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Board GameThe Isle of Cats Review
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Posted: 3 months ago, last updated 11 weeks ago.

Author: Rob Prior, @GeekDadGamer and Jo Robertson.


Isle of Cats is a collecting game where you rescue cats from a doomed island by squeezing them onto your rescue boat. You play by collecting Tetris-like Cat and Treasure tiles and arranging them carefully onto your Boat board. It is a spatial puzzle where strategy is as much about being able to get the right shaped piece to fill awkward holes, as hoarding the most valuable.

There are lots of ways to score points, but the skill is choosing which to pursue and when. You start with Discovery cards that determine your missions and grant you Tetris-like Cat and Treasure pieces. The challenge is you buy more cards with your stock of twenty fish, so getting best value is crucial.

You do this by placing your Cats and Treasure pieces strategically, to maximise points by ensuring groups of the same colour are next to each other. You also score points by perfectly filling rooms and covering up other squares on your ship. Your ability to use space wisely now whilst planning for the future is key to your success here.

As you progress through the five rounds your boat gets full and placement becomes more complex. You also earn other ways of scoring points alongside tessellating cats and treasure. After five rounds, the player with the most points is the winner.

It sounds complex, and really is. But at the centre of it all is a puzzle piece challenge of squeezing things onto your ship to escape. The game leans into this variety with the huge variety of Discovery cards in the deck offering endless ways to win. There are many games that involve fitting pieces into a defined space, but few achieve such an open experience.

DetailsGame Details

Release Date: 01/01/2019

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Players: 1-4

Genres: Collecting, Puzzle and Strategy

Pieces: Bag, Board, Cards, Figures, Pen and Pad, Placeables and Tokens

Developer: Cityof Games HQ (@CityofGamesHQ)



View our choice of games like The Isle of Cats. This game is good if you want to:


Learn to Play: This takes 1 and a half hours to learn. This is a complex game with a wide range of cards in the main deck. This means that you need to spend a good amount of time familiarising yourself with these cards, their costs and powers before playing your first game. You also need to have a firm grasp of the Ship board, as poor placement early in the game can have a detrimental impact on your ability to score points towards the end. You may be able to learn the game in one play through, but it may take you much longer to master.

Play Time: This game will take between 1 hour and 1 and a half hours to complete.

Play StylePlay Style

You can play with 1 to 4 players in the same room. It is best with 3 players.

You can play this game in the following styles:

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Skill Rating

10+ year-olds usually have the required skill to enjoy this game. Younger players need to have lots of patience to be able to complete a full game. They need to be able to make strategic resource management choices and deal with not getting the pieces that they were hoping to collect.

Content Rating

We rate this suitable for 3+ years-olds.


There are no additional in-game purchases, loot boxes, adverts or subscription costs.
There are a number of expansions including:
  • The Isle of Cats: Boat Pack (2022) - adds six new Boat boards
  • The Isle of Cats: Kittens + Beasts (2022) - adds three expansion modules.
  • The Isle of Cats: Late Arrivals (2019) - adds two Boat boards to allow six players. 


We haven't documented accessibility features for this game yet. Our The Isle of Cats Accessibility Report details system-wide settings that may help, and suggests similar games with accessibility features. Tweet the developer (@CityofGamesHQ) to let them know about our Accessibility Questionnaire.

Diversity and InclusionDiversity and Inclusion

We haven't documented diversity and inclusion information for this game yet.

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Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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