What the heck, this is quick and I've got a little time before I need to start dinner.
The Game: Laser Kittens
The Publisher: Glittercats Fine Amusements
Degree of Familiarity: Almost none. I've read it and I knew the people involved in making it.
Books Required: Just the one.
So, Laser Kittens is by no means the only RPG in which you play cats; I've made characters for a couple of them already. But it is the only one with a really strong, original concept. Cat and Call of Catthulhu play on existing mythologies, kinda-sorta, but Laser Kittens introduces a weird, interesting framework for the kitties: You're playing kittens at the Knoll Street School for Wayward Kittens, learning how to cat from older cats. Part of that includes controlling your laser.
I've only read the book; I haven't played the game and I'm not sure how the game would work at the table, but the people who have played it (my kids included) have really liked it. Plus it uses cards, which of course I find compelling. So what the heck, should I have the chance, I might give it a whirl.
For now, however, let's check out chargen.
Laser Kittens is very much collaborative (it's actually GM-less), and character creation isn't specifically called out as such in the game; it's all part of game set-up. Unless I'm missing something here, you're basically naming the kitten, picking a laser, deciding on classes and picking a grade in that class. Normally the players would decide on classes as a group (everyone picks one), but, as always, it's just me.
Well, since it is just me, I'm gonna say that my kitten came to the KSSWK as part of a litter found in a box on Christmas Day. The box had shreds of wrapping paper on it and a half-mangled bow, and there's probably a really sad story there but the kittens don't know it. Anyway, the kittens all have Christmas-themed nicknames, and my kitten, this orange tabby with weird spots on his tail, is nicknamed Boxing Day (it being Boxing Day today OOH HOW META).
If I were in a group, we'd make up NPCs, some details about the house, an adult cat professor, a human and so forth. Since it's just me, I'm just gonna choose classes. There's a list in the book, along with associated cards. Actually, I think I'm fine picking these randomly. I can zip over to the handy-dandy card dealer here, even. Picking five cards, I get Film Studies, Chemistry, Interior Design, Music, and Culinary Arts. Huh, very liberal arts, this school.
Now I pick a laser. Here's where I'd get dealt a hand of cards of my very own and use one card to choose a laser. Sure, sounds good. Well, with the hand I have, I can pick control over the litter box (loo loo loo, though I might have chosen "ew ew ew" as that laser...oh, wait, there is a laser with that name and it just grants power over messes in general); dew dew dew (power over water); clue clue clue (information and hints from nowhere); shoo shoo shoo (sends things away); or two two two (duplicates things). Huh, tough choice. I think I'll go with two two two, and I'll say that Boxing Day is crossed-eyed.
Next, I give myself grades in my classes. I get two As, two Bs, and a C (the classes, while they sound academic in an official sort of way, are pretty broad; one example in the book has a kitten use Film Studies to jump on the strength of watching a lot of kung fu movies).
Well, I'll say my As are in Film Studies (lots of Xmas movies) and music (carols!), my Bs are in Chemistry and Culinary Arts (those seem kinda related) and my C is in Interior Design (I was raised in a cardboard box, whaddya want).
And the other thing on the sheet, lessons, happen in play, so I guess that's me done!