Kittens + Beasts (The Isle of Cats): My Favorite Expansions

Kittens + Beasts expansion tiles

Kittens + Beasts expansion overview

One of my favorite expansions is Kittens + Beasts for The Isle of Cats. In Kittens + Beasts, kitten and beast tiles are added to the game (surprise, surprise). Kittens are smaller than cats, so they take up less space on your boat, enabling you to fill difficult spaces. Beasts want to be friends with certain colors of cats and give you bonus points if you connect families of the corresponding cat colors.

Kittens module

In each round of the game, four kittens are available at a time. However, kittens can only be rescued by the fastest player each round, indicated by the number of boots they have on their played cards. When kittens are rescued, they are immediately replaced, so four kittens will always be available until they run out. It costs two fish to rescue one kitten or five fish to rescue two kittens. You also still need a basket to rescue kittens, but you can use a single basket to rescue two kittens if you want.

Each kitten counts as a cat for scoring purposes, meaning that if you rescue two kittens at a time, you can get more points than usual. Kittens are also great for filling in those difficult spaces on your boat because they only take up one, two, or three spots.

Kitten tiles
The kittens are so adorable!

Beasts module

Beasts are only available on the first day of The Isle of Cats and are placed in the five-cost fish area. You obtain beasts the same way you get cats, with a basket and fish. However, they only give you points if you connect families of cats to them. Specifically, the beasts want to be friends with certain colors of cats, indicated by colored cat icons on their tiles. When you connect a family of cats to a beast, you place a custom wooden beast meeple on them to indicate this. At the end of the game, you get five points for each matching cat family connected to the beasts.

Event module

The Kittens + Beasts expansion also comes with an Event module. I didn’t play with it because it adds a lot more complexity to the game, and I’m very happy with the current level of complexity in The Isle of Cats.

Boat Pack

Even though the Kittens + Beasts expansion doesn’t include the Boat Pack, I want to talk about it here because I don’t think it warrants its own blog post. The Boat Pack includes six new boats that are all unique. Each new boat has seven rooms like the original boats, but the shapes are very different. The new boats provide an additional layer of variety to the game by giving you new configurations that you have to fill.

Boat Pack cards
These are all of the different kinds of boats you will find in the Boat Pack.

Why I love the Kittens + Beasts expansion

It’s easier to fill your boat

One of the reasons I love the Kittens + Beasts expansion is that it makes it easier to fill more of your boat. In the base game of The Isle of Cats, you had to rely on treasure to fill the more challenging spaces. Now, you have the option of kittens as well! I find it incredibly satisfying to complete rooms on my boat by filling in the last few spaces, and I’m happy that it is now easier to do.

Your final scores are higher

Being able to fill more of your boat also means you are more likely to get a higher score at the end of the game. In addition, the kittens enable you to get larger families of cats because you can get two at a time. The bonus points from the beasts can add up too. Having every game end with a high score makes me feel like I’m doing very well each time.

New incentives and strategies

The kittens and beasts also add different incentives and strategies to the game. There is more incentive to be the fastest player each round because you get access to the kittens. In addition, the beasts provide you with direction for the early game as a result of trying to connect families of certain colors of cats to them.

Adorable artwork

I also love the artwork on the kitten and beast tiles! The kittens are adorable, of course, and add more variety to the cats you see on your boat. All of the beasts have unique artwork, which makes each game feel special because you only get to see a few of the beasts. 

The Boat Pack adds variety

Lastly, I find playing with the Boat Pack to be a delight. It feels like a simple addition to the game, but I love the variety it adds. Filling your boat is now much more of a unique puzzle each time. The weird shapes of the boats are also a joy to look at.

Kittens + Beasts expansion meeples in nature
I found some of the beast meeples out in the wild!

Link to Kittens + Beasts BoardGameGeek page.

This post is part of the My Favorite Expansions series, where I discuss tabletop game expansions I love. Click here if you’d like to read my previous post about The Isle of Cats.


2 responses to “Kittens + Beasts (The Isle of Cats): My Favorite Expansions”

  1. The kittens are so cute! And I love the custom beast meeples – a really cool game piece in my opinion.

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