Designers: Leo Colovino & Fabio Visintin
Duration: 15 minutes
Do you remember the story of when Pinnochio was in the forest with Red Riding Hood, and suddenly Hansel & Gretel showed up followed by the 3 Bears? Me neither. But apparently that can happen in Forest, a quick and simple card game in which you match fairies on cards and collect them and at the end of the game the person who has collected the most cards wins!
What’s in the box?
Inside the box which is nice and pocket sized (perfect for travel!), the only components are 60 cards. That’s it… and thats all you need. And I must say… the art on the cards is so captivating. So much detail has gone into them and so many fairy tale creatures appear on them. The best part is that they aren’t even part of the gameplay… but they add so much charm that it makes every card just come to life.
So how do you play?
The game starts with everyone being dealt 3 cards. The youngest player goes first, and places either a tree trunk card or a leaf card. Tree trunks are placed vertically and leaves horizontally above the trunk. Then, after placing a card you draw a new card and the next person takes their turn.
So that’s it? Thats the whole game? well… not quite. On each card there are little fairies. There are 4 kinds… actual fairies, owls, frogs and… santa. Don’t ask. But, as cards are continued to be placed, as soon as someone places a card that adds a 7th fairy of the same kind (like 7 frogs) they take all the cards with the frogs on them, and put them in a pile next to them. Then they rearrange the remaining cards (if there are any) and the next player adds to the remaining cards. The game continues until the deck runs out, and then players just play their remaining cards without drawing new ones until the last card is played.
There is one end game condition that is a little puzzling. The rules state that the last person to take cards at the end of the game gets all the cards remaining on the table. That can be really powerful and unbalanced as sometimes there can be lots of cards left on the table. I’ve played with omitting that rule, and found the game works better, and everyone who played agreed. Regardless, at the end of the game everyone counts all the card they’ve collected and the person with the most wins!
Is it any good?
I’ll get this out of the way first. The game is really dependent on luck… I’ve played a few games where the person before me did the exact move I wanted to do and I went halfway through the game without getting a single point. But you know what? It’s a 15 minute game… and with an age of 6+, its easy for kids to pick up and learn. Don’t expect much strategy here, as you are dependent on what other people play and what you draw into your hand. And that luck factor really rises as you increase the player count. It really worked better as a 2-4 player game, but you can play with 5 if you wish.
Even with that luck factor working against it, every single time I’ve played this game its been a blast. Not only do you have to keep having to count all the little creatures and watch what you play (you don’t want to put out too many of one because you’re just setting up the next player), but I love watching the forest growing in front of me. And when I’ve played, everyone loved making up little stories as we added cards. It was so much fun trying to figure out who the characters were and laughing as we mixed up fairy tales. And at it’s heart, this is a game that young kids can play. But the art really makes this game from a good game to a great little filler game. If you have some imagination, like to create landscapes or have younger kids who like to game, I highly recommend Forest.
- The art is stunning
- Quick gameplay that kids should have no problem learning
- It’s fun to add little stories within the game as the forest grows
- Did I mention the art?!?
- Luck heavy gameplay may get frustrating
- That odd game end rule which you can omit