The Isle of Cats: A Rescue Mission Like No Other

Video how to play isle of cats


Welcome to Squall’s End, where a noble rescue mission awaits. As a citizen of this quaint town, your task is to save as many cats as possible before the notorious Vesh arrives. Prepare to explore the mysterious Isle of Cats, gather ancient treasures, and find a way to fit them all onto your boat. Your goal is to return safely to Squall’s End with your rescued feline friends and a boat full of precious loot.


  • 30 cat figures
  • 85 cats
  • 42 fish tokens
  • 44 common treasures
  • 1 Vesh’s boat
  • 25 rare treasures
  • 6 oshax
  • 10 basket tokens
  • 4 player boats
  • 1 island board
  • 1 discovery bag
  • 1 scorepad
  • 150 discovery cards
  • 18 family cards
  • 5 solo color cards
  • 23 solo basket cards
  • 10 solo lesson cards
  • 9 solo advanced lesson cards
  • 4 color cards
  • Instructions

Object of the Game

Your objective in The Isle of Cats is to rescue as many cats as possible, gather rare treasures, and complete lessons. The more cats you rescue, the more points you earn. But beware, returning to Squall’s End with an empty boat won’t impress anyone.


Global Setup

  1. Place the island in the center of the play area, with the fields on either side.
  2. Position Vesh’s boat on space 5 of the day tracker.
  3. Arrange the common treasure tiles below the island, using the specified numbers for each player count.
  4. Place the Oshax tiles below the common treasure tiles.
  5. Place all the wooden cat pieces and fish tokens in the supply.
  6. Shuffle the discovery cards and place them face-down.
  7. Put the permanent basket tokens below the discovery cards deck.
  8. Position the discovery bag within reach of all players.
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Player Setup

Each player receives:

  • 1 random boat
  • 1 permanent basket

Randomly determine the starting player. Then, in turn order, each player should:

  • Choose a color by taking their favorite cat figure from the supply.
  • Place their chosen cat figure on the island.

The Boats

Each player has their own boat consisting of 7 rooms, 19 rats, and 5 colored treasure maps. Your boat is where you will place the rescued cats and found treasures.


Every square on your boat belongs to a room, which you can identify by the surrounding walls. To facilitate tile placement, rooms have icons in the corners.

Key Terms

Rows and Columns

  • Rows: Horizontal lines of squares spanning the width of your boat.
  • Columns: Vertical lines of squares running from top to bottom on your boat.

Edge of the Boat

The thick white line framing the grid of squares on each boat represents the edge.


Two things are considered touching if they are adjacent, excluding diagonals.

Day Overview

The Isle of Cats unfolds over 5 days. During each day, the fields are populated with cats, and players embark on various activities, including fishing, exploring, rescuing cats, and collecting rare treasures. The challenge is to fit everything onto your boat.

Fill the Fields

The start player draws tiles at random from the discovery bag and places 2 cat tiles per player in each field. The numbers of cats specified depend on player count.

Phase 1: Fishing

Each player takes 20 fish from the supply.

Phase 2: Explore

The explore phase has two parts: selecting discoveries and accessing them.

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Selecting Discoveries (Drafting)

The starting player deals 7 discovery cards face-down to each player. These cards represent the things you may discover on your journey. Each player picks 2 cards from their hand and places them face-down in front of them. Then, they pass the remaining cards to the left. This process is repeated twice. In the end, players have a pile of 7 face-down cards.

Accessing Discoveries

Players choose which cards to keep from their pile. Each card has a cost listed in the top left corner, which must be paid in fish. Players total the costs of the chosen cards and return that many fish to the supply. Cards not kept are placed in a face-down discard pile.

Phase 3: Read Lessons

Players check their hand for lesson and public lesson cards, playing them during this phase.

Phase 4: Rescue Cats

Players, in turn order, choose rescue cards to play and place them face-down. Once all players have chosen their cards, they are simultaneously revealed. The order in which players rescue cats is determined by their cards’ speed values. The player with the highest speed goes first, while ties maintain the existing turn order.

Phase 5: Rare Finds

Starting with the first player, each person takes turns collecting rare finds. Players can play one card per turn until they run out or decide to pass. When acquiring an Oshax or a treasure, it must be immediately placed on the boat following the tile placement rules.

Empty the Fields

At the end of each day, any remaining cats in the fields flee and are returned to the box. Unclaimed treasures remain below the island. Move Vesh’s boat along 1 space on the day tracker. If Vesh’s boat reaches the hand symbol, it’s time to set sail and proceed to scoring. Otherwise, flip permanent baskets back to the active side, and start the next day.

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Keeping Cards and Fish

In each phase, players choose which cards to play, except lesson cards, which must be played during the Read Lessons phase. Unplayed cards remain in the hand for the next day. Any unused fish carries over to the next day.

Anytime Cards

Purple anytime cards can be played at any time during a day. Players must fully resolve the card before proceeding with other actions. If two players wish to play anytime cards simultaneously, follow the turn order track on the island.


At the end of the game, players tally their score using the following criteria:

  • Rats: Subtract 1 point for each visible rat on your boat.
  • Rooms: Deduct 5 points for each unfilled room.
  • Cat Families: Earn points for each cat family, with additional points for having 8 or more cats in a family.
  • Rare Treasures: Earn 3 points for each rare treasure on your boat. Common treasures do not score points.
  • Lessons: Reveal and score completed lesson cards.
  • Public Lessons: Score points from any completed public lesson cards.

In case of a tie, the player with the most fish wins. If tied players have the same number of fish, they both win.

Now, embark on your journey to rescue cats, discover treasures, and emerge as the savior of Squall’s End. For more information on The Isle of Cats, visit 1mquotes.

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