Isle of Cats: Explore and Draw is a game I will without a doubt add to my shelves



The Isle of Cats: Explore and Draw box artwork depicts the ship on the rescue mission.

An impending danger threatens the Isle of Cats, and they will perish if they aren’t rescued before the evil Lord Vesh arrives. This vital rescue mission is assigned to every game player as they also attempt to keep families of cats together, discover treasures, vanquish rats, and obtain the most points for their ship. 

Isle of Cats: Explore and Draw is an adaptation of an already fantastic parent game: The Isle of Cats. It was invented over quarantine and was intended to have the ability to play over a video chat. After immensely enjoying the original, I was excited to try a new version that was rumored to have a faster setup time and gameplay in general. 

To my delight, these rumors proved to be true.

My uncle, aunt, and two oldest cousins initially introduced me to the game when my sister and I felt deprived of quality family time. Thanks to the 1-6 player range, all of us were able to enjoy the experience together. The concept is simple enough that 8-year-olds can understand, but there’s also enough strategy for every age to find a challenge. 

In comparison to other “draw” activities, Isle of Cats: Explore and Draw is very similar to the game Cartographers, which lays out a grid of squares that allows players to actually draw the pieces into their individual maps. 

One of the aspects that helps this game run smoothly without boring interludes between turns is the format; everyone receives the same options, letting everyone take their turns simultaneously. Even with this, each boat ends up looking extremely different from one another as each strategist decides where to place their cats. 

Despite my general disinterest in the furry creatures, I was able to appreciate the vibrant artwork, incorporation of colors, and creativity that went into creating every card. For those who aren’t color blind—sorry Uncle Shaun—the display is very aesthetically pleasing.

With their adorable sleeping poses and innocent eyes, I’ve almost found myself occasionally sacrificing points just to outline their tiny squares onto my ship. ”

My cousin Ashley, along with every soul that has a heart as big as hers, can’t help but fall in love with the kittens. With their adorable sleeping poses and innocent eyes, I’ve almost found myself occasionally sacrificing points just to outline their tiny squares onto my ship. 

While my Uncle Shaun usually wins the original game with all of his bonus points, I was overjoyed to declare myself victorious the first time playing the adaptation. After writing this, my Uncle Shaun will probably win next time, but I’ll celebrate the achievement while I can. 

As an avid board game fan, I can confidently recommend Isle of Cats: Explore and Draw. Not only does it retain the same elements of the original game that I love, but it also is faster and easier to transport. I loved this game so much that if I don’t get the chance to play again soon, I’ll probably purchase it myself, content to save the cats over and over again.