The Isle of Cats – Explore & Draw, cats full boat

Isle of Cats – Explore & Draw is the Flip and Write version of the game Isle of Cats released in 2019. A dispensable adaptation.

The Isle of Cats – Explore & Draw

The Isle of Cats – Explore & Draw is an indie game based on the board game The Isle of Cats released in 2020 which we enjoyed very, very much.

In The Isle of Cats – Explore & Draw, lThe presentation pitch is also in all respects similar:

You are citizens of Port Squale on a rescue mission on Cat Island and must save as many cats as possible before the evil Lord Vesh arrives. Each cat is represented by a unique shape and belongs to a family, you must find a way to fit them all on your boat while keeping the families together. You will also find treasures, Oshax (special cats) and old lessons that will give you another personal way to score points. Complete lessons, fill your boat and keep cat families together to score points.

In a fire, between a Rembrandt and a cat, I would save the cat.

By Alberto Giacometti

The Isle of Cats – Explore & Draw and, like its big brother, one of the many games that use the polyomino placement mechanicsthe base of the famous Tetris.

Here, each cat is represented by a unique polyomino shape and belongs to a color family. You have to find a way to fit them all on your ship by bringing the families together.

For those who have already played its predecessor, you will not be out of place. And for good reason. It’s almost identical to the game. Same game, same art direction, but in drawable and erasable mode. Flip and write, with a few nuances.

For example, the draft of cards from the previous game is replaced by the choice at each turn of one of the columns of cards arranged in 4×3 cards. You can therefore make a choice identical to your opponents.

The aim of the game is always to best arrange your cats by family of cats of the same color to cover the hold of the boat.

That’s all ? No, of course ! You also need:

  • position your treasure coins, rare or common
  • place your Oshax (special cats)
  • activate your special actions
  • cover your treasure maps with a cat of the same color
  • respect your traditions which are a set of challenges to perform (example: earn 9 points if your cats are of exactly 3 different colors, 2 points per rat visible on the boat, etc.)
  • make sure to cover as many rats as possible on the boat
  • complete all cabins

And all this in 7 rounds….. Hot !

The person with the most points at the end of these 7 rounds wins the game.

The Isle of Cats – Explore & Draw, verdict

At the evocation of the injunctions above you suddenly sea ​​sickness ? And finally you prefer dogs to cats? Personally, that’s kind of what happened to me while testing this game. too many challenges kill the challenge!

We can find some advantages to this new version. The first is that the game is more compact, easier to transport. he is also cheaper by about 40%. But the benefits quickly stop there.

This version brings less interaction, dropping the draft mechanic used in the original version. The parts not being in a “physical” version to be placed on the boat, but to be drawn, is added the difficulty of correctly drawing the parts without a canvas.

This requires good vision in space and, in fact, often waiting for the cards drawn by opponents who are struggling to reproduce the shapes without a card in hand. Therefore, the game is less accessible for the youngest.

On the other hand, the presence of erasable pencils of each color allows good visibility of cat families and the number of cards available suggests good replayability.

This new version is faster. Even if the game takes place in 7 rounds (previously in 5 rounds) the playing time is reduced to 30-45 min against 1h to 2h00 previously.

At the end of the game I felt a mixture of frustration not having been able to achieve my goals, but at the same time, relief because the game was finally over.

The Isle of Cats – Explore & Draw only recommended if you like to tangle in your brain and if you love cats. But I’m not sure that this last argument is enough to enhance the interest of the game. A flip&draw adaptation unbelievable, not essential.


  • Author : Frank West
  • artwork : Frank West and Dragolisco
  • Editor : Lucky Duck Games
  • Numbers of players and players : 1 to 6 (runs “well” in all configurations)
  • Recommended age : From 10 years old (also possible from 8 years old)
  • Duration : 30-45 mins
  • Theme : Animals
  • Main mechanics : flip and write. To learn more about the different game mechanics, it’s here

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Article written by Aline, member of Team Gus&Co. She works in the social field. She fell very young into the pot of games in all its forms (board, video games, escape room, murder). Writing on the blog allows him to discover new games and share real favourites.

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