It’s not every day a SMALL rule systems comes along that absolutely NAILS a genre. I think Tooth and Claw is such a game. While the rules are just 8 pages, this is not a beer and pretzels game… it has some real depth. It’s about social interaction. It’s about heroics and secrets. And the rules reflect this very well indeed.
So, what on earth is this game all about? Put simply, it’s about what pets, in this case, ferrets, get up to when humans are not looking. I think ferrets are a great animal for this sort of game, because they are natural little fighters… and cute as well. I once went ferreting for rabbits on my farm, and I can assure you, these little critters are hunters, explorers, adventurers and killers in equal measure. So, yeah, perfect for an RPG about brave pets.
What most impressed me about this game was the “business sheet” concept, where social interactions are developed at the start of the game. Shades of Fiasco, but quicker and simpler (much like ferrets).
This game is no Bunnies and Burrows (which I love), which harkens back to games such as Tunnels and Trolls. It has a slick, modern ‘narrative’ game feel.
Now the drawbacks: the production value is not top-shelf, but is certainly far from the worst I have encountered. You can see the love shining through in the design, and the rules are all where you expect them to me, so I can forgive a few quirks here and there.
I can certainly see myself running this game with my young niece and nephew, or at the Children’s hospital as part of Ward Wizards. It’s a great game for socializing, and for having players generate quirky and creative solutions to any situations the GM can dream up… I’m thinking ferrets save the house from Alien invaders!
At $1, you can’t go wrong. It’s a great little game to keep around. And the money goes to a good cause too!