Can’t Catch Harry is a recently fulfilled Kickstarter project from James Rallison. Not a game designer you know? Rallison is better known as the talent behind the animated YouTube channel Odd 1s Out.
The game and the weirdly cute accompanying moth models are based off a traumatic childhood memory and a popular video which is shown at the bottom of this review. I think the game will cause you to punch your sister. By accident.
Geek Native does not condone sister punching. Instead, we’re all about saving moths from the siren lure of the baleful lamp.
The set up in Can’t Catch Harry is simple and take seconds. Unroll the dinky play mat that comes with the game, place the lantern model and the four moth models (one of which is Harry) on the mat and play some cards.
Card play is supposed to be fast and frantic, and the critical mechanic has you passing cards to the player clockwise to you.
The goal is to collect a set of four. There’s not much skill to the game at this point but the card passing keeps people’s hands busy and acts as an unpredictable countdown timer.
When one player has four matching cards, its moth rescue time and there’s a mad rush to pick up the models. If you catch Harry, you score the most points. If you’re left with the lantern, then you lose points.
The game can be played with just two players. In that case, you play with only one moth model and the lantern.
And this is when, I think, you’ll punch your sister. You won’t do it on purpose, but hands will clash, and there will be contact.
The game is over once someone has 11 points. Can’t Catch Harry does that evil thing where you need to score exactly 11 points to win. If you go over, then you score no points for that round and have to try again.
There are also some nice mechanics in the collect four aspects of the card game. There’s a Harry set to collect, which unlike every other set of cards, is worth points. There’s a Devil set too. If anyone completes the Devil cards, then no one scores any points, except for the Devil player and they score the value of the moth (or lantern) they grab.
It’s also notable that the moths are nice to hold. They’re a sort of solid and yet squeezable plastic. They feel good in your fingers. Resist the urge to crush the moth.
Suggested house rules for Can’t Catch Harry
Geek Native HQ discovered quickly that Can’t Catch Harry really needs some strong house rules.
Firstly, once someone has caught a moth then they should get to keep the moth. This means no trying to pry the higher scoring model from their hands. Or tickles.
Another recommended house rule that was forged after a few tests is that there needs to be some sort of etiquette around revealing you have a set of four. As a suggestion, the player declaring a set of four has to begin lowering those four cards to the table before making a snatch at the highest value moth. Maybe the triggering player can try and catch Harry while showing their set of four at once, but they can’t scoop the moth first and then reveal their cards.
If you’re using the game mat, then rotate it between rounds so that the highest-scoring moths aren’t always closest to the same people.
Lastly, consider a penalty point for anyone who accidentally punches a rival player while making a desperate grab for a moth.
Harry the Moth
This video has had over 30 million views. Harry is famous.
Can’t Catch Harry is delightfully simple to play and takes no time at all. Having just reviewed the drinking game BARPIG: After Hours I’m confident that Can’t Catch Harry would be equal parts hilarious and disastrous if attempted drunk.
While simplicity is a strength of the game, I’m sure you’ll find a desperate need for some house rules.
Can’t Catch Harry is a lark. I think it’ll leave the games cupboard on special occasions. I don’t think it’s my go-to game for relaxing or thoughtful contemplation.
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