Our step-by-step guide to how to play Kodama 3D board game. Kodama 3D is a lighthearted update to the classic Kodama with a dexterity twist. You start with a base of a tree and need to artfully pick up different branches to grow it larger and larger. This game may have little similarities to many other games but there is nothing quite like it. It is very well balanced and inviting to players of all ages and intensity levels. Learning how to play Kodama 3D is easy but mastering it is certainly not.

FOR MORE: Kodama 3D Page | Kodama 3D Review | Games Like Kodama 3D | Buy Kodama 3D on Amazon


When they grow older, every kodama is given a tree of their own, and it’s their job to watch over it and help it grow up strong and healthy. From trunk to twig, they must keep it green and growing, the perfect home for flowers, mushrooms, and critters of all kinds. Even other kodama love to travel around and visit new trees. Now it’s your turn. Create your own masterpiece of branches and leaves, and make the forest more beautiful than ever.

Players will grow trees in three-dimensional space. Players move their kodama pieces around a grid of branch tiles in order to pick the branches they want to add to their tree. When a player adds a branch to their tree that doesn’t match what it is touching, they choose a goal card from the ones available. After all players have placed 12 branches on their tree, players score all of their goal cards. The player with the most points wins.


Time Needed: Approximately 30 – 40 minutes.

This is a step by step guide for how to play Kodama 3D the popular drafting and set collection tree building board game. Additional notions and special rules can be found below the list. These will be referenced for your convenience.

1. SETUP | Give Out Player Trunks
Give each player a set of trunk tiles. Put the two pieces together to form a freestanding trunk. These correspond to player color.

2. SETUP | Give Out Meeple Tokens
Each player takes the two meeple tokens that correspond to their player color.

3. SETUP | Build Limb Grid
Shuffle up the 64 limb tiles and put out stacks of 4 titles each. In a 2 player game make a 3×3 grid (9 stacks). In a 3 – 4 player you make a 4×4 grid (16 stacks).

4. SETUP | Choose Secret Goals
Shuffle the goals deck (cards with leafs on the back). Deal out three cards to each player. They then choose two of the three cards to keep and the remainder go to the bottom of the deck.

5. SETUP | Setup Goal Row
Takes the goal deck and flip over the top four cards to form the communal row. Put the remainder of the deck next to the row of cards as you will need to flip in new goals as cards are taken.

6. SETUP | Choosing Starting Location
This is the stage of how to play Kodama 3D where each player needs to choose their two locations. Starting with the youngest player and going clockwise, players put one of their meeples on any available stack once and then in reverse order for the second (a draft wheel). This will dictate how your first few turns will go.

7. GAMEPLAY | Step 1 | Move A Meeple
To kick off gameplay in how to play Kodama 3D the active player chooses one of their two figures to move. They can move any amount of spaces in any one direction (up, down, left, right, diagonal) that is not blocked by another meeple. Wherever you land, you collect the top piece from that stack to add to your tree.

8. GAMEPLAY | Step 2 | Grow Your Tree
The piece you just grabbed now goes into your tree. Take the stem and stick it in one of the available spots on your tree, expanding out a limb. The tree does have to stand up, so you need to make sure to keep balanced. Your goal is to connect like symbols, giving you points for completing chains.

9. GAMEPLAY | Step 3 | Optionally Draw A Goal
If these two items are true, then take any one of the four available goals – (1) The feature on the branch you just played doesn’t match the feature on a branch it was just attached to and (2) The Kodama on the branch tile you just added to your tree doesn’t match the kodama on the part of your tree you connected. If you took a goal, replace the empty spot with a fresh new goal card.

10. GAMEPLAY | Pass and Repeat
After a player completes the three steps, the play moves to the player to the left and the steps are repeated. This continues until game end.

11. GAME END | Everyone Has Drawn 10 Tiles
Once Everyone had drawn a total of 10 tiles to add to their tree, players add the two tiles where their meeples currently sit to the tree as well. This means you connect a total of 12 at the end.

12. SCORING | Score Goal Cards
All of the collected goal cards have conditions and values. If you did it, you get the points, if not you don’t. Add up all the points you got.

13. WINNING | High Score Wins
The last step of how to play Kodama 3D is to determine a winner. The high score wins. If there is a tie, the player amongst them with the most goal cards wins.



Some goal cards score if you meet the requirement listed on the card. Those goal cards will show a VP value in the middle of the card.

Other goals will score for each time you meet the requirement listed on the card. Those goal cards will show “VP/PER” in the middle of the card.

SIDES OF YOUR TREE: Some goal cards refer to the sides of your tree. Your tree has three sides. The three connection points of your trunk are the begginings of each side. All branch tiles that grow from the same initial connection point are considered part of the same side.

IN A ROW: Some goal cards refer to having branch tiles with certain kodama or features on them “in a row.” This means you must have the specific icon on branch tiles or your trunk in a way that you can start with one branch tile and count in a line the specified number of the icon in a continuous line without doubling back.


You can play Kodama 3D with only one player using the following rules:

SETUP: Use the same forest setup as the two-player setup. Place your two kodama meeples on two different branch stacks.

GAME PLAY: When you draw a goal card, place all of the other goal cards in the display on the bottom of the deck. Then, fill the row to four goal cards.

END OF GAME: Score as you normally would. Record your score to try to best it the next time you play.


  • 38x Goal Cards
  • 64x Branch Tiles
  • 8x Kodama Meeples (2 each of 4 colors)
  • 8x Trunk Pieces (connectable)


We hope you can now say you know how to play Kodama 3D. This lighthearted update to the classic Kodama with a dexterity twist has something for everyone. It is a great mix of drafting and set collection with a very fun and unique thematic. A game that is able to support complex tree build is obviously doing something write. Learning how to play the game may be a little tricky, but once you get it, games really flow.

Tagged in: