Overall Rating: 9/10
GLAM Age Range: 4-8
Number of Players: 2-6
Playing Time: 20 min
Available At: Amazon.com
Quick Take: My go-to birthday present for six year olds. The concept is simple and the game is fun and quick. It's a little bit of memory and a little bit of strategy with some luck thrown in for good measure. The official playing time is 20 minutes but I often play just a couple rounds with my kids so it can be as short or as long as you want it to be. And if you want to teach some simple math skills this game is a great tool.
How to Play: The goal is to end up with the lowest scoring hand at the end of each round. Each player is dealt 4 cards face down. They can peek at the two outer cards but then they can't look again unless they get a special Peek card. There is a draw stack, players take turns drawing cards and deciding if they want to replace one of their own cards with the new card. Each turn they place an unwanted card in the discard pile. It is also allowed to choose the top card from the discard pile. There are some power cards: Peek, Swap, or Take Two. Peek lets you look at one of your cards that is face down, Swap allows you to swap one card with an opponent's card, and Take Two allows you to draw an extra two cards from the draw pile. Once you think your hand is lower than your opponent's hand you say Rat-A-Tat Cat! And then everyone flips over the cards and counts up their points. Lowest score is the winner!
Variations: With young kids we always play with the outer two cards turned up to make it a little easier. It makes it a lot nicer to coach younger siblings through the game when you can see their cards and they only have to remember the middle two. Also, you don't have to play the full number of rounds they suggest in the official rules. I love games you can scale to age and skill level and Rat-A-Tat is great for allowing for this.