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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– 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.