Normally cats and ninjas are not associated with each other. But in this game, kids take on the role of a ninja cat—and only the stealthiest and most spirited ninja cat will win this tournament. Spoiler: Things may get catty in Cobra Paw, by Banangrams.
The stone-snatching game includes 21 Clawfuku stones. These black stones resemble dominos, except in lieu of the dots, two unique colorful hieroglyphic symbols are drawn on each end— similar to a mahjong tile. Stones should be laid out face up on the table, or rather, the common pool. The game also includes two dice (youngest player rolls first), where each side is marked with one of the sacred hieroglyphic symbols depicted on the stones. Players will roll both dice at once, and their roll determines which Clawfuku stone they’ll aim to grab.
Here’s where the competition starts—there is only one stone out there that will match the outcome of the dice roll. Ninja cats will compete to get their claws on it first. The first player to acquire six Clawfuku stones will win, granted it’s a two person game. (The loser can go excuse himself to the Litter of Shame!) The number of stones needed to win can be adjusted for more players. Another twist: Players can only use one paw to grab stones, because after all, do you ever see a cat using two paws at once? Two-paw snatching is forbidden!
To really shake things up, ninja cats can snatch stones away from other players. For example, if the dice are rolled and the winning stone is in another player’s victory pile, the stone is up for grabs again. Once a player earns a stone, it’s not actually theirs. They can lose it if a another cat is quick and snatches it when the dice calls for that stone pattern. To make the game fair (for any sneaky cats), players may not hover or hide their paws over their collected stones, for they must be visible to other players! Also, all stones must be placed in front of the player, that way they are still accessible to other players (Play nice, kitties… I mean kiddies).
Ultimately, this game elicits players to think quick (No one likes a daydreaming ninja!). To stir the pot even more, there are also other variations listed in in the instruction booklet to test out. Our favorite is the “No Touchy” variation, where if a player accidentally touches the wrong stone after the dice have been rolled, he or she cannot claim a stone until it’s their turn to roll the dice.
Are you ready to start thinking like a ninja? And clawing like a cat? Maybe you’ll be as good as Master Meow, who mastered this game years ago, with his “Cobra Paw” technique—you can read all about him in the instruction manual!