Welcome back to The Isle with The Isle of Cats Kittens and Beasts Expansion! Lord Vesh is still on his way and those cats still need saving. This time however there are kittens and beasts to save too, along with a new events module to shake up the gameplay. Set sail with me to find out more…
Don’t Forget The Kittens!
In The Isle of Cats Kittens and Beasts, there are 3 different expansions included in the box. Initially, the rules suggest just playing with one of them at a time but then you can build them all into the game over time if you wish.
All of the expansions come with their own drawstring bag to keep the tiles separate.
Firstly and definitely the cutest addition to the Isle, are the kittens! The kittens are smaller than the cats and are a wonderful way to help fill those small gaps on board your boat. They are especially useful if you find yourself always running out of small treasures as they are of the same sizes as these.
The kittens place in the same way as cats and add to your family numbers when placed with matching colour cats and other kittens. Collecting kittens are a privilege only offered to the starting player each round. If you’re the starting player, you can choose to save 2 kittens (placed in their own field below the Isle) in place of a normal cat tile. You will still need a basket to collect them in, but kittens share a basket. Only 1 basket per 2 kittens is needed. You will also still need to lure them to the basket with fish.
This was the most straightforward addition to the game, very quick and easy to add in and helped greatly, giving ways to fill gaps that would have previously been lost if the treasures had run out. They are also absolutely adorable, so they put a smile on all of our faces whilst playing!
I enjoyed this little expansion and would be happy to include it in all ongoing plays of The Isle of Cats. In my opinion, it only added to the game and didn’t offer a massive change in gameplay that would detract from the original, beautiful game.
And Beasts Oh My…
The next expansion introduces beasts to the Isle that also would like to be rescued. Unlike the kittens, beasts can only be rescued on the first turn. After the first turn, gameplay continues as in the original game.
Saving a beast has its benefits if you can place matching coloured cat families around it as indicated on the tile. Depending on the beast chosen there are up to 4 coloured cats on each tile. Each match you make is worth 5 points a game end. When you make a match, you take a beast meeple of your choice and place that on the edge of the beast showing the alliance that has been formed between the beast and the family of cats.
The artwork is beautiful and I loved seeing the different beasts. However, scoring-wise I didn’t feel the beasts added enough benefit to be worth the added difficulty in trying to achieve the correct coloured families in the right places, while also concentrating on lesson cards, large families etc.
My lowest scoring games on Isle of Cats were whilst playing with the beast’s expansion. As they are optional to take, for myself at least, it seemed to work better to not have a beast aboard at all! To add an extra challenge though, we made a house rule that when we play with the beast’s expansion each player MUST take a beast. This added an interesting new challenge to work around and fun addition to our boats.
Days Full Of Events
The final part of the expansion is the events module. When playing with events included, tiles are drawn at the beginning of the game and placed over the day numbers that Vesh’s boat travels along. On each day the drawn event tile must be resolved.
Some of the event tiles include extra point actions such as ‘scoring a point per rat with an adjacent uncovered rat’ and ‘Scoring points per cat in your longest row’. Others affect gameplay in ways such as Treasure and Oshax cards needing to be played before taking cats from the fields that round.
Also included as part of this expansion are rat meeples, new baskets and tokens (for use as directed on certain event tiles).
I enjoyed this module very much. It shakes up the gameplay by adding new ways to score and altering gameplay enough to keep The Isle of Cats fresh without unweighting the whole game.
Overall Fluffy Thoughts
I love the Kittens and events modules and would highly recommend this expansion to anyone who loves their copy of The Isle of Cats. Could I live without the beast’s part? Yes. However, I just don’t want to because the tiles are gorgeous!
Also as mentioned, making the beasts a necessary choice when including this module really did add an interesting element. Perhaps the only thing I have an issue with is the optional taking of a beast? Or that matching them with families should come with a higher points reward.
Back to the kittens and I prefer playing with them included now as they really do help fill those smaller spaces making me braver to take tricky shaped cats knowing I no longer have to rely solely on the treasures to fill the gaps. Also, they are so darn cute!
As mentioned in my boat pack review, these new expansions that have been released really do give a mix and match feel where you can add in the different modules/boats etc as and when you feel and suit the group you are playing with. The replayability this has added to The Isle of Cats is fantastic!