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Cascadia

RRP: £39.99
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RRP £39.99
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Cascadia is a beautiful strategy board game in which players compete to create the most harmonious ecosystem. Match rivers, prairies, wetlands, forests, and mountains and populate them with different wildlife species. Each species has its own unique traits to consider, such as its ecosystem, its spatial requirements, and its connections to other animals. Simple to learn, but hard to…
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Category Tags , , , , , SKU ZBG-AEG7098 Availability 3+ in stock
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Cascadia is a beautiful strategy board game in which players compete to create the most harmonious ecosystem. Match rivers, prairies, wetlands, forests, and mountains and populate them with different wildlife species. Each species has its own unique traits to consider, such as its ecosystem, its spatial requirements, and its connections to other animals.

Simple to learn, but hard to master – Cascadia is a dual-layer puzzle. There are a variety of goals that you can mix and match, creating a brand-new experience every time you play. Explore hundreds of unique puzzles and build beautiful terrain maps in competitive, solo, and family modes.

The solo mode of Cascadia elegantly replicates the 2-player experience, taking the drafting mechanics and turning them into a cascading market. Choose your pieces carefully, as the available options will change each turn. Solo mode plays quickly, and succeeds in being a relaxing, easy to learn experience. It presents suitably challenging puzzles for the player to overcome without the need to score for any AI players.

If you are playing with children, or you wish to simplify the gameplay for yourself or other players, the game includes variant scoring. There are two extra options, presented as an easy mode and an intermediate mode. The easy mode makes each animal score in a similar way, reducing the number of scoring conditions the player must learn. Intermediate mode increases the challenge of the spatial puzzle, without adding complex scoring conditions.

Cascadia is an accessible game that offers challenges suitable for all gamers, with approachable gameplay and strategic depth. It’s a great choice whether you’re searching for gateway games or in-depth strategy. You will find a great mix of long-term strategy and short-term tactics available as you work to solve each new puzzle. The team behind Cascadia knows that gamers love sharing their hobby and have worked hard to make Cascadia the perfect game to do just that.

Player Count: 1-4
Time: 30-45 minutes
Age: 10+

Awards

Golden Geek
Golden Pear

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • A dual-layered puzzle
  • Working on your own little ecosystem
  • Beautiful artwork
  • Nice components

Might Not Like

  • Mild hate-drafting at times
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Description

Cascadia is a beautiful strategy board game in which players compete to create the most harmonious ecosystem. Match rivers, prairies, wetlands, forests, and mountains and populate them with different wildlife species. Each species has its own unique traits to consider, such as its ecosystem, its spatial requirements, and its connections to other animals.

Simple to learn, but hard to master – Cascadia is a dual-layer puzzle. There are a variety of goals that you can mix and match, creating a brand-new experience every time you play. Explore hundreds of unique puzzles and build beautiful terrain maps in competitive, solo, and family modes.

The solo mode of Cascadia elegantly replicates the 2-player experience, taking the drafting mechanics and turning them into a cascading market. Choose your pieces carefully, as the available options will change each turn. Solo mode plays quickly, and succeeds in being a relaxing, easy to learn experience. It presents suitably challenging puzzles for the player to overcome without the need to score for any AI players.

If you are playing with children, or you wish to simplify the gameplay for yourself or other players, the game includes variant scoring. There are two extra options, presented as an easy mode and an intermediate mode. The easy mode makes each animal score in a similar way, reducing the number of scoring conditions the player must learn. Intermediate mode increases the challenge of the spatial puzzle, without adding complex scoring conditions.

Cascadia is an accessible game that offers challenges suitable for all gamers, with approachable gameplay and strategic depth. It’s a great choice whether you’re searching for gateway games or in-depth strategy. You will find a great mix of long-term strategy and short-term tactics available as you work to solve each new puzzle. The team behind Cascadia knows that gamers love sharing their hobby and have worked hard to make Cascadia the perfect game to do just that.

Player Count: 1-4
Time: 30-45 minutes
Age: 10+

Cascadia review

Do you like tile-laying? Do you like puzzles? How about animals? Well, this is your lucky day. Cascadia is like a cake, bear with me one minute while I explain. Cascadia has a base of Carcassonne-esque tile-laying topped with a layer of animal-arranging icing. Managing these two elements together will decide whether your cake is light, fluffy and full of points or burnt and full of pointless elk.

Gameplay

Points, Biomes, Animals And Patterns

At the start of a game of Cascadia, you will randomly select a scoring card for each of the games five animals. Each animal has a set of cards with different ways they can score and for your first game, the 'A' cards are recommended. It is nice to be able to have slightly different scoring conditions each time you play. I also got a set of Kickstarter scoring cards too from Zatu which was nice.

After that stuff is sorted everyone playing gets a starter tile, made up of three normal tiles and you are just about ready to go. Cascadia, on the surface, feels and plays very simply, however, bubbling underneath is a puzzle that could be pondered for hours upon end. As I mentioned earlier, it's two puzzles in one that must be navigated in conjunction, like a tandem being ridden in two separate directions.

Cascadia components

Choices And Mitigation

Above your play area, there is a 'shop' of sorts made up of biome tiles and animal tokens. On your turn, you simply select one pair of tile and token and go about fitting it into your little ecosystem trying to fulfil as many of the animal requirements as you can. You will not only score for each of the five animal cards but also for your largest area of each type. The tiles you choose are a mixture of all one terrain type or a mixture of two. Picking a tile and animal combo that is right for you is a very juicy decision indeed, every single turn.

You do have a bit of mitigation here too. If you place an animal on what is called a Key tile, which is noted by the fact it is all one terrain, has an arrow on top and has a Nature Token symbol on it, you will get a Nature Token. You can use these tokens at any time to take any combination of tile and token available, instead of the pairs laid out or wipe any number of animal discs back into the bag. Also, if three identical animal discs are in the shop the active player can wipe them for free. I feel there is just enough choice and ways to mitigate randomness to make every turn feel worthwhile and important.

Components

Beauty In Simplicity

In Cascadia, there are not many components to talk about really, what is there is very functional, beautiful and needed. There is no fluff, over-elaborate nonsense or massive miniatures anywhere to be seen. You have cards, tiles, tokens and animal discs. Everything is well designed, looks lovely and made to a very high standard. The cards feel quality, the tiles are thick and the printed animal discs are a nice weight.

The graphic design on the tiles, cards and discs is very attractive. The animal photos are gorgeous, the terrain tiles are bright, bold and very clear and the animal discs are also very bold and clean looking. Cascadia leaves no option for confusion in the components with very little symbology, clear, precise art and high-quality design. It's all rather elegant, in a classically simple way.

Cascadia counters

Final Thoughts

We really enjoyed the puzzle that Cascadia offers. While it will not be everyone's cup of tea, if you like tile-laying and puzzles it is definitely worth your time. While you are working single-handedly on your ecosystem, there is a small amount player interaction when selecting what to take on your turn. There is a little hate-drafting now and again, I'm looking at you Brian, nicking all the salmon! I personally don't mind that at all, it gets people around the table talking and laughing.

There is a decent single-player mode, achievements to unlock, scenarios to try and for the price you pay, you get a lot of game and variety for your money. You can mix up the scoring using different cards and every game does feel slightly different depending on what comes out of the bag. When I need a little game that allows me to ponder, look at nice components and stunning animal art, Cascadia is up there with the best of them.

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • A dual-layered puzzle
  • Working on your own little ecosystem
  • Beautiful artwork
  • Nice components

Might not like

  • Mild hate-drafting at times