Finally, here in the dead of the gray, gloomy, wet, soggy, cold, depressing, bleak winter, a board game has come forth to brighten up my dull, chilly life with the promise of spring: Photosynthesis!
No, this is not an unwanted throwback to science class; this is a beautifully constructed game of sun-stealing strategy where players must claim coveted point-earning spots on which to plant their color-coded trees in order to receive the most sunlight, as the sun rotates around the board to simulate the earth’s rotation. Creator Hjalmar Hach and publisher Blue Orange Games have created a methodized, visually pleasing (and really, really fun) boardgame that will appeal to families and beer-drinking-gaming-groups alike.
Photosynthesis: The Artwork
The science nerd lurking deep down inside me is excited, but not quite as thrilled as my inner nature-and-art-lover. This game is gorgeous! The trees are 3-D, and all designed to look like a different species. The colors are vibrant and suggest the same pleasant feeling you might experience on a particularly beautiful day.
Artist Sabrina Marimon really pulled off an exquisite aesthetic for this game, capturing both a realistic and whimsical feel.
Photosynthesis: The Interactive Game Board
I came for the trees, but this game is all about the sun; the movement of the sun is what drives the whole game, and I think the mechanic is fantastic. It signals the progression of time by triggering the next round (as well as ending the game) and even serves as the source of all point earning: if you place and upgrade your trees thoughtfully, you will reap the sun’s benefits (points!); if not, it will pass you by completely (no points!).
The movement of the sun will keep your brain on its toes as you contemplate your next moves!
Photosynthesis: The trees!
Like I said before: I came for the trees. I love that they’re 3D, I love the species-diversity, and I love how they operate in the game. Each player has access to different tree sizes (aptly referred to as small, medium, and large), and each size functions differently, as far as ability to reach sunlight or how much shadow is cast by the particular tree.
Not shockingly, one of my favorite moments in playing this game was watching my husband’s face as I swooped in with a large, shadow-casting tree and stole his potential sunlight (sorry, Adam).
Photosynthesis: Widely Applicable
So, Adam and I both loved this game, but what about non-board-game-nerds? We put this question to the test and invited his younger sister, who is not a gamer by trade, to play with us! The verdict? She loved it. This is a game that can be enjoyed by folks on any part of the gaming spectrum, from “not-at-all” gamers to “all-day-every-day” fanatics!
It’s not a heavyweight, super complex, marathon type game for all of you veterans, but if you’re in the mood to kick back and need a casual game to unwind over, give this one a chance!
Photosynthesis will accommodate 2 to 4 players (3 is your magic number!), and the recommended age range is 10 and up. Prices vary on this game—the suggested retail price is around $45, and I would say it is well worth it, especially if you belong to a gaming family (read: kiddos) or have someone that you would like to convert; this would be another great intro-to-gaming game to add to your arsenal if, you know, you’re looking to grow a gamer! Request this one at your local game store, because it is sure to brighten up your life!
Ok, I’ll stop with the puns. Just check out the Photosynthesis board game!