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Race to the Raft... Those kittens won't rescue themselves!


A series of fires have broken out on the island and the cats need to escape! There is a raft on the waters edge waiting for them and it is up to you as players to work together to build paths through their natural habitat to certain safety.

Box and edge of board layout for Race to the Raft board game

I have to admit I'm not a cat person and when Alex brought this game home, I was sceptical to say the least. However, despite the theme (which I'm sure many people will love) it did involve a mechanic that I enjoy and provided me with the opportunity to get my brain puzzling over a solution!


First Impressions


When our copy of Race to the Raft arrived, I must admit I was actually quite intrigued. The combination of a clean white box with a clear, crisp image on the front caught my attention and made me want to find out more. Upon opening the box, you're met with an explosion of colour which was a welcome discovery and had quite the impact after the simplicity of the box. There were only a few punchboards included and the rules were well written, which meant it didn't take long before we were playing the game for the first time.

Game Play Overview


The game is played over a series of rounds and although it's co-operative, the players have limited topics of discussion as well as set times when they can communicate and when they can't which adds to the frantic nature of the game. The Island is burning down and players must work together to evacuate the cats onto the rafts. However, in addition to the limited communication between players, each cat will only traverse terrain of it's favourite kind, meaning that you'll have to work together to build paths for the cats to follow in order for them to reach the safety of the raft.


You'll begin each round by choosing 3 cards from amongst the 4 decks to gain terrain paths to lay down on the board to help the cats escape. Each deck (depicted with a differing symbol) is drawn from blindly and the reverse of each deck will show you which terrain types are included in the deck and the frequency of which that terrain will occur across all the cards in the deck. You are not guaranteed any type of terrain but some will be more likely than others and if a terrain type is not depicted on the back of the card, you can be certain that it will not show up. Players can discuss their plan of action openly before choosing cards, however once the first card is selected, discussion must cease until all players have picked cards. The players may then discuss the order of play, however they cannot share details of their cards with other players. Players can place cards in any order they wish, or they can discard a card from their hand to move a cat any number of spaces along it's path. If there are ever 4 cards in the discard pile, the fire spreads and those cards are then removed from the game. Play then continues cycling through rounds until all of the surviving cats have safely made it to the raft.


Cats on the raft at the end of a successful board game of Race to the Raft

Pros and Cons


The game has been really well designed and includes plenty of missions and set up layouts to make this game replayable over and over again. It is a highly co-operative game that is simple to pick up and has a variety of difficulty levels making it ideal for both veteran gamers and those newly into the hobby alike. It has a great puzzly element to it, however I can see some players getting frustrated by the limited discussion times and information you can share. Each terrain type has it's own images as well as colour and each of the cats are in different poses depending on their colour, making this game suitable for players who are colour blind.


Final Verdict

Overall, I really enjoyed this game and feel it has been very well designed and carefully thought out to ensure a seamless gameplay with a nice combination of luck and skill.


In conclusion, we would rate this game a 9/10




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