Episode 164: Isle of Cats

Click here for the direct download link for this week’s episode

1) The Pegs discuss their recent game plays including Crystal Palace, Azul: Summer Pavilion, Terraforming Mars: Turmoil and many more;

2) All the Pegs review Isle of Cats; and

3) Look back at Blackout: Hong Kong.

Join in the conversation for this episode over at our Board Game Geek guild.

Show Notes

00:01:02 – Trivia – Brian Setzer Orchestra


00:08:50 – Con Season!

00:17:42 – New swag! And don’t forget to visit our Redbubble store.


00:25:18Crystal Palace * [Buy] – Capstone Games; Designer: Carsten Lauber; Art: Andrea Alemanno;

00:38:24Azul: Summer Pavilion [Buy] – Next Move Games; Designer: Michael Kiesling; Art: Chris Quilliams;

00:46:00Terraforming Mars: Turmoil [Buy] – Stronghold Games; Designer: Jacob Fryxelius; Art: Isaac Fryxelius;

00:59:45Dice Settlers * [Buy] – Board&Dice; Designer: Dávid Turczi; Art: Mihajlo Dimitrievski;

01:07:20Valley of the Vikings * [Buy] – HABA; Designer: Marie Fort, Wilfried Fort; Art: Maximilian Meinzold;

01:15:35Winners Circle [Buy] – alea; Designer: Reiner Knizia ; Art: William O’Connor, U#, Franz Vohwinkel;


01:21:51 – Fun-K-Town

01:24:38 – Cosmic Encounter: Duel

01:28:12 – Verrago

01:36:41 – Castle of Tuscany

Isle of Cats [Buy]

01:39:28 – Rules Breakdown

Isle of Cats is a 2019 polyomino game by designer Frank West, with art by Dragolisco and Frank West , published by The City of Games.  Over the course of Isle of Cats, players will rescue cats – here represented by a variety of polyomino shapes – and store them on their boat, working to meet a collection of objectives obtained at various points throughout the game.

The game is played over five rounds, with five phases per round.  At the start of the game, a market is created by randomly drawing tiles out of a bag.  These tiles will primarily represent various shapes of the primary families, or colors, of cats – blue, purple, green, red, and orange.  However, tiles may also be rare treasures or a special wild cats called Oshax. Standard cats are sorted into the two halves of the market, one more expensive than the other.  Rare Treasures and Oshax are sorted into a separate area and may only be obtained through the use of special cards.

At the start of every round, each player receives 20 fish – the currency of the game.  Then, each player is dealt a hand of 7 Discovery cards. The cards represent a variety of abilities and actions in the game – primarily, green cards that allow players to rescue cats and determine player order; lesson cards that score points; anytime cards that provide a range of options; and treasure cards that allow the claiming of Rare Treasures and Orshax.  Players will select two cards and pass the rest of their hand to the next player, and will continue drafting like this until they have a hand of 7 cards. Then, players will spend fish to keep the cards they want, with each card having a cost commensurate to the general power of the card.

After the Discovery phase, players will play the Lessons they collected this round.  Lesson cards provide end-game scoring opportunities with a multitude of options – collecting certain, sets, NOT collecting certain sets, covering up spaces on their boat, NOT covering up spaces on their boat, etc.  There are two kinds of lesson cards in Isle of Cats: private lessons, which are played face-down in a players personal area and affect only them; and public lessons, which are placed in the center of the table and affect all players.

After Lessons are played, players enter the Rescue phase.  Players may only Rescue cats – that is, claim a tile from the market – if they have one or more baskets.  Each player starts with a permanent basket, and others may be obtained temporarily through the play of green cards, or permanently through other card actions.  Players secretly select and play all the green cards they wish and reveal simultaneously. In addition to possible baskets, green cards have Boots, the number of which revealed by each player will determine player order.

Then, in order and one by one, players will spend baskets and purchase tiles from the market, paying the appropriate cost in fish and placing the tiles in their boats following some fairly standard placement rules.  When all players have bought all the cats they can or want to, the Rescue phase ends. Players may now play Treasure cards in turn order. These give them access to Small Treasures – the supply of which is established at the start of the game and is limited – as well as Rare Treasures and Oshax that may come out each round.  These are then played like regular cat tiles.

Finally, the market is cleared, the round marker advanced, and new tiles drawn from the bag.  At the end of the fifth round, players score their Lesson cards and some standard scoring sets, and the player with the most points wins.

01:43:18 – Review

02:14:20 – Ratings


02:25:17Blackout: Hong Kong [Buy] – eggertspiele; Designer: Alexander Pfister; Art: Chris Quilliams ;

Check out our original review for Blackout: Hong Kong during Episode 138.

Gameplay Photos

* Disclosure: These titles were received free of charge by the publishers or distributors. If you are interested in submitting a title for review, please read our Review Policy.

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