When Cutie Met Patootie’s story begins with a little girl named Cutie and 10 alien visitors. Cutie lives on the Alaskan shores of Kodiak Harbor with her grandparents while her mother and father are on an archeologist expedition. The alien visitors have recently arrived in the harbor city and Cutie befriends Amelia, a badger-like creature. When the residents of Kodiak Harbor start to worry about the extended absence of Cutie’s parents, Cutie and Amelia set out into the forest to discover what’s become of the lost explorers. The game is the first in The Daniel Zayas Company’s Entanglement Series and hits Kickstarter June 4th.
The goal of When Cutie Met Patootie is to get as many Visitors to the top of the path while carrying a load of Sprite Gems that will score points. Players also need to keep the Visitors safe from Rewind, and evil Visitor who is flooding the forest trying to wipe out the other Visitors.
At the start of the game, each player is given a Citizen card that players keep to themselves. This card dictates what color Sprite Gems they score at the end of the game, but also denotes which of the 10 alien visitors the citizen has a special bond with. The map is then constructed in a pyramid shape with the base being constructed with a number of Visitor Cards depending on the number of players; either 6, 8, or 10 cards.
Once the map is setup place the corresponding Visitor Standee on each Visitor Card along with the 3 initial Sprite Gems listed on each card. The Rewind deck is placed close to the bottom of the board and each player is given 3 Path Cards to form their initial hand.
Each turn players can take one of two actions, both in a Quick or Slow way:
- Advance – Spend a Visitor’s Sprite Gems to move them up along the path.
- Quick – If moving a Visitor to a Path Card with their picture in the center, the movement is free.
- Slow – Pay the Sprite Gem listed on the exit of the current path and entrance of the new path to move a Visitor. 2 Sprite Gems of any color can be used as a wild.
- Search for Gems – Play a Path Card to earn the 3 Sprite Gems on the card. Draw back up to 3 Path Cards.
- Quick – Play a Path Card with a Visitor in the center to give that Visitor the 3 listed Sprite Gems with no consequence.
- Slow – Place the 3 Sprite Gems listed on the played Path Card to any number of Visitors. Draw a Rewind Card.
As the players make their way up the path Rewind Cards will be added to a row each time a slow search for gems is made. When the Flood Row equals the number of cards that are in the last row of unflooded path, that path floods, removing any Visitors. Also, when all the Visitors have moved up from a row it automatically floods with cards from the Rewind deck.
Play continues until all but the final 2 rows of the path (The final 3 cards) have flooded. At this point, each Visitor gains their initial 3 Sprite Gems again and is scored based on each player’s Citizen. Each Gem that aligns with a player’s Citizen earns that player a point. Player’s get bonus points for sets of gems held by the visitor that’s their friend.
I had the chance to play When Cutie Met Patootie with Daniel over Tabletopia and was really surprised at how quickly he was able to explain the game and we were able to jump in. The 3-player game we played took around 30 minutes and was an absolute blast. Though the actions you can take each turn are limited to 2, the choices you have to make about which Visitors to move, and possibly save, while making sure the gems you score on are on them can be very difficult. You also need to be very wary of the flood. As happened in our game, movement of a single Visitor can trigger a cascade of events, flooding multiple rows and quickly forcing the game to end.
When Cutie Met Patootie is a lighthearted and colorful game with beautiful artwork, memorable characters, simple rules, and meaningful, sometimes dire, choices. It hits Kickstater on June 4th with a minimum pledge of $39 to make sure you get a copy of the game when it funds. A mini-expansion called The Man Who Moves the Water will also be included allowing for solo play, as well as an 11-Card Citizens of Kodiak Harbor Promo Pack for KS backers.
Media personality Rob “Devar-TTY” Kalajian has been a staple in the board game world for many years. As a former writer for Purple Pawn and the owner of Devar-TTY’s Pawns Perspective, Dev now focuses mostly on video games and TTRPGs. A self-proclaimed geek, Rob loves all things toys and games and even helps raise his four kids in his spare time.