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"Your 'reality', sir, is lies and balderdash and I'm delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever."
— Karl Friedrich Hieronymus, Freiherr von M√ľnchhausen

Friday Free Game: Chat Noir

Have you ever heard that expression about herding cats? Game designer Taro Ito (who also brought us Dice Wars, FFG 08/18/06) seems to have taken the idea to heart. Chat Noir is a game about corralling a black cat by surrounding it with darkened dots.

I first read about the game on Jay is Games (the wellspring from which all casual games flow) a few weeks ago and only got the chance to play it this past weekend. Ever since, I have been sort of obsessed with this devilishly clever little game. It sounds so easy: click the spots to darken them and make them impassable to the cat. Keep doing this until you successfully given the cat nowhere to go or the cat escapes, scampering off the edge of the board. Your first few games may be a bit frustrating, and I'm pretty sure that there are some starting configurations that are unbeatable, but once you get the hang of the game, when you find that flow, the game becomes a thing of impressive tactical beauty.

Chat Noir is everything that a Friday Free Game should be. It has a short play time, super-simple mechanics and engaging gameplay that keeps you coming back for more. One bit of advice: you'll have more success trying to build barricades further away from the cat, so stick closer to the edges. Also, if you find you're chasing the cat around the board, you've probably already lost. Give it a try and tell me that you didn't give a little "w00t!" when you beat it the first time.

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Comments on Friday Free Game: Chat Noir
  Comment from Blogger gnome at Friday, November 02, 2007 11:12:00 AM
Excellent and a lovely Cabaret too... ;) Chat Noir, that is...
  Comment from Blogger Red Bull at Friday, November 02, 2007 12:23:00 PM
Ah but how is the gameplay in the cabaret? For us gamers, that's all that matters....
  Comment from Blogger gnome at Sunday, November 04, 2007 7:57:00 AM
That and half-dressed deep voiced jazz singers in saten...
  Comment from Blogger Lee at Tuesday, November 06, 2007 3:10:00 PM

One of the better games you've posted.
  Comment from Blogger Red Bull at Tuesday, November 06, 2007 9:59:00 PM
I love the game. I still play it here and there. It's so elegant.

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The Red Bull Diary is the personal pulpit and intellectual dumping-ground for its author, an amateur game designer, professional programmer, political centrist and incurable skeptic. The Red Bull Diary is gaming, game design, politics, development, geek culture, and other such nonsense.