Cascadia - The wild and wonderful game

Cascadia is an easy game to teach new players so you can get your friends and family to play quickly. The artwork is beautiful. It incorporates the fun aspect of playing on your own trying to solve a puzzle. While also playing against your opponents to see who gets the most points in the end.

Cascadia takes you on a journey to the habitats and wildlife of the Pacific Northwest. For those of you who don’t know where that is it, as I didn’t, it spans the US and areas of Canada. Cascadia is a tile laying and token drafting game. Its for 1 to 4 players aged 10+ though I have played it with slightly younger kids. You may think that this game is a lot like Carcassone if you have played that game. However in Carcassone you are laying your tiles together in one section of terrain. In Cascadia you take turns to build out your own terrain area and populate it with wildlife. This is basically laying wildlife tokens on different types of habitat.

Turns are simple. You start with a starting terrain tile which incorporates three types of habitats. On your turn you choose a new tile that’s paired with a wildlife token. You need to place your tile next to your other ones however they don’t need to match each other. If you can match them this is an advantage as the longest habitats get counted for points at the end of the game. If you have the largest area at the end of the game you get a bonus for your habitat being larger than any other player’s.

You can only add wildlife tokens where their picture appears on the habitat tile. If you can’t match your token to any of the tiles you lose it. There are between one and three types of wildlife on each tile. But you can only place one type of wildlife on any one tile. You choose scoring goal wildlife cards for each type of wildlife. There are hawks, foxes, bears, salmon and elk. These scoring goal cards show you how to place wildlife to get points.

Four tiles are on display in the centre of the table, each tile is paired at random with a wildlife token. You need to make the best of the pairings that are available. Unless you have a nature token, you get these when you get a keystone tile. These tiles have the nature token symbol on them. You can spend these nature tokens to choose any pairing from the set of four tiles and four tokens. Or you can get a whole new set of wildlife to choose from. But beware each nature token you don’t spend gives you a point each at the end of the game.

With each turn you are placing your habitat to create wildlife corridors. At the same time you want to place wildlife tokens so that you get the maximum amount of points scored by them. Hawks might want to be separate from other hawks as they are solitary wildlife. Bears might like to be in pairs while foxes like to be surrounded by other types of wildlife. You need to match as many of these as you can in your 20 rounds to score points. I like this aspect of the game as it makes puzzles out of your terrain. So you get tile laying, token building and puzzles all wrapped up in one game…. I love it.

Cascadia is a great game as you have to keep a watch all the time to see what tokens and habitats are available. You might have to change your strategy lots of times if the right tokens don’t appear for you. There are lots of scoring goal cards for replayabilty. I like the twists and turns the game makes along the way. A great starter game as well as a fun game for seasoned gamers.

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