The board game Earth was released in English in the spring and quickly sold out. It is considered a must have for all Wingspan and Ark Nova fans. From the fall, the game will be available again in English and will also be available in Dutch, so it is time to take a closer look at this game. What makes this game so special?

What is it?

Earth is a game for 1 to 5 players with relatively simple rules (you only have 4 actions to choose from) but countless strategic possibilities. You can play the game as it should be with different objectives, but you can also choose to play a simplified version of the game.

Earth is a tableau builder in which each player works to build the best possible self-sufficient ecosystem by adding cards from your hand to your own island. As soon as someone has completed the tableau of 4 x 4 cards, the round is completed and the game ends.

How do you play it?

The game has a shared player board on which there are 4 goals that you try to achieve as quickly as possible, because the person who reaches the goal first gets the most points for this. In addition, there are 2 island cards on this player board with final goals for which you receive extra points at the end of the game.

Each player also has their own player board on which your personal island, ecosystem and climate card are located. The personal island is your own goal that you try to achieve at the end of the game. These cards also determine what you start with and what special bonuses you have during the game.

During your turn you have four different actions to choose from:

  • Plants – You may place 2 cards in your tableau by paying the costs by discarding earth from your personal supply. Then draw 4 cards, discard 3 and keep 1 in hand. Then activate all green properties on your cards in your ecosystem.
  • Composting – You may take 5 earth from the supply and place it on your player board. Then take 2 cards from the draw pile and place them on your compost pile. Then activate all red and multi-colored properties in your ecosystem.
  • Watering – You may place 6 cuttings from the supply on empty cutting spaces in your tableau. You can also take 2 earth from the supply and place it on your player board. Then activate all blue and multi-colored properties in your ecosystem.
  • To grow – You may take 4 cards from the draw pile and take them into your hands. You can then take 2 growth plates and place them on available growth spots in your tableau. Then activate all yellow and multi-colored properties in your ecosystem.

Every time you have chosen an action, your opponents may also perform this action, but only the weaker version of this action that is listed on your player table under each action. They may also activate all colored properties in their own ecosystem.

Anyone (even if it is not your turn) can also play event cards from his or her hand. These cards give you something you can do right away, but often result in penalty points at the end of the game.

As soon as someone has filled the tableau with 20 cards, this person receives 7 extra points. The round is now completed and the points are then counted. You now receive points for all goals that have been achieved, the cards in your tableau and your played event cards, but also for the cards in your compost pile, the cuttings that have been placed and for placing growth plates. The one with the most points is the winner.

What do I think?

I am very enthusiastic about Earth myself. First of all, Earth is a very nicely designed game. The 358 cards in total are all unique and contain photos of the flora and fauna on earth. It is also nice that each card at the bottom provides extra information about what can be seen in the photo. You can also see this at Wingspan, for example. Due to this wide variety of cards, no two Earth games are the same.

What is also very nice about Earth is that it plays very smoothly. You never actually have to wait for your turn because when it is someone else's turn you can perform the weaker action at the same time. What I also really like is that everyone can also activate all the colored properties in his or her island. This gives you a real motor. This means you are not just concerned with playing cards that give a high score, but you also really look at what are the best properties to place in my island. You also want to have different colored properties as quickly as possible so that you get maximum benefit from every action.

The rules of Earth are quite simple because you actually only have 4 actions to choose from, but there is still quite a bit of depth to the game. There are quite a few goals to take into account. This can be quite overwhelming for new players, but fortunately this has been thought about by offering the option of a simplified version of the game. The many symbols in the game are also well detailed on your player board.

What I do notice is that even though it is a race to achieve certain goals as quickly as possible, the interaction is still somewhat disappointing. You are mainly working solo on your own puzzle and the fact that everyone is doing actions simultaneously means that you are not always aware of what the other person is doing. This doesn't bother me, but I can imagine that for some people this means that it is not their game after all.

Do you want to add the Earth game to your board game cabinet? Then click here to order the game!

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