Who would have thought it! A board game about growing trees and watching them die!!!
No farming involved...
No use as a resource...
Just grow, die and score points.
A rare thing in my arc of gaming is playing what is essentially an abstract game that has a sap dripping theme. Normally, abstracts are moving pieces or placing pieces to give a strategic win. Not here. You will start by placing a few small trees on the boarder of a forest. And that is where the abstractness ends. As the trees will then gain you energy, which you use as action points, if they are in direct line of sunlight.
Actions range from making your trees grow from one size to the next, laying a seed on another part of the forest and when trees have reached their full height, letting them shuffle of their mortal coil. Or they just fall over, leaving the space empty for another life to shoot. This is how you gain points. Ending the life of a tree in the center of the board will give you big scoring tiles while on the boarders of the forest, the scoring tiles are not so generous. And there lies the part of the strategy of the game. Having your trees grow in the middle to give you big point, but with the possibility of collecting the suns energy. Or vice versa.
Each round will start with a lager sun tile, moving around the outside of the board. Trees in the sun gain you a point of energy for their size. Small trees 1 point, 2 for a medium and 3 for a large. Although, each tree will cast a shadow, like sitting behind a big headed person at the cinema, you can't see the screen. If your tree is in the shadow of another tree, whether it be another players or your own, it gains no energy for you. The more energy you gain, the more actions you can preform on your turn.
And that's not the only thing you need to think of. Each player has a bank that holds their components (trees and seeds) and a reserve of trees and seed that are used to place and replace the pieces on the board. Energy is also used to pay for these items to be removed from the bank to be placed into your reserve. The bigger the tree, the more it costs. And the more of a particular size of tree you place on the board or into your reserve, the more they cost also. The cycle of life theme doesn't just end with the photosynthesis recuperated from the trees. Every time you remove a piece from the board, whether it was replaced by a larger one of felled, it goes back into the bank...as long as there is a space.
I will tip my hat to Hjalmar Hach for coming up with such an elegant playing and uniquely themed game that feels challenging but leaves you feeling calm, as if you have just had a picnic in that there forest. Find out more about the game by watching the video...