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Board Game Review: Cascadia

game #9 of Katie's 100 board game challenge

By Katie KieslingPublished 2 months ago 3 min read

My fiancé bought this for me for my birthday, and we played it that night! (And one-and-a-half times the next night ... a board may have gotten bumped and we may have had to start over.) I instantly fell in love with it, and thought "I can easily teach this to new people, no problem". The coolest part though: my fiancé and I TIED! (He got the win because he had more leaves leftover ... but this meant, strategy-wise, we were on a similar playing field, which doesn't happen in a lot of games.)

Building Your Own Cascadia

Before reading the rules and watching a how-to video, I initially thought we were all building the same Cascadia. Each player actually gets their own starting tile and builds their own Cascadia (which makes way more sense when you look at how scoring works)! I also thought we each got our own scoring objectives - nope, each player shares, and there's one for each of the five animals (bear, fox, salmon, elk, hawk).

While players can still mess each other up by choosing tiles and tokens you also need, the game doesn't feel malicious - for the most part, everyone is building what they want to build, and following the strategy path they want to take. I love this!

The Components

The game is so simple, and the components match that sentiment. There's tiles, there's animal tokens, there's leaves ... that's it. The only annoying part, for set-up, is there are a different number of tiles used for the game depending on how many players there are - for a 2-player game, I think I had to essentially take out half the tiles.

The Objectives

I got used to playing with the A objective cards for each animal (they have objective cards from A to D, so four different possible challenges per animal). When we played our second game, introducing the game to my mom, we used A again (because it's recommended for first-time players) ... then we had to start the game over, so I suggested we try randomizing the objectives.

... instant regret.

No, it actually wasn't THAT bad ... I just happened to have memorized all the A cards, and we had five completely new objectives to focus on (and some were a bit confusing at first). So, in the long-run, it's good that they have a variety of objectives - to add a challenge to the game. I just wasn't mentally prepared apparently to deal with that challenge ... maybe because we were halfway through a game, so I had the other objectives fresh in my head? (Don't worry, I didn't let this part affect my rating of Cascadia!)


I feel guilty for not writing this review as quickly - it meant I played the game twice, and my initial rating for it is a bit muddled (although I guess I have rated other games that I've played before ...).

If I had done this right after my birthday, the first time we played, I would've given this a 9. However, my rating here is going to be an 8 out of 10. I discovered I actually prefer this game as a 2-player ... so, opposite problem to Carcassonne. Reflecting on it now, Wingspan is probably a 10 for this reason: so far, I've enjoyed it as a 2-player, 3-player, 4-player, AND 5-player game - that is the ultimate goal now for rating games. So, Cascadia sadly doesn't live up to that measure, and as much as I enjoyed it, I will probably only ever ask fiancé to play it with me 1-on-1 - it'll be rare I ask to play it with more (unless we're introducing it to new people, of course).

table top

About the Creator

Katie Kiesling

* 29, she/her, Canadian

* Reader, writer, lover of language

* Board game enthusiast, and wannabe board game designer

* Fiancée currently, Wife in May 2023

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