BLUE ORANGE Games Photosynthesis Strategy Board Game
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- The green strategy board game!
- Plant and shape the ever-changing forest as you cultivate your seeds and your strategy
- Take your trees through their life-cycle, from seedling to full Bloom to rebirth, and earn points as their leaves collect energy from the revolving sun's rays
- Carefully pick where you Sow and when you grow, as trees in the Shadows are blocked from light, and from points
- 2 to 4 players. Ages 8 and up
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The Evergreen Strategy Game
Welcome to the world of Photosynthesis, the green strategy board game! Plant and shape the ever-changing forest as you cultivate your seeds and your strategy. Take your trees through their life-cycle, from seedling to full bloom to rebirth, and earn points as their leaves collect energy from the revolving sun’s rays. Carefully pick where you sow and when you grow, as trees in the shadows are blocked from light, and from points. This game features realistic gameplay and beautiful graphics.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Theme - 10/10
Artwork - 10/10
Components - 10/10
Overall - 10/10
Don't be fooled by the beautiful artwork, or the adorable little illustrated animals hidden within the components, Photosynthesis is a vicious abstract strategy game, and it's probably the best use of thematic gameplay for any tabletop game in 2017, worthy of being equated with other top tier uses of theme in designing gameplay, such as Shadows Over Camelot, Blood Rage, and just about anything produced by Fantasy Flights.
The theme revolves around growing trees. Not the sexiest idea for a board game theme, I know, but Photosynthesis compensates with its deceptively deep gameplay. You begin with two trees. Your trees absorb sunlight, which translates into "light points," your in-game currency. You use your "light points" to disperse your seeds, plant more trees, and grow your existing trees, attempting to make your way to the center of the board, where the most fertile soil is located, which is where you'll accumulate the most victory points. Already I'm sure you can imagine involves a certain degree of area control and resource management, but the true depth in Photosynthesis' strategy comes from its timing and time management, which you have to plan every single one of your moves around. There's a "sun" rotating around the board. As the sun rotates, and strikes your trees from different angles, your trees cast shadows in different directions, which will cause the light source to be cut off from trees positioned in certain directions, including your own. Bigger trees cast bigger shadows, while they're also capable of absorbing light in the midst of the smaller trees around them, forcing you to constantly take into account where the sun is going to be positioned, and how you can best position yourself to absorb the most amount of light as possible, and, more importantly, how to cut off the light source of your opponents, which makes time management critical, and facilitates weaponizing the most cut throat strategies at your disposal. There is no "nice" way to play Photosynthesis, and still be successful.
That all goes without mentioning just how wonderful the artwork and components in this game are. The trees at you and your opponent's disposal are not merely color swapped copies of one another, but each different color of tree comes with a completely different design, which is not only helpful for immediately differentiating between your trees and your opponent's trees, but it also just makes the game look that much more visually appealing when it's all laid out on the table, as you can see in the picture.
I'm still deciding whether this is going to crack my top 25 board games of all time, since I've only played it four times so far, and I'll need to play it more to decide for certain, but as of right now, I'm betting it will, and it's easily my favorite new game from what I've played in 2017 so far.
Things I liked:
Beautiful Artwork – It’s a game about trees! Yet, each of the four players have their own unique tress, making up a forest tableau in front of them. The tree components and the board look good, box cover is cool. The game just pops with bright colors, like a fall forest in Northern Michigan (my home state).
Mechanics Fit the Theme – You are collecting sun to grow trees, chop them down and score them. Clear as day. The sun goes around the board in a predictable pattern. Trees block sun from other trees. When explaining the game rules, things will “make sense” because people know how trees grow.
Unique Spatial Engine Building – The best part of the game is deciding where to plant your trees to gather sun from the six spots around the board. You’ll want to look for straight paths to the sun, avoiding your neighbor’s trees. Ultimately, you are thinking about the next SIX spots the sun will be…That can take a lot to think about, making this game better for older kids/adults.
Simple, yet Meaningful choices – Each tree can do one grow action per turn. The iconography is clear, you pay sun points to purchase seeds and trees, you spend sun points to throw seeds and grow trees. There is one currency, sun. You want as much as
Might not be for everyone:
Aggressive Play Benefits – The best moves are when you can block your opponent from getting sun, or block them from a key spot in the forest…while also greatly benefiting yourself. This could frustrate people who like more solitaire game experiences. You are fighting for light in this forest!
No Luck – You will win or lose based on how well you placed your trees, how efficiently used your resources to build an engine and score some trees, and how whether you got blocked a bunch. Generally, speaking we all cut down three trees. The winner cut down four trees to edge out a victory.
Calculating Sun – You’ll get better, but calculating how much sun you got on a turn can be mistake prone in the beginning. A tall tree blocks three spaces behind it, a small tree one space. You’ll get the hang of it and be producing 10 sun points by the third round.
The game works at all player counts. Two is sort of weird since you go as first player, then the next player goes…becomes first player and goes again. But, it works. Three is probably the sweet spot cause the board is TIGHT at four players blocking each other out.
Photosynthesis is a beautiful game that will catch your eye if you were walking past a game. It’s unique theme fit the game perfectly, and helped make the rules explanation fairly easy. The mechanics are simple enough that you can pick up on things by three or four turns and not have any questions. The game benefits from well thought out aggressive play, luck is not a factor. You’ll make some great moves, you’ll likely get screwed over a couple times. And, you’ll have a cool forest to look at when the game ends.
I wouldn’t give the game 5 stars simply because their are better, more emmersive games out there (Terraforming Mars as an example). This one is incredibly easy to teach as you only have three actions to choose from; buy trees/seeds from your player board and add them to your supply, have an existing tree on the central board “cast a seed” (from your supply) and upgrading an existing tree on the central board (with one from your supply).
This game should appeal to a lot of people. You’re not really killing anybody or summoning demons or anything. The theme of growing trees might seem bland at first but it works very well for this game. I’m also a fan of killing people and summoning demons in games so of growing trees can sell me then it can sell you!