Character Powers: The Trouble with Boss Cat
There’s only one Kitty's powers in the game that I’ve wrestled with and that’s Boss Cat. A lot of games have a character like this (see the Dispatcher in Pandemic). Some people reeeeeaaally don’t like playing this type of role because you often don’t get to perform your own actions and instead use your turn manipulating other characters. It can feel almost like you don’t get to play. Others don’t like it when someone in the group is playing this role because they might use it as an opportunity to boss other people around, losing the collaborative feel. This is known as the Alpha player problem and, I’ll be honest, it’s not one that I’ve figured out how to get around yet.
And then there are lots of people who enjoy these roles! I happen to be one of them, I’m frequently the Dispatcher when we play Pandemic. For me it makes my turn feel more impactful and I think of it as helping us focus fire.
One of the most interesting takes on this role that I’ve seen is in The Captain is Dead where nobody has this as a character power but instead, everybody can use the transporter to move other characters around. In the end, I decided to make Boss Cat an option because you don’t have to play as Boss Cat if you don’t want to! I’m also experimenting with a gear build (it’s a Megaphone) that would let other kitties exercise this power.
We’ll see how it ends up in the final version, but playtesting so far is pointing to Boss Cat having a very specific utility: they can get kitties out of the way of the dog. When things go awry on the turn, having Boss Cat act as clean up can save you from a fight with the Dog. So perhaps the strongest argument for Boss Cat is in dog management. Only time will tell.