For this Photosynthesis review, we have good things to say about this nature driven engine-building board game. Photosynthesis is a great medium in the engine-building game and at its core it has a masterful puzzle of how you can gain the most light from a rotating sun and at the same time cast the most literal shade on your opponents. There is just the right amount and also, nature is a theme that everyone can get behind. This is our Photosynthesis review.
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PHOTOSYNTHESIS REVIEW by BOARD GAME HALV
– CATEGORY BREAKDOWN –
Fun (7 out of 10)
Photosynthesis is a strategic puzzle game wrapped inside of an engine-builder and both components are top-notch. The engine builder is about what trees to grow when, as well as, start new trees via seeds. There are not tons of decisions, but enough to hold weight. This kind of thing we have seen, but what it supports is much more unique. The dance of where to put your trees is everything, you need to balance many different things, many of them that will sneak up on you if you are not thinking three turns out. This package all together makes for a great gameplay experience.
Replayability (5 out of 10)
The game pretty much does not change at all. Sure where you and everyone places your very first tree can change everything, and not every game is the same. But a little bit of that tic tac toe fatigue will settle in. People will fall into patterns they are comfortable with and games will get stale. Do not let that detur you, there is still many many hours of gameplay here.
Player Interaction (9 out of 10)
For this Photosynthesis review, we really want to celebrate the player interaction of this game. You have your fleet of trees and that is separate and all you. Where the magic lies is in the centerboard. You have to help yourself while hurting others if you want any chance to win. One move from an opponent that you weren’t expecting and your whole game can be thrown into disarray. This is one of the better examples of great player interaction in this space.
Quality (8 out of 10)
Firstly, props to the designer for figuring out a device for a box that could comfortably hold some 30+ cardboard trees of varying size and color. The pieces are as lovely as the game and its calming nature serenity. Everything is colorful and well crafted, but most importantly durable. A couple of trees go down and this is over, but the publishers are looking out for you so no worries. Besides the production genius, the game is a brilliantly imagined one. The idea of putting an engine builder behind such an interesting central game, all to a theme that you think would be dry but is made fun is executed flawlessly.
Art & Style (6 out of 10)
Its nature, its trees, that’s it, and we do not mind. The game is beautiful and they do at the whole tree growth theme hard. Well put together and good for them for doing something new and unique instead of the same old. It is pretty limited in its depth, because of its trees after all, but still a great execution.
– IN CLOSING –
Photosynthesis is the medium engine builder you have been looking for, only if it is for a satisfying handful of games. This 2017 gem has a positive message (hey, think about trees, its hard to grow them and we need them) and its fun. There is no reason not to check this one out. If you like engine builders like Gizmos or Wingspan, and/or abstract strategy games like Azul, give this one a play. This has been our Photosynthesis review.
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PHOTOSYNTHESIS REVIEW by OTHER REVIEWERS
4 / 5 – Board Game Quest Review
“I was really hoping that I’d like Photosynthesis and I’m glad I did. The components looked so good and the theme was a fresh one. The game ended up being easy to learn, yet still provided more than enough depth to keep just about anyone entertained.”
4 / 5 – Board Game Family Review
“If you’re looking for a game with simple rules, straightforward play, short player turns, strategic planning, player interaction, and is visually appealing, then we highly recommend you play Photosynthesis.”
9 / 10 – iSlayTheDragon Review
“On the whole, I enjoy Photosynthesis, but I think you need to have the right audience for it. That would be families or gamers looking for a light, easy to learn, gorgeous game. Also, anyone looking to introduce abstract games, or heavy gamers looking for an easier abstract with which to kill time or “relax.”
70 / 100 – Zatu Games Review
“I love how the components of Photosynthesis are completely aligned with the game mechanics. The taller your tree, the longer the shadow it casts and the more sunlight it absorbs. As the sun moves around the board it’s very easy to visualize the beams of sunlight across the board. It’s probably the most thematic abstract strategy game we own.”
85 / 100 – Gaming Trend Review
“Photosynthesis takes a basic science concept and turns it into an engaging tactical game. Positioning and planning both play a big part in your success.”
Positive – Meeple Mountain Review
“The very first thing that drew me to this game was the artwork and I have a feeling that many people will say the same thing; it’s just a beautiful game. Once the game is in full swing and the game board is covered in little 3D trees, it’s almost impossible for a passerby to not stop dead in their tracks to take it all in.”
Positive – Gameosity Review
“While Photosynthesis wasn’t precisely what we expected, it’s still a good game. It walks that fine line of complexity where per-turn decisions are important, as is overall strategy, accomplishing both without presenting a plethora of options to consider. Our criticisms aside, it is a beautiful, polished game.”
Mixed – Birth. Movies. Death. Review
“While I do like Photosynthesis, it simply does not call to me. I have so many quick and light games I would rather play instead. If you do decide to get into it, I highly recommend playing with the maximum four players, as that generates the busiest board.”