It seems there’s been an uptick in board games with a nature theme. Some newer titles have even won Spiel des Jahres or Game of the Year. Have you ever stopped to wonder why?
We have and our theory is this: we are all yearning for the outdoors.
Think about it: We’ve endured the past two years of the pandemic indoors. Many of us have come to the realization that the hustle-and-bustle mentality of life in the city is no longer efficient. Tech-boom burnout has become increasingly real, especially given that the world’s number one coping mechanism for isolation and social distancing was… whatever we could do on our devices.
There’s a Japanese term called shinrin-yoku, or ‘forest bathing.’ It’s a physiological and psychological exercise where you simply immerse yourself in nature. It’s not hiking, climbing, or jogging, it’s an act that aims to help people open their senses to nature and reconnect with peace and calm.
Now, given that nature parks and trails are not as accessible (especially to those of us who live in cities like Metro Manila), practicing shinrin-yoku is not as easy. So maybe board games with nature themes are the next best thing.So whether you’re a disillusioned city resident wanting to unplug yourself from technology or a plantito/plantita looking to fulfill a cottagecore fantasy, here are 10 nature-themed board games you might love, available at Gaming Library.
Wingspan is a board game that won Game of the Year multiple times in 2019. Players compete to build and maintain thriving bird habitats that attract more bird species and hopefully score them the most points. Known for its unique approach to strategy, gorgeous game design, and stellar replay value, Wingspan is great for both seasoned players and newcomers alike.
Parks and Trails
Parks and Trails are two board games themed around the outdoor and wildlife parks and sites in America. In Parks, players trek through different trails across four seasons, taking actions and collecting memories of the places they visit. Trails, the standalone spinoff of the Parks series, takes players exploring iconic sites and national parks across the U.S., gathering resources, observing wildlife, and earning wilderness badges. If you’re looking for a game that hinges on claiming certain locations early and vying for various small bonuses, Parks is your game. But if you’re a player who gets a rush on maximizing movement and finding plenty of birds, Trails might be the game for you.
In Cascadia, players take a journey through the Pacific Northwest to compete in creating the most harmonious ecosystem. In building the game, the makers of Cascadia accomplished what many strive to create: a game that appeals to casual players while also appeasing the needs of more hardcore board game hobbyists.
Plantitos/Plantitas, rejoice! In Photosynthesis, players win by earning the most points in completing the life cycles of your trees. Score more points than other competitors by strategically planting your trees to block other players’ trees from gaining light. With gorgeous art and design and abstract gameplay, this ‘green strategy board game’ is the board game for you.
We’ve got the animal lovers covered, too! Ark Nova is a game that has players design modern, scientifically managed zoos, with the ultimate goal of owning the most successful zoological establishment. They do so by building enclosures, accommodating animals, and supporting conservation projects through turn-based actions. With fast pacing and great replay value, Ark Nova holds to its name several Game of the Year titles in 2022.
...is a straightforward point building game where players use cards with beautiful art of, you guessed it, trees! By the end of a thirty minute game, players win with the highest score at the end of play. The cards are beautifully designed with different kinds of trees, perfect for those who love nature, art, and numbers.
Herbaceous is a simple resource management card game that lets players vy for the highest points at the end of a session. With a gentle learning curve and easy-to-understand point system, players can live out their garden fantasy of potting, growing, and harvesting herbs painted in a gorgeous watercolor style.
Stardew Valley: The Board Game
On the note of cottagecore and its rejection of urbanization, you’ll wanna play a game that faces that head on. Stardew Valley is a cooperative board game where players work together as farmers to save the valley from the nefarious JojaMart Corporation. Will you and your fellow players work together to farm, fish, befriend, and collect all kinds of resources to fulfill Grandpa’s Goal and restore the Community Center?
Root is a game for 2-4 players that can be enjoyed in about an hour. Complex and expansive, players journey through a fantasy world where cute little anthropomorphic animals fight against injustice! This card management game lets you pick factions with unique traits, challenges, and win conditions. Don't be fooled by the cuteness though... Only one player can stand victorious, so things could get brutal!
Everdell is a game that takes players to the charming, fictional land of, well, Everdell, where a civilization of forest critters is thriving and expanding. The time to settle new territories and establish new cities has come, and it’s up to the players to lead their groups! With simple, but deep gameplay, and an eye-catching setup, Everdell is a place that players might never want to leave.
About Gaming Library
Gaming Library aims to be the go-to resource for board games, providing not only titles that can be enjoyed by families, but also to be enjoyed by friends both newcomers and veterans alike. By pulling from different resources from all over the world, we at Gaming Library curate an impressive collection of games for consumers to choose from, suitable for anybody from casual players to hardcore hobbyists. In doing so, we hope to provide the best means to foster activities that strengthen family ties and friendships, while teaching relevant skills and practical critical thinking that can be applied to your everyday life.