Contents: Rulebook and 54 cards.
Overview: Achieve the lowest score in the round. This is done by getting rid of the high-numbered rat cards and hanging onto the lower numbered cat cards.
Setup: Select a dealer and a score keeper. The dealer shuffles the deck and deals four cards to each player (one at a time) face down. The remaining cards in the deck are placed face down in the center of the table to create the draw pile.
Turn over the top card of the draw pile and place it next to the draw pile, creating the discard pile. If the card is a “Power” card, return it to the deck, shuffle, and flip another card.
Without looking at their cards, each player places their cards in a line in front of them, face down.
Once each player’s hand is in a line face down on the table, everyone looks at the first and last card in the line. You can only do this once, so remember the number of the card, as you will need to have it in mind throughout the game. If either of the cards are a “Power” card, you keep them in your line, but they don’t have the powers that they normally have (powers explained below).
The player to the left of the dealer begins the round, with play continuing clockwise.
On your turn you may choose to draw the top card from the discard pile. If you draw a card from the discard pile, it must be used to replace a card in your hand. The card replaced is then discarded (always discard face up).
You may choose to draw a card from the top of the draw pile. If drawn from the draw pile, you may either discard the card immediately, perform the associated power, or use it to replace a card in your line.
If the draw pile is depleted during a game, shuffle the discard pile and follow the previous rules for creating the draw and discard piles.
Peek: Reveal the Peek card if you draw it. You may now look at any one of the cards in your card line. Discard the Peek card, ending your turn.
Swap: When drawn, reveal the Swap card and discard it. You may choose to swap any card in your card line with a card in another player’s line. You may not look at either card prior to swapping. Swapping is optional if you are the one who draws the Swap card.
Draw Two: Upon drawing the Draw Two card, reveal it and discard it. You can choose to take up to two more turns. Draw another card from the draw pile. Choose whether to keep the card or discard it. If you keep it, you do not get to take your second additional turn. If you discard it, take your second extra turn. If you draw a Draw Two during any of your extra turns, begin the sequence again.
Ending a Round: The round ends when a player thinks they have the lowest score on the board and wish to end the game. Announce that you want to end the game at the end of your turn by knocking on the table and saying “Rat-A-Tat Cat.” Each player then turns over their cards. Any “Power” cards must be replaced by drawing a card from the draw pile and exchanging the “Power” card with the drawn card.
Scoring: Players add the point value of all of their cards. This number equals their score for the round.
Repeat this process for either a set number of rounds, a set amount of time, or until all other players have “busted” by reaching a set point number (100, 250, etc). Under the last option, every time someone reaches the point ceiling, they bust out of the game, and play continues in the next round without them. Continue this process until there is only one winner.
Winning: However you decide to end the game, the player with the lowest number of points wins.
Variant for Younger Players: You may choose to have all players play with their outer cards revealed if players are too young to remember all of their cards, while simultaneously trying to guess their opponents cards. In this variant, Swap cards cannot target the revealed cards. All other rules remain the same.