Photosynthesis is a great game. I have played this one a few times since we purchased it last year. This was the first time I played it with four players. My Sister in law Amanda and my Brother rich were in town to visit our daughter and that evening we got into some board games. This was the first one of the night. With 2 players the game is a lot less crowded. With four players you really have to be careful where you placing your pieces as you can get boxed out quickly. This was to be my fate in this game.
The basics of this game are you are building a forest and each player has a different kind of
tree. The kind of tree doesn't matter all players play the same but it makes the board look beautiful. Might be interesting to develop some asynchronous rules around try type but back to the game at hand and out of my imagination. Each player starts out with two seeds, four small trees and one medium tree. the goal is to score point by making your trees go through the life-cycle seed>small>medium>large>collected. To grow your trees you can spend light points that you have earned from the existing trees on the board. To score the light points your tree must be able to catch the light from the sun as it rotates around the board. Other trees of equal or larger size will block the light depending on where the lights coming from.
When you collect your large tree you get a points token from the stack. The higher points are on the top so you have to act quickly, but don't forget to balance that with collecting light points. There are also three rings and the closer in you get the more points you score by pulling from a stack associated with the ring you are in. That is really all there is to this game. The pieces look beautiful but they are just slotted cardboard to create you four-sided tree(I worry about durability). The game is elegant and has some complex strategy that emerges after the first few turns. If you can ignore the fact that the Sun is moving in a circle around the trees the game could also be educational on tree lifec-ycles.
Designed by: Hjalmar Hach
Published by: Blue Orange (EU), Blue Orange Games
Year Published: 2017
Recommended Ages: 10+
Time to Play: 60 minutes