As you may recall, I got a new board game!: Photosynthesis
What? You don’t remember? I wrote a whole thing about it! … Well, let me help you remember. It’s a game about friggin’ trees! I have had the opportunity to play it several times now, a played some games with my girlfriend, and some with a group of friends. One of my friends was particularly excited because he is a forestry nerd. (I didn’t really know forest nerdery was a thing either, but I suppose I just never thought about it.)
You see, I live up in Humboldt county in California, which is famous for growing weed and having redwoods. My friend has his own forestry degree and a home business making compost from trees or something. He showed it to me one time, we drove around in the forest for like hours before he showed me his giant dump trucks and conveyor belt mulching machine of death, which he had parked in the middle of nowhere in the redwoods. He may actually just be disposing of bodies out there for the mob, but the point is, this guy loves his trees.
When we played our first game he kept telling us about what species of tree we had and why it made sense that the higher quality soil was in the middle of the board. Like, it wasn’t part of the game, he just wanted to tell us about it. He was so excited I can say that this game has the tree nerd stamp of approval!
What I loved was how easy it was to start playing. It took longer to put together the cardboard trees than it did to read the rules. (The artwork on those trees is BEAUTIFUL by the way, every piece of this game has little hidden eater egg of art on it.) I read the rules, since I am the kind of guy that does that, and after playing the first round together everybody understood how the game worked. Very intuitive.
It’s like chess, it’s easy to learn how to play but you have think ahead if you want to win. Each round the sun moves around the board (for a different season) and your trees cast shadows in the same direction. You get sunlight points (money) for your trees that get sun, but you miss out when your trees are in the shade. You have to plan ahead to try and shade out your opponents trees while trying to outfox them by planting your seeds where there will be sun in a couple seasons. Its one of those games where right after you play it, you already know how you could have played it better, and it makes you want to play again.
Thankfully it takes a little less than an hour to play. This would be a great game to play with your friends who are a little less nerdy, or resistant to the world of fantasy and hobby gaming. You could lure them into your web of deceit with the gorgeous artwork that is all over this game, and before you know it they are playing D&D with you.
“They can’t prove it, they’re friggin’ tees!”