City legends have always told of a fabulous island where a race of ancient, wise, fierce and playful cats made their home. Recent scouts from Squall's End have revealed that it is real!

But it is threatened by the approaching armies of Vesh Darkhand, who will stop at nothing to destroy the island and the rest of the world. Trees will burn, and the ancient rocks will be broken - but there's a chance that these noble creatures can be saved!


  • 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


You are a citizen of Squall's End and are on a rescue mission to save as many cats as possible before Vesh arrives. You must explore the island, rescue cats, gather ancient treasures and find a way to fit them all onto your boat before returning safely to Squall's End.

As you explore the island, you'll rescue cats and discover treasure. Cats and treasure are represented by tiles of different shapes that you must carefully place onto your boat.

Try to keep families together, complete lessons and leave enough room to place the next thing on your boat. But watch out - returning to Squall's End with a half empty boat isn't going to look good!

Object of the Game

At the end of the game, you will earn points for:

  • Each cat family you have. A family is 3 or more touching cats of the same color.
  • Your rare treasures.
  • Any lessons you have completed.

You will lose points for:

  • Every visible rat on your boat.
  • Any rooms on your boat that have not been filled.

The player with the most points will be the winner.


Giobal Setup

1 Island. Place the island in the center of the play area • side up); the areas on either side of the island are known as the fields.

2 Vesh's Boat. Place Vesh's boat on space 5 of the day tracker.

3 Common Treasure. Place the common treasure tiles below the island.

  • Use 5 of each tile for 1-player.
  • Use 5 of each tile for 2-player.
  • Use 8 of each tile for 3-player.
  • Use 11 of each tile for 4-player.

These are limited, so when you run out, you may no longer take common treasure.

4 Oshax. Place 6 Oshax tiles below the common treasure.

5 Supply. Place all the wooden cat pieces, 1 fish tokens, and 5 fish tokens in the supply.

6 Discovery cards. Shuffle the discovery cards and place them in a face-down pile.

7 Permanent baskets. Place the permanent basket tokens below the discovery cards deck.

8 Discovery bag. Place the discovery bag somewhere all players can reach.

Player Setup

A Each player receives:

  • 1 random boat fa side up).
  • 1 permanent basket (green side up).

B Randomly decide who goes first. Then, beginning with that person, go around the table and have each player:

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

Before your First Game

The first time you play, you will need to put some of the cat and treasure tiles into the discovery bag.

Place the following in the discovery bag:

  • 5 All blue, green, orange, red and purple cat tiles.
  • All rare treasure tiles.

Do not put the Oshax tiles or the common treasure tiles in the discovery bag.

The Boats

Each player has their own boat containing 7 rooms, 19 rats and 5 colored treasure maps. This is where you will be placing every cat you rescue and any treasure you find.


Every square on your boat is part of a room; you can identify rooms by the walls surrounding them.

When you start placing tiles on your boat, you may find it difficult to remember where each room is. To help with this, you can use the different icons in the corners of the rooms.

You do not need to remember these icons, but they are listed to the right for reference.

Key Terms

Rows and Columns

Rows. A row is a line of squares that is 1 square high and runs horizontally from left to right across your boat.

Columns. A column is a line of squares that is 1 square wide and runs vertically from top to bottom across your boat.

Edge of the Boat

The edge of the boat is the thick white line that frames the grid of squares on each boat.


Two things are touching if they are immediately adjacent, diagonals never count.

Tile Placement

Whenever you rescue a cat, befriend an Oshax, or collect treasure, you will receive a tile that you must place on your boat. If your boat is full or a tile does not fit, then you cannot take that tile.

  • Tiles may be rotated and flipped to any orientation you wish.
  • Tiles cannot overlap each other.
  • Tiles must fully sit within the edge of your boat.
  • Tiles must always line up with the squares on your boat; no parts of a square should be visible.

The First Tile

Your first tile may be placed anywhere on your boat.

All Other Tiles

After your first tile, every other tile must be placed immediately adjacent to another tile already on your boat, so that they touch.

Adjacent tiles do not include diagonals.

Treasure Maps

Your boat contains five colored treasure maps that can be used to unlock common treasures.

If you place a cat tile on a treasure map icon, and the colors match (e.g. green cat on green treasure map), then you may instantly take any one of the four common treasures and place it on your boat.

You can place other tiles over a treasure map, but you will not receive the bonus treasure.

Day Overview

The Isle of Cats is played over 5 days. During each day, the fields are filled with cats and players gather fish, explore the island, read lessons, rescue cats, and find rare treasures as they try to fit everything in their boats.


At last! There, rising out of the mists, are the mysterious headlands and treetops of the Isle of Cats. Hope fills the boats as their prows cut across the waters.

But the threat to this precious sanctuary is still clear. You left behind the beat of Vesh's distant war-drums. How long will it take the Dark Hand to arrive?

Fill the Fields


Every day, you rise before first light to read old smugglers' accounts and scan ancient maps, as you loudly debate the best spots to discover the island's rare and elusive beasts...


The start player should draw tiles at random from the discovery bag, placing 2 cat tiles (not including treasure) per player in each of the fields.

  • 8 cats (4 per field) for 2-player
  • 12 cats (6 per field) for 3-player
  • 16 cats (8 per field) for 4-player

Rare Treasure

If you find rare treasure, place it by the common treasures under the island and continue drawing tiles from the discovery bag. Rare treasures do not count towards the number of tiles drawn.


In a 3-player game, you will place 6 cats in each field, making a total of 12 cats.

If you draw 4 cats from the discovery bag, then find 2 rare treasures, you will still draw 8 more cats from the discovery bag as treasures do not count towards the total.

Phase 1: Fishing


With today's territory picked, the first job of the day is to hurry to grab your fishing nets and lines - you are going to need an awful lot of fish if you want to lure the cats out of hiding!

Each player takes 20 fish from the fish supply.

Phase 2: Explore


Stepping as silently as you can through fragrant grasses and beside ancient ruins, you see many a strange sight: grottos, eldritch waymarkers, forests, old smuggler troves, old buildings, and poachers' hides. Occasionally, you might even see a tail disappearing into the undergrowth....

The explore phase is split into two parts:

  1. Selecting discoveries, where you will choose cards you may want to use.
  2. Accessing discoveries, where you will choose and pay for any selected cards you wish to keep.

Selecting Discoveries (Drafting)

The starting player should take the discovery deck and deal 7 cards face-down to each player; these represent the things you can discover on your journey.

Each player should pick up their 7 cards, look at them, and select 2 that they wish to keep, placing their chosen cards face-down in front of them.

Each player should pass their remaining cards to the person on their left *. With the new cards passed to them, players should repeat this process 2 more times, choosing 2 cards to add to their pile and then pass the remaining cards.

* On days 1, 3, and 5 pass the cards to the player on your left, on days 2 and 4 pass them to the player on your right.

Finally, each player will be passed a single card, resulting in each player having a pile of 7 face-down cards.

Accessing Discoveries


Even when you manage to find some new, old, or ancient object half-hidden in the undergrowth, there's another problem - the feline locals have lived here a long time and are unwilling to let their secrets go so easily!

You're going to need to use your fish to distract them....

Each player should pick up their 7 cards and choose which to keep. You may keep any combination of cards, as long as you can afford to pay for them.

In the top left-hand corner of every discovery card there is a cost. If you wish to keep a card, you must pay the cost in fish. Once you have selected the cards you wish to keep, add up the total cost and return that many fish from your personal pile to the main fish supply.

Place the cards you decided not to keep in a face-down discard pile next to the discovery deck.

It's important to keep the discard pile face down so that other players don't know which cards have been kept.

Example: Frank looks at his 7 discovery cards and decides to keep 4 of them.

He adds up the cost and pays 6 fish. Frank then discards the 3 cards he didn't want to keep, face-down, in the discard pile.

Phase 3: Read Lessons


In the hot midday sun, there is a brief chance for you to rest from your labors and study the old scrolls of the Keepers who once lived here. In them, this long-lost race explained their science of cat stewardship.

You will have to study them carefully to ensure that your precious cargo makes it safely back to Squall's End....

Lesson Cards Are Always Blue!

Each player should check their hand for lesson and public lesson cards. These cards must be played in this phase.

Public Lesson Cards

Each player must place every public lesson card they have on the table face-up in a place all players can see, and declare (read it out aloud) the public lesson to all other players.

If the public lesson says "pick a color", the person playing the card must declare a color when it is played.

Take 1 of the cat figures of the chosen color from the supply and place it on the card to remember the chosen color.

Lesson Cards

Each player must place all of their non-public lesson cards in a face-down pile next to their boat.

The cards should be splayed horizontally so that other players can easily count how many lesson cards each player has.

Phase 4: Rescue Cats


All of the cat lore you have learned states the same thing; that to get any of the island cats to do anything will require some kind words and lots of fish. You have your baskets and fish - you'd better put on your anti-scratch leather gauntlets!

Rescue Cards Are Always Green!

At the start of the rescue phase, players will, in turn order, choose which rescue cards they wish to play and place them face-down in front of their boat.

Once all players have chosen their rescue cards, all rescue cards should be revealed (turned over) simultaneously by all players.


The speed value of a card is represented by a number and the symbol. Each player should tally how much speed they have from the rescue cards they have just played.

The order of the cat figures on the island will be rearranged by how much speed each player has. The fastest player will be the first in line at the top of the island, and the slowest player will be last in line at the bottom of the island.

This change in turn order immediately affects any cards played from this point onwards.

In case of a tie, the players who have the same speed maintain the same turn order in relation to each other on the island.

Example: Sara adds up the total on the rescue cards she played and has 5.

Frank adds up the total on the rescue cards he played and has 4.

Sara has the most speed, so she places her green cat in first place at the top of the island and Frank places his purple cat in second place.

Rescuing Cats

Beginning with the start player, each player takes turns to rescue cats until everyone passes. You may only rescue 1 cat each turn, but you may have as many turns as you want until you either run out of fish, baskets, cats, or decide to pass.

Once every player has, in turn order, had the opportunity to rescue a cat, play returns to the start player and this process continues until everyone has passed.

To rescue a cat, each player must have a basket and enough fish to lure the cat in. Cats in the field to the left of the island need 3 fish, and cats in the field to the right of the island require 5; this is shown on the island piece.

When you rescue a cat, you must spend the required fish, placing them in the supply pile and use a basket.

  • If you are using a Permanent basket, you should turn it over to show that it has been used.

  • If you are using any other type of basket, you should discard the card to the discard pile.

Placing Cats

When you rescue a cat, you must immediately place it on your boat following the tile placement rules (see page 7) before any other actions are performed.

Empty Fields

Once both the fields are empty (or when all players have passed), the rescue cat phase is over. Any rescue cards that have been played, but have not been used, are immediately moved to the discard pile.


If you want to rescue cats, you are going to need a basket to carry them! There are 3 types of baskets:

Permanent Baskets

These can be used once a day. When you use a permanent basket, you should flip it to the used side to show it has been used. You can gain extra permanent baskets with cards.

Regular Baskets

These can only be used once in the game. Once they have been used, you should place them on the discard pile.

Broken Baskets

You can combine 2 broken baskets to make a regular basket. Just like regular baskets, these can only be used once.

Phase 5: Rare Finds


The last hours of the evening are filled with merriment and song as you show off your finds and declare that surely you are the best cat- gatherer from Squall's End!

Oshax cards are always brown and treasure cards are always yellow!

Starting with the first player, each person takes turns to collect their rare finds until everyone passes.

You can only play 1 card each turn, but you may have as many turns as you want until you either run out of cards or decide to pass.

Once every player has, in turn order, had the opportunity to play a card, play returns to the start player and this process continues until everyone has passed.

When you befriend an Oshax or take a treasure, you must immediately place it on your boat following the tile placement rules (see page 7) before any other actions are performed.

Placing Oshax Cats

The Oshax are friendly creatures and like to belong to a family. When you place an Oshax on your boat, you must immediately choose which family of cats it will befriend.

Take the cat figure that represents your chosen family from the supply and place it on the Oshax tile; this Oshax counts as both an Oshax and a cat of the chosen family for the rest of the game.

Empty the Fields


As the grey light of evening approaches, the mist and the quiet once again fall over the Isle of Cats. All of the felines you didn't manage to catch have now vanished back into the undergrowth.

You leave what spare stores you have, and even a raft or two. Maybe they will find another way to escape the Isle before Vesh arrives.

At the end of each day, any cats that weren't rescued from the fields flee and should be placed back in the box; they will not be needed again. Unclaimed treasures should remain below the island piece and are not returned to the box.

Update the day tracker by moving Vesh's boat along 1 space.

If Vesh's boat reaches the hand symbol, Vesh has arrived and it's time to set sail. Proceed to scoring.

Otherwise, each player should flip their permanent baskets back to the active side and the next day begins!

Keeping Cards and Fish


In each phase, you may choose which cards to play and how many, with the exception of lesson cards, which must always be played during the Read Lessons phase.

Any unplayed cards remain in your hand for the next day. You do not have to pay for them again and there is no limit to how many cards you may have in your hand.


Any fish you do not use get carried over to the next day.

Anytime Cards

Anytime cards are always purple!

Anytime cards can be played at any time during a day. When playing an anytime card, the player should declare they are playing the card and fully resolve it before any other actions are performed.

If two players wish to play anytime cards at the same time, then you should resolve the cards in order based on the turn order track on the island.


At the end of the game, players should add up their score. The player with the highest score wins.

  • Rats

    You get -1 point for each visible rat on your boat.

  • Rooms

    You get -5 points for each room that has not been filled.

    A filled room is one that has no visible squares.

  • Cat Familes

    You get points for each cat family you have.

    If you have 8 or more cats in a family, you score an extra 5 points for every additional cat in that family.

  • Rare Treasures

    You get 3 points for every rare treasure on your boat.

    Common treasures do not score points.

  • Lessons

    Reveal each lesson card you have. If you have completed the lesson, then add those points to your score.

  • Public Lessons

    Check each public lesson card and add the points from any completed cards to your score.


In the case of a tie, the player with the most fish wins (they remembered their cats might want a snack on the way home).

If the tied players have the same number of fish, then both players win.

Cat Families

A cat family is 3 or more cat tiles of the same color that are touching.

1 There are 3 orange cat tiles, making a family of 3.

2 There are 4 blue cat tiles, making a family of 4.

3 There are 2 red cat tiles, but not 3, so this is not a family.

4 Diagonal tiles are not adjacent, so this is another set of 2 red cat tiles and therefore is not a family.

5 There are 3 orange cat tiles, making a family of 3.

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