Making The Purr-fect Roll And Write: An Interview with Ta-Te WuJanuary 28, 2019
Interview with the designer, Ta-Te Wu (Cat Rescue) on his new game that mixes cats, Suduko puzzles and roll and writes – Cat Sudoku.
Thanks for joining us today, to talk about Cat Sudoku. Could you tell us what type of game it is and a little bit about how it is played?
Ta-Te: Thank you, Ryan, for your interest and taking the time supporting Cat Sudoku!
Cat Sudoku is a roll and write Sudoku puzzle game for 1 to 6 players. The goal of the game is to complete sudoku puzzle using number 1 to 6 and making sure numbers are unique in every continuous row and column. At the beginning of the game, the starting player rolls four dice and all players enter the same die roll in a specially designed matrix and create a unique sudoku puzzle of their own. Every turn, active player rolls four dice then choose a number as wild. All players use the same die roll to fill their puzzle. When someone completed their puzzle or a wild number cannot be chosen, the game ends immediately. The player scores the highest points wins the game.
What is the story behind the creation of Cat Sudoku?
Ta-Te: I am Sudoku enthusiast and have designed a few different Sudoku games in the past. The biggest challenge in the previous designs is the cost product of number tokens. Now roll and write mechanic is wildly accepted and it seems to be an excellent resolution for number tokens. I think it is a perfect time to design another Sudoku game using the roll and write mechanic.
Why Cat Sudoku? Why not 🙂 Traditional squares Sudoku puzzle is kinda boring. Cats are cute and they are awesome!
In Cat Sudoku, besides turning Sudoku into a roll and write, you have also changed up a few other things like the grid isn’t square based, but based around a shape of a cat (making almost a pixel cat shape). Also if there is a blank space between spaces, that allows you to place the same number again. Was there a lot of trials and error testing to get Cat Sudoku to work, or were you able to pretty much get the system in place with ease?
Ta-Te: You are correct. It definitely required lots of trial and errors. In a square based puzzle, there isn’t much room to manipulate and hype up the entertainment value. In Cat Sudoku, I bring down the number challenge down a notch so the game can progress quicker and players can enjoy the fun of completing a puzzle. At the same time, puzzles shouldn’t be too easy to complete or complete with a perfect score. That will make the game boring. The fun, I believe, comes from making key decisions, competing with others and working in a cat puzzle. It’s like you are playing with a cat but it’s a puzzle.
For the Kickstarter, when you finally get there, what is the plan to include the box. How many different puzzles? Will they be paper or laminated?
Ta-Te: Ideally there will be two packages: Easy and Intermediate. Both will come with six laminated boards. Easy will have Level 1 on one side and level 2 on the other. Intermediate will have Level 2 on one side and Level 3 on the other. All sides will have unique puzzle and cat. That’s the goal 🙂
Is this something that you hope after people buy the initial l kit you can release maybe new sheets for printing on a website, either free or for money?
Ta-Te: Cat Sudoku generates unique Sudoku puzzle every game. The gaming experience will most likely be unique every time. So I don’t think people would need more sheets. And if they buy two copies, 12 people can play at the same time.
That been said, if the market is up for the Advance edition after Kickstarter, I will be more than happy to publish it.
What are the challenges you faced in making Sudoku (even in a game roll and write form) multiplayer?
Ta-Te: In every Sudoku game, I tried to balance between time, interaction and tension. How long should a game last and how many turns per game is sufficient for the current game and a follow-up play? How many numbers are allowed to enter in a turn and how to decrease and limit downtime between players? Can there be another important decision-making process other than placing numbers in the puzzle? I think Cat Sudoku came out pretty well mostly because of its Turn Tracker. First, it helps to keep the game to run 16 or less turn. At the beginning of every turn, the active player has to decide on a wild number which could be challenging, especially towards the end of the game. Finally, it gives players a little sense of feeling of cooperativeness.
There is actually a website currently up where gamers not only can you sign up for a Kickstarter notice, but if readers hurry and sign up, they can get a solo game delivered to their email. How long will you be supporting that?
Ta-Te: Yes, that’s right. If you sign up to receive Cat Sudoku Kickstarter updates, you will receive a weekly puzzle. It is a unique cat and puzzle every week. The earlier you sign up the better because you will receive more cat puzzles than others who sign up later. The original plan was to supply a weekly puzzle until the end of February but we are planning to extend to March or April.
The website, mentions that there will be an exclusive expansion for those that sign up for the Kickstarter newsletter and then back on the Kickstarter. What is the Tuna Expansion?
Ta-Te: The Tuna Expansion is a game event expansion set. A random event is drawn at the beginning of the game and it makes the gaming experience a little different every time.
When can we expect the Kickstarter for Cat Suduko?
Ta-Te: We are going to launch Promenade in April. If everything goes well, Cat Sudoku should be on Kickstarter five to six months after.
As we wrap this up, I want to end with one more Cat Sudoku question. What in your opinion makes Cat Suduko fun for both puzzle fans and roll and write game fans?
Ta-Te: Cat Sudoku is a light Sudoku game. It’s perfect for people who are new to Sudoku because it is easy to learn and fun to play. For experienced players, they can compete in their Sudoku skill and see who is actually better. Plus game time is short. Most people play two to three games at a time.
Sudoku’s gameplay is natural to roll and write because Sudoku is a writing game. In Cat Sudoku, players roll dice to setup puzzle and game turns. The die roll in the game enhances the puzzle solving and it hardly feels random. Finally, all players take turns simultaneously, therefore, it doesn’t have downtime, unless you are the slow one. It is definitely fun to check out.
Thank you again, Ta-Te, for taking time out to do this interview.
Ta-Te can be found on Twitter @Tatewu1. Readers can find the sign up for Cat Sudoku, that will not only keep them updated on the Kickstarter but get some puzzles sent to their emails at http://catsudoku.launchrock.com/.Cat Sudoku can also be followed along at its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CatSudoku/