Cat & The Mouse Rules

“You have to let that case go,” They keep telling me. “You have to give up on it. It’s just rich people problems.”

They don’t understand. This isn’t about money—this is about the law. The Mouse is a blight on the city, a defiant reminder that there’s no reason to respect the law. I’ve lost respect in my department, but I am not giving up on this.

This matters.

I found one of The Mouse’s hideouts—I found the blueprints. I know what the Mouse is targeting, and I know when. At the DeMurph Estate—here, tonight, during a soiree held by the millionaire technologist.

DeMurph trusts the guards to keep the first floor safe, but says the top storey can be my stake. I don’t think they believed me—they’re just being kind, to a fool chasing a shadow.

This is going to be the lynchpin of my career. If I fail tonight, I’ll surely be fired. A wild chase into nothing—but I’m prepared. I will win this dance of ours.

You can be the Mouse—but I, the Inspector, will be your cat.

Introduction

Cat and The Mouse is a two-player battle of wits between the Inspector, a hard-bitten loner in pursuit of justice, and the free-spirited master thief, The Mouse. The two have been circling each other for weeks now, with The Mouse growing ever more daring.

But this time, tonight, the Inspector has an unexpected trump: copies of the plans that The Mouse made for a raid on the prestigious DeMurph Estate.

Now, The Mouse will have to clean out this posh mansion right under the Inspector’s nose. Meanwhile, The Inspector pores over The Mouse’s map, adding their own notes, and creating an inescapable net that’s drawing ever tighter…

Will The Mouse be able to make their getaway with the loot? Or will the ardent Inspector finally catch our daring thief once and for all?

First, both players choose a character card—The Mouse, or the Inspector. This card shows your role during the game. Next, divide the the remaining cards into two decks: Map cards, and Loot cards.

  • Map Cards show the blueprints of the estate, and the Inspector’s notes. The Inspector will be using these cards to deduce The Mouse’s location and win the game.
  • Loot Cards show the various items The Mouse can pinch. The Mouse will be collecting cards from this deck, trying to make a set of matching items to win the game.

From now on, instructions are divided between The Inspector and the Mouse. Look for the Cat or Mouse icon to see which instructions are for you!

Turn One

Cat

Cat Icon

Search the Loot deck for a card and remove it face-down. You can’t take Trick cards. You now have these items on your person. The Mouse is trying to assemble sets of loot, so this is your chance to break up some sets.

Mouse

Mouse Icon

Begin by deciding where you’ll start your Heist. The house is full of rooms with multiple routes in and out, making it basically impossible for the lone inspector to keep up with where you are.

Search the Map Deck, and choose a card. Remove that card from the deck and set it face-down in front of you. You can look at this card at any time.

Then, deal the top two cards of the Loot deck, face-down in front of your Room.

The Inspector’s Turn

Cat

Cat Icon

You always take your turn before The Mouse takes theirs.

First, draw two cards from the top of the Map deck. Choose one and place it face-down in front of you, and place the other card on the bottom of the Map deck.

You’re now monitoring this room, limiting The Mouse’s ability to mislead you. If you’re unsure of which rooms you’re monitoring, you can check them at any time during your turn.

Now, you can choose one of two actions:

  • If you want to narrow down The Mouse’s location, you can Check For Clues.
  • If you’re confident you know where the Mouse is hiding, you can Spring the Trap!

Tell The Mouse which action you’re taking, and let them respond accordingly.

Checking for Clues

Cat

Cat Icon

If The Mouse names a room you’re monitoring, you’ve found a Clue! Flip the Map card showing that room face-up, as a sign that you’re closing in on your adversary.

If you get three Clues, you’ve pinpointed The Mouse’s location. You win the game!

Mouse

Mouse Icon

When the Inspector tells you they’re Checking for Clues, it’s your chance to
throw them off your tail!

Name a room number (between 1 and 12) to draw The Inspector’s attention to that room—presumably away from your true location. But be careful! If you name a room the Inspector is monitoring, you’ll give them a clue that helps lead them straight to you.

Springing the Trap

Cat

Cat Icon

Name a room number (between 1 and 12) to summon DeMurph’s security forces to that room.

If it’s the room The Mouse is currently in, you win the game!

If you call security to the wrong room, The Mouse escapes in the confusion! Whether or not The Mouse wins, Inspector— you lose!

Mouse

Mouse Icon

When the Inspector springs the trap, you have to flip over your Map card, revealing your current location. If the Inspector is correct, you’ve been caught!

If the Inspector was incorrect, you slip away safely. See you next heist, master
thief!

The Mouse’s Turn

Mouse

Mouse Icon

Once the inspector has taken their turn, it’s your show. Choose one action from your bag of thiefy tricks:

  • You can look for appealing trinkets by Looting the Room you’re currently in.
  • If there’s no good loot in your current room, you can Change Rooms.
  • If you’re happy with your haul, you can End the Heist to make your getaway!

Looting the Room

Look at the Loot cards attached to your current location. Choose one Loot card to keep, put the others back, and end your turn.

Looting isn’t just about value. After all, anyone can make money! What you want, as a discerning scoundrel, is to show off your taste and skill by collecting a matched set. Once you have three Loot cards that share either a theme or value, you’re good to go!

Changing Rooms

If there’s no loot left in your current location, or you simply don’t want the loot that’s here, you can use your turn to Change Rooms.

Add your current room card, face down, to the rooms the Inspector is monitoring (the Inspector can check it on their own turn, if they wish). Any Loot cards still attached to that room are now also monitored, safely beyond the reach of your sticky fingers.

Now you may choose a new room from the cards remaining in the Map deck. You can use this chance to see which rooms are missing from the deck—but it’s up to you to remember which ones they are!

Once you’ve chosen a new room, attach two new Loot cards to it, just like on your first turn. Then, end your turn.

Ending the Heist

Your third option is to use your turn to End the Heist, and make your escape! Make your move wisely, because your loot will determine if this action wins you the game, or loses it.

Remember, you don’t just want loot—you want sets of loot. You must collect three pieces of loot that share either the same value ($10,000, $20,000 or $30,000), or the same theme (The Glory Tryptich, The Gem Collection or the Animal Statuettes).

If you End the Heist with a matching set of loot in your pockets, you’ve made good on your plans. You win the game!

If, on the other hand, all you’ve got is random bits, well, you might as well have nothing!

If you End the Heist without a matching set of loot in your pockets, the Inspector has scared you off. You lose this one, scoundrel!

Extra Tricks

As you may have noticed, there are a few cards in the Loot deck that aren’t like the others. These special Tricks are clever techniques that The Mouse can use to get an edge against the Inspector, so both players want to be familiar with them.

Tricks are placed with the rest of The Mouse’s loot. When The Mouse uses a Trick, they must show the card, and discard it after playing it.

Calling Card

If the Inspector Springs the Trap and correctly names the Mouse’s location, this Trick lets The Mouse avoid capture. The Inspector doesn’t win or lose, and play continues as normal (The Mouse probably wants to Change Rooms immediately on their turn).

Smoke Bomb

Normally, The Mouse has to use their entire turn to End the Heist. The Smoke Bomb allows The Mouse to End the Heist at any time, even if the already used their turn to loot or move. Grab the loot and run!

Pickpocket

The Pickpocket Trick allows The Mouse to grab a loot card literally out of the Inspector’s pocket. However, The Mouse must End the Heist immediately after they choose a loot card—so if the Inspector isn’t holding what you think, you might have just lost yourself the game!

Fine Tuning

Different players enjoy different challenges. If you’ve played the game a few times, you may be getting the feeling that one role is naturally easier to play than the other.

If you want to customise the game to adjust difficulty for one player or another, here are some simple rules variants.

Subtle Movement

Advantage: Mouse

When The Mouse changes rooms, they can choose one face-down room from those that the Inspector is monitoring. Before they choose their new location, they shuffle that card into the Map deck.

This rule advantages The Mouse by making the game slower. The Inspector is unlikely to trap The Mouse, and probably has to rely on finding three clues instead. This gives The Mouse more time to assemble a particular set of loot.

Deep Pockets

Advantage: Inspector

At the start of the game, the Inspector can take one extra card from the Loot deck. If The Mouse uses the Pickpocket Trick, only one of these cards can be taken.

This rule advantages the Inspector by allowing them to break up two different sets of loot. This makes it more difficult for The Mouse to assemble a complete set, and increases the chance that they will waste time on sets they can never complete.

Credits

Development: Talen Lee
Artwork & Documentation: Talen Lee & Fox Lee
Special Thanks:
Murph, for lending their name
Casey, for loving Inspectors
Elli, for the walk where I thought of this
Pendix, for map consultation
Resources:
Viscious-speed • Delapouite • Lorc
Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via http://game-icons.net

An accessible HTML rulebook will be available soon. For now, please download the PDF version instead.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *