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Review: Sparkle*Kitty

*boom, boom, boom* ‘one hundred’ says Princess Punch as she takes a deep breath. Her morning
routine which consists of 100 jumping jacks, 100 squats, 100 push-ups and 100 jabs against the tower
wall, has kept her mind clear and turned her into the best shape of her life. Though she could save
herself from any tower, this tower was cursed and she and all her fellow princesses are waiting for the
lost spell to be spoken to free them. Until that time, she will continue to work out and think about
getting out and living her dream; becoming the greatest warrior since Hercules.

Sparkle*Kitty starts by placing the Spell Book in the centre of the table, shuffling the Spell Cards and
each player taking a princess and 9 cards from the deck. Without looking at their cards players take 4
and place them face down under their princess to form a tower. The remaining 5 cards can then be
taken up into their hand for use in the game.

On a player’s turn they can:

  • Play a Spell Card from their hand to either side of the Spell Book as long as it matches the colour or
    icon of the previous card in that pile. They then must say out loud the new spell, If a player is caught
    not saying the words then they must add a face-down card to their Tower.
  • Play a Dark Magic Card from their hand next to their princess. They then take a card from their hand
    and place it face-down on another player’s Tower. The words on any Dark Magic cards must be said aloud by the player before spell words on the Spell Book on every turn, or they suffer the
    consequence of having a card added to their Tower.
  • Play a Special Card from their hand to either pile on the Spell Book. These cards are wild and have
    the following special effects:

    • Rainbow – If a player’s hand is empty after playing the Rainbow card they may take two
      cards off their Tower and add them to their hand
    • Infinite – After playing an Infinite card a player may play as many cards from their hand until
      they can’t anymore
    • Fudge – Force another player to draw back up to 5 cards in their hand
  • Pass their turn if they have no valid play to make.

The goal of the game is to remove all Tower cards from beneath your princess. This can be done in a few
ways:

  • Emptying your hand allows you to remove one card from your Tower into your hand, and then
    draw back up to 5 cards.
  • “Doubling” a card that’s already in play with a duplicate from your hand. This can be done at any
    time, even when it’s not your turn, as a free action. If you can pull this off you get a card from
    your Tower into your hand.
  • Playing a “Sparkle” or “Kitty” card from your hand onto a matching colour card on the Spell Book.
    This will allow you to take a card from your Tower into your hand.
    Any of the above can be combined to allow you to take multiple cards from your Tower at a time. The first player to clear their Tower of cards is the winner.

I can’t comment on Sparkle*Kitty before I tell you about the art, and wow, just wow. The art is amazing
for 2 reasons:

1. The artist, Leah Artwick, has done an amazing job of capturing each princess energy &
personality. Each Princess just comes alive on the card, it is very rare that I see an artist’s ability
to capture a person’s energy, personality and story, let alone doing all of that on a single playing
card.

2. In an industry that is male-dominated, women are often pictured in an over-sexualised and in an
unrealistic manner. Sparkle*Kitty has princesses of all race, size, background and walk of life; it’s
is so beautiful and refreshing to see.

I played this game with a group of guys, and again with “The Angels” (my 2 nieces and one of their
friends). I really wanted to get both sides and see what the different groups thought of it. My friends
thought it was actually a really fun game. They loved the art and then, funnily enough, took quite a bit
longer than expected to pick their princesses as they had several they really liked. It was actually kind of
funny to see men in their early to mid-30’s discuss and talk out which princess they wanted. What is
even funnier is, the princess you choose has no bearing whatsoever on the game. None, not even a
little. You could replace the princess with ogre cards, a shot glasses or coins. They would all do exactly
the same, but it is that art that makes this choice hard.

Speaking of hard, playing this game with “The Angels” took forever. Not because the game is hard to
teach or learn; or that they didn’t understand the rules. ‘The Angels’ had the exact problem as my friends, choosing the right Princess. Eventually, we decided that they could have multiple Princesses, so
that they would have someone to talk to and that they all got to join in the fun. And fun they had, all the
princess got new names, they would talk to one another and the game actually ended with ‘The Angels’
and Princesses having a tea party in their room. We called that game a draw.

Sparkle*Kitty is a light family card game that really is adorable. It is really easy to learn, fun to play and a
great family game. It also has a heap of laughs and for those younger, it can really help with reading too.
I also find the quicker you play this the more fun it is, as you get court up in the moment and looking for
the doubling bonus or trying to figure out how to best empty your hand and forget to read out your
cards. Then watch everyone laugh as you add another tower piece to your tower, normally mumbling
something that is very un-princess-like.

This may not win awards for the most technically advanced game, but it really has a place in my heart
and especially with the ‘The Angels’ (who stole their favourite princess). It is a great little family game and a game that will be a regular at any games night or future babysitting duties with ‘the Angels’.

Sparkle*Kitty is a game that is a good fun game and due to Leah’s artwork, one that I think should be
celebrated for its acceptance and portrayal of princesses of all shape, size, gender and background.

If you would like to pick up a copy of this game, which I highly recommend, please visit Breaking Games
store.

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Derek 'Dez' Maggs

Board Game & Tech Reviewer / Podcast Host of Rapid Reviews on the Boomer Radio Network / Assistant Producer of Creaytors Series on YouTube / Coffee & Hug Addict

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