All the wildlife of Cascadia are looking for their perfect habitats. Sometimes they want to be grouped up with their families, sometimes they’d like to be surrounded by other animals, and sometimes they’d rather just fly solo. Whatever they want, it’s up to you to make it happen. Create a diverse environment for all the wildlife to thrive in and make Cascadia the place to be!
What Is It?
A tile laying puzzle game where players take turns drafting terrain tiles and wildlife tokens to place in their ecosystem. Players want to keep tiles of the same type together for end game scoring – based on how many tiles are in their largest group of each type, plus bonuses for majorities. However, they are not restricted to placing matching tiles together. They also want to create certain size groups or patterns of wildlife to align with each animal’s unique scoring objective. Each terrain tile can only hold certain types of animals, so players will need to choose and place their tiles wisely. The player with the most points wins!
Who Is It For?
- 1 – 4 Players – Scales well so it’s enjoyable at all counts
- Ages 10+
- Fans of light-weight, “welcoming” games
- Fans of pattern building / tile laying (somewhat abstract strategy)
- Fans of nature-esque imagery
- Aesthetics – Looks great on the table; vibrant colors; beautiful art
- Components – Nice quality tiles, tokens, cards; well laid out score card with plenty provided
- Time – Plays fairly quickly no matter the player count; turns move quickly
- Rules – Well-written; the more vague score objectives are well defined in the rule book
- Variety/Replay Value – 4 different scoring objectives for each animal available plus family & intermediate scoring options, plus achievements and scenarios to try, plenty of variety to keep you coming back
- Box – Holds everything well
- Not a lot of player interaction (besides the possibility to “hate draft” someone if you really want to) but you can always see everyone’s play area, so you can try to keep up for majority scoring
- Open tile laying – you aren’t confined to a restricted area/space, you can build your ecosystem however you see fit
- Great for a wide range of players – accessible for newer gamers, but challenging enough for seasoned gamers as well
- Luck – Bit of luck in what tiles / wildlife tokens come out for you. You can only earn nature tokens (which let you manipulate your choices or can be worth points) by placing wildlife on certain tiles, but if those tiles never come out for you, you miss out
- No way to wipe the tiles – nature tokens only let you wipe wildlife tokens – so you’re just stuck with whatever tiles are available on your turn; luckily there are always 4 to choose from
Family / Intermediate – Instead of various patterns/sizes, all animals score the same way, based on certain size groups. Great way to introduce the game to families or less experienced gamers, or just to have a lighter game if you want a quicker game
Solo – Plays like 2-player, but you discard a pair of tile+token after each of your turns to keep things moving. You compare your score to a chart to see how well you did. I love this as a solo experience; it really ramps up the puzzle vibe and it’s a great way to try all the different scoring objectives to get a feel for them.
Achievements/Scenarios – You can play with achievements (certain goals to aim toward to help you earn points), and scenarios (which have specific set up instructions as well as goals and minimum scores to hit) in multi-player or solo to change things up a bit. I really enjoy the scenarios in solo, personally, as I think they’re a great way to make a sort of campaign out of the game, but they’re also a nice way to change up the multiplayer game once you’re more familiar with it.
While the cover art is beautiful, a “nature looking” game wouldn’t be my personal first pick off a game store shelf…but the gameplay sounded intriguing so I wanted to try it out, and I am so glad I did! It’s a great little abstracted, puzzley game and the theme does work well with the mechanics as you try to expand your ecosystem and put more wildlife in their homes.
I think it’s a game that will have a widespread appeal and will get a bunch of newbies more into gaming. As a sometimes-solo player, I also adore the scenarios and can’t wait to go through them all. Definitely recommend checking this one out!
My Final Rating: 7.5/10
Designer – Randy Flynn
Artist – Beth Sobel
Publishers – Flatout Games, Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG)
MSRP – $39.99
*I was provided a copy of this game to do this review*
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