I’ve played two party games published by Breaking Games before. (Billionaire Banshee and Game of Phones. Both games are a blast, and delightfully wicked in their own ways.) So, I was looking forward to trying Sparkle*Kitty Nights!
As a party game, Sparkle*Kitty Nights needs four or more people to play, so I waited a few weeks until I had an opportunity to try it out with friends. After not-very-much coaxing, my buddy Matt checked out the rules, and all four of us dove in!
What is Sparkle*Kitty Nights?
Sparkle*Kitty Nights is the naughtier successor to Breaking Games’ Sparkle*Kitty card game. The original Sparkle*Kitty is a social card adventure game where you play princesses working to rescue themselves from their towers by casting spell words. Sparkle*Kitty Nights is similar, but the words work themselves into more risqué spells.
Sparkle*Kitty Nights gameplay
The object of Sparkle*Kitty Nights is to help your knight escape their tower (made of face-down cards) by using spells. The more spells you can generate, the faster you can get the hell out of your tower ! We played by the standard rules, though there is a “dragon” ruleset to play if you had an odd number of players.
Basically, you start with your knight (face down), and build a tower of 3 random spell cards. You’re then given a hand of 5 random spell cards, and take turns either putting down new spell words, screwing your friends with special spell cards, or trying to catch your friends messing up. The latter aspect keeps you super-aware of gameplay, and we sorted out the rules as we went (because nobody wanted to mess up and get “punished” by another player!).
Warning: If you mess up your spell-word, and another player calls you out, you have to draw another card! So it’s an extra level of pressure. Especially since you’re bound to mess up spells by laughing too hard at some combos.
As turns pass, and cards are discarded in the “key hole” area, you slowly whittle down your tower cards and try to work as fast as you can to expose your knight.
It gets more complicated as you learn the other knights you’re secretly matched with have to escape too–and you don’t know who they are, until they’re exposed as well! So as you help/hinder other players, it’s completely random if you’re aiding or ruining your chances of winning the round.
The game moves pretty quickly, depending on how quickly you pick up the rules, and a match lasts about 15-20 minutes. It’s a really great pick-up-and-play game with enough complexity to keep things interesting. (But simple enough to follow along if you wanna get your drink on as you game!)
Sparkle*Kitty Nights artwork and quality
The artwork is gorgeous! I was secretly bummed at the concept of the key art (knight tarot-sized cards) being turned face-down as a core game mechanic. The art is so pretty that I wanted to enjoy my character the entire time!
The artwork also has a great feminist twist–most of the knight cards are women of different archetypes and body types!
The naughty factor
The game is as clean or as naughty as your group intends to make it. After our first round, we decided to enjoy our second round with a glass of wine, because we were laughing so hard at some of the spell combos! It’s not as crass as Cards Against Humanity, but it’s definitely got some kick with a creative, dirty-minded group.
On that note, you’ll want to warn any players who aren’t comfortable with dirty jokes before they join the game.
Ease of play
The rules, despite being seemingly simple, took our group a little while to pick up. The game felt like a fantasy version of Uno, with some spice added with the spell cards. But in Uno, if you make a mistake, you don’t get reprimanded by gameplay — and in Sparkle*Kitty Nights, you learn to be VERY careful on your turn or else another knight is gonna call you out and “punish” you (and force those extra cards into your hand)!
Play or pass?
After picking up the rules, I’m definitely adding Sparkle*Kitty Nights to my game night game library. Sessions last about 15-20 minutes (depends on your group), the art is gorgeous, there are enough rule twists to keep things interesting!
I received a copy of the game in exchange for an honest review.