Normally, when I'm aiming for a board game, I'm looking for something that is simple, varied, colorful and generally long-lived. The games must be short but always different and there must be some variability in the results and strategies. In Cascadia I have found most of my goals and, after doing about ten games with different people, I am ready to talk about them.
The elements of the game: Habitat tiles and Fauna tokens
Cascadia is a game that develops through hexagonal tiles representing five different environments: forest, sea, prairie, mountain or marsh. These tiles, called Habitat tiles, can contain up to two different habitats. Above each Habitat tile is one or more symbols representing five animals: the fox, the bear, the salmon, the moose or the hawk.
On the sides of the game board (made up of the Habitat tiles that we will draw) you will find a pile of face down tiles, four face up tiles and, in front of these, some tokens with the aforementioned animals depicted on them: these are the Fauna tokens. Far from all this is a bag full of Pinecone tokens: they are the currency of the game, with which you can buy some "special moves".
The game consists of drawing Habitat tiles, placing the relevant fauna tokens on them and thus scoring. Combinations are obtained based on the quantity of Habitats that are chained together and the position of the animals on the tiles: the winner is the one who at the end of the game has managed to generate the most uniform Habitat, the best combination between different animals and has earned Pinecone points.
A mixture of simplicity and strategy
Learning Cascadia requires, at most, one session: the way in which points are scored, both through the Faune tokens and the Habitat tiles, is immediate. Although based on a fairly narrow variable of elements, however, Cascadia manages to offer a wide spectrum of possibilities to the player, given both by the randomness of the elements and by the strategy adopted by the other players.
What is initially an immediate game, therefore, becomes a much more strategic game than it initially presents itself. Basing your strategy on a certain Habitat could attract the attention of other players, as well as for certain Fauna tokens. To complicate matters even more are the Pinecone points, which allow you to shuffle the Fauna tokens on the field and then demolish the carefully constructed floors during the wait.
The ten or so games I played, before doing this review, all turned out to be quite unique: as we gained confidence in the game we went to build more and more complex combinations and the result of the game was always uncertain. A pleasant game, therefore,