Sat. Sep 18th, 2021

• I receive press releases for many game announcements, but I miss far more than I see, which means it’s perhaps understandable that I’ve discovered Thomas Franken‘s Forests of Pangaia only two weeks after the close of its Kickstarter campaign.

Board Game: Forests of Pangaia

This title from newcomer German publisher Pangaia Games looks gorgeous, almost as if Franken eyed Photosynthesis and said, “Cardboard trees are fine and all, but I think I can do better.”

The description of this 2-4 player game is minimal, but you can check out the English rulebook here should you be curious about this early 2022 release:

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You are a young spirit of the forest, sent out by Gaia to bring the first life to the world. While you are growing your trees across the vast and barren lands of Pangaia, you must complete a series of rituals to honor Mother Nature. Those rituals unleash Gaia’s energy of life and are the beginning of the endless cycle of growth and decay.

Board Game: Forests of Pangaia

Preview copy

In Forests of Pangaia, you grow your own forest and contend with other players for territory. Strategic choices are crucial along the way. Will you keep your forest calm and isolated or mingle with others to reap the benefits gained from diversity?

• Hearing of Power Plants from Canadian publisher Kids Table BG threw me as a game about industrial energy didn’t seem to be in its wheelhouse, but the title was a ruse, a pun that will fit comfortably next to other titles in its line such as Bugs on Rugs and Creature Comforts.

So what is this Adam E. Daulton design for 1-5 players about? Plants that grant you power, as explained here:

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Every wizard in the neighborhood knows that the best spell components are grown fresh. Unfortunately, only one particular plot of fertile soil in the area is the best for growing magical plants. Everyone agrees to “share” the garden, but you have a plan: Your team of loyal sprites will use the powers of the plants to infiltrate the garden as it grows, so that when everything is in full bloom, the most potent patches will belong to you!

Board Game: Power Plants

In Power Plants, you are a wizard growing a shared garden of magical plants with your rivals. Each turn, you choose one of the patch tiles from your hand and add it to the growing garden. You can activate the added tile for its dynamic “plant” power or activate all the tiles it touches for their slightly weaker (but still very cool) “grow” powers. As the fields expand, you strategically deploy your sprites to gain control of more and more of the fantastic flora. Will your magical horticulture skills pay off?

Manipulate the garden’s growth, gather magical gems, and deploy your team of loyal sprites to repel your competition and be in control of the most valuable fields when the garden is complete!

Board Game: Greek Salad
Board Game: Greek Salad

Original and new cover

• To continue with the greenery, in August 2021 German publisher HUCH! will release Greek Salad, a card game for 2-6 players from Dror Shomrat that first appeared from FoxMind Israel in the early 2010s.

How did this game make its way into the catalog of a German publisher a decade after its debut? I have no idea, but I’m always curious about such things, mostly because it provides evidence of how games are played and how they shift through the world from one culture to another.

In any case, here’s how to play:

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Your goal in Greek Salad is to be the first to get rid of all your cards. Each player starts the game with six cards in hand, then you flip the top card of the deck until a vegetable card is revealed, reshuffling any revealed special cards back into the deck.

On a turn, you can play a vegetable card onto that discard pile as long as your card has at least one more ingredient of a type on the last card played. For example, if the most recently played card has 2 peppers, 4 tomatoes, and 1 piece of feta cheese, the next card played must contain at least 5 tomatoes, at least 3 peppers, or at least 2 pieces of feta cheese.

Board Game: Greek Salad

Alternatively, you can play a special card on a second discard stack. If you play salt, then the next player must play salt themselves or skip their turn and do nothing more than “mix the salad”, that is, shuffle the played vegetable cards. If you play a mixing bowl, you flip the vegetable play requirement rule so that played veg cards must have fewer ingredients (but at least one) of a type on the most recently played card; another played mixing bowl cancels this rule. If you play a chef card, you can demand that everyone play vegetable cards that contain a certain ingredient (while following the current more-or-less rule) or you can prohibit an ingredient from being played; this rule lasts until the next special card is played.

If you can’t play a card, you must draw a card. Keep taking turns around the table until someone plays their final card — which must be a vegetable card — and goes out, winning the game.