Catch the Moon is a…
Catch the Moon is an interesting little dexterity game which…
Catch the Moon is a dexterity game. And sometimes I wonder why I do these things.
I am dyspraxic. Quick comparisons are to having lag between my brain and my body. My spatial coordination is horrendous, as are my reaction times. It’s fine a lot of the time, but in others it can seem like I’m living in a game of Mouse Trap. I was kept away from competitive sports at school, remaining in the special needs room unattended to write stories and photocopy a Warhammer 40,000 manual from a friend when I couldn’t afford to buy a copy myself.
So why do I come back to games like this?
I look at the amount of collapsed ladders, the tears the moon is crying and I wonder why. I won’t play Dread as a player, because I’m starting the RPG on hard mode. My character’s going to die really quickly because I can’t do well with a Jenga tower.
Jenga’s a good place to start looking at what Catch the Moon actually is. As a quick pitch, think of a kind of reverse Jenga, but with ladders. You start with a cloud and a pair of straight ladders, two of the only ones in the game. From there, you roll a die and have to place a malformed ladder onto the stack.
Ladders have to touch strictly one or two other ladders, depending on the die roll. That or, almost more cruelly, you have to place your ladder higher than any other in the stack. This guarantees that you’ll be growing your wooden mess of a frame up towards the sky.
Unlike Jenga, you don’t have the tension of defusing a bomb, instead you can feel out your placement of the ladder. You never (or at least I never) know how one piece will interact with another. The structure creaks and shifts, moving almost organically as you try to find a home for your piece.
If anything falls or touches the ground, you take a tear. The most of those loses you the game, which is a simple scoring method, although the small amount of tears means you’ll probably see who’ll be losing the game fairly early. Games of this are short, though, even with a large group of players. I brought this to my writing group and it was a calmly tense setting. In this game you’re making something pretty, after all. The tangle of ladders takes a familiar object, mutates it and places it into a nice setting. As much as I like Junk Art, it is ultimately junk, it’s frantic and takes a lot longer if you’re playing a full game.
I’m not good at using my hand-eye coordination, but I’m still drawn moth-like to video games like Rock Band and dexterity games like this. In this environment I don’t feel as hindered as games like Jenga. I’m also a sucker for a pretty game. Dixit was one of my top ten of all time, Ryan Laukat’s designs have been something I’ve increasingly fallen in love with. The aesthetic quality of building a knot of ladders and the freedom to feel out the object you’re collectively building feels like it’s something I can do, even with my awful coordination.
It probably belongs as a filler game, although it takes more space than Love Letter, Coup or One Night Ultimate Werewolf. If you want a short, chilled dexterity game, I’d definitely recommend Catch the Moon.