Problems.

After my first session, I went looking online for something more useful which I haven’t found yet. I may end up just making my own chart in Excel. 

When it comes to sitting down to actually play Magical Kitties Save The Day, my kids had a great time just making their Kitties. They also loved looking over the River City map and catching small details like the fact that there’s a game store in the Town Square.

I was the GM when we played and I found that the adventure included in the River City book was a mixed bag. While it features an interesting story, it’s not written in a way where you can just sit down and run it from the book. Instead of presenting a step-by-step walkthrough, which is what I expect from an introductory adventure, it throws your right in assuming you’ve already mastered all the rules.

Prep work for playing Magical Kitties Save The DayThis assumption of rules knowledge is evident in the way the story is presented and by the lack of any game mechanics actually listed in the adventure.

To run this adventure well I had to take time to prepare before the game, noting down stats, probable paths the players would take, NPC personality notes and more. While I don’t mind a little prep work now and then, it’s not something I expected from such a light seeming game or from what amounts to a starter adventure. Even with all of this prep work, I still found I had to flip through the books during gameplay, looking for details I failed to note. 

Despite not being the easiest game I’ve sat down to run, I think I did a good enough job as my family had a blast playing through Magical Kitties Save The Library. We found the system worked very well, especially the degrees of success that included things like success with a complication and bonuses for extra successes. As a GM I really liked the Retaliation rules for Foes and Disasters which made it easier to come up with interesting complications that weren’t always simply “Your Kitty gets an Owie”. 

As mentioned earlier I was surprised by just how long the sample adventure in River City took for us to play. I was expecting a quick one-shot not a multiple session story. While we enjoyed playing it, and I didn’t mind breaking it up, it wasn’t what I expected from reading the rules. 

My kids love Magical Kitties Save The DayWhile there are some improvements I would like to see, such as including the resolution charts on the character sheets, making the GM Adventure Tracker more useful, and perhaps adding some tokens to track if you currently have a +1 or -1 die pool, there isn’t anything I would take out of Magical Kitties or that I thought didn’t work at all. 

Overall there’s a ton to love in Magical Kitties Save the Day. This is a fantastic traditional RPG that is not only great for new players and for kids (at least on the player side if not the GM side) but that also features a number of modern RPG sensibilities that integrate very well into the system.

If the concept of playing magical cats who work together to solve problems for their humans and help out their neighbourhood sounds fun to you, you really should pick up this game.

If you can find a copy, I strongly recommend paying the extra money for the Deluxe Edition. Besides getting three more setting books and some nicer components you also get three decks of cards that I think would actually help quite a bit during play, with the cards acting both as reminders for talents and flaws and also as a way to show if your magical power has been used yet in a scene. 

Heck, I own the Standard Edition, it’s sitting right here in front of me, and I’m still considering picking up the Deluxe Edition just for those add-ons. 

I’ve mentioned before how much I love RPG boxed sets in general and Magical Kitties Save The Day is another great one. You can also check out my Tales from the Loop Starter Set review, or my ALIEN The Roleplaying Game Starter Set review for two other RPG starter sets that I’ve enjoyed digging into recently.

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2 Responses

  1. Oh this is great! I have the deluxe edition. Would you like photos of any of the components or anything else I can do to help? – Brian

    1. Hey Brian,

      Thanks for the offer. I’m currently trying to figure out a good excuse to back the latest Kickstarter and go all in.

      Moe T

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