EARTH Review from Carl King

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Quick Look: EARTH

Designer: Maxime Tardif
Artists: M81 Studio, Conor McGoey, Yulia Sozonik, Kenneth Spond
Publisher: Inside Up Games
Year Published: 2023

No. of Players: 1-5
Ages: 12+
Playing Time: 45-90 minutes.
Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com  
From the Publisher:

Earth, the soil that supports and sustains our beautiful planet, Earth. Over thousands of years of evolution and adaptation the flora and fauna of this unique planet have grown and developed into amazing life forms, creating symbiotic ecosystems and habitats.

It’s time to jump into these rich environments and create some amazing natural synergies that replicate and extrapolate on Earth’s amazing versatility and plethora of natural resources. Create a self-supporting engine of growth, expansion and supply where even your unused plants become compost for future growth.

Earth is an open world engine builder for 1 to 5 players with simple rules but tons of strategic possibilities. With its encyclopedic nature and the enormous number of unique cards and combinations, every single game will allow you to discover new synergies and connections, just as our vast and fascinating world allows us to do!


Disclaimer: The publisher provided the Kickstarter/Retail copy of EARTH. The opinions expressed in the review are completely my own. I purchased the Neoprene Game Mats.



EARTH is a 1-5 player tableau building game, based around flora and fauna, along with other elementssuch as climate, ecosystems and islands, where players build their island tableau

Rules & Setup:

Set up is extremely easy, and is clearly explained for both the multiplayer and solo player options. Depending on your player count, i.e. 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 each player gets a player board, and 5 leaf counters in their player’s color, which at the start are placed on their own board, but may be placed on an objective board during the game should you meet any of the 4 fauna objectives, or be the first to complete your tableau. You will gain victory points for completing these objectives

Each turn the mainplayer will take one of four possible actions, PLANT, COMPOST, WATER & GROW

You have a 4 x 4 grid to place the cards into, and you can start in any space you wish, but the stipulation is that each card placed after the first one must touch 

another card when placed, either orthogonally or diagonally. You CANNOT place a card that is not touching another card under any circumstances

The main player will get the stronger version of whatever action they choose to take, and the AI or every other player will to some extent get a lesser version of the same action, so during each players turn noone is left out of the game waiting for their own turn to come round again

Also, on each of the actions, except planting, you will also be able to activate certain cards already played into your island tableau, and on your main player board, if they are of the same color as the action being taken, or are present on the multi colored band cards. By this I mean that some cards have 3 colors on them instead of just one, and each action is represented by a single color

These cards are read / activated left to right, and top row to bottom row (just like reading a book) and also include cards on your player board as they too have the colored bands on them. You must activate all the cards on your player board and then those in your tableau, or vice versa, you cannot flit back from one to the other during this activation sequence

As players build up their tableau, they will be doing more of these activations each players activation / turn, and the order in which you lay the cards into your island tableau become important as some may give you benefits and resources to use on later activated cards in the sequence, so choosing where to plantyour cards in your 4 x 4 grid is / can be crucial. You can to some extent move your tableau around, but only as a whole unit, not by moving individual cards once played, and as the tableau increases in size moving it becomes more difficult, until it is impossible to move as it must always stay within the 4 x 4 grid

During the game you will be paying soil (the main currency) to plant the cards into your tableau, and on some cards you can also place sprout cubes, and / or tree trunks / canopies, and these can also be used to generate income / pay for actions, and will also score points at the game end depending on how many sprouts you have, plus if you have tree trunks, and if they are topped off with a canopy or not

The game ends in the solo mode if the AI completes 2 full rounds of playing their 6 action cards (the AI does not build an island tableau), or you as the human player complete your 4 x 4 grid

The AI player gains certain resources like trunks and canopies, sprouts and soil, depending on the cards they turn over, and the actions you then take as the secondary player. They also claim some of the objective board victory points

Games of 2 to 5 players end once the first player completes their grid, and then each other player has one more turn as the main player, and it stops after the person prior to the player who triggered the end game sequence to begin.

Theme and Mechanics:

The nature theme to this game has been done exceptionally well, and is at the very core of the game, and everything is built around you assembling your perfect island tableau for the flora and terrain to produce the best combination of points and benefits to your end scoring objectives

Mechanics in the game are some of the best I have seen for tableau builders, and if you are a fan of this type of game you are going to absolutely love this, as will anyone who has a strong interest in nature and the planet as a whole


You can tell the gameplay has been a true labor of love, and that the final product has been extensively tested, because everything is seamless in itssimplicity, yet complex enough in the amount of variations you can achieve within your tableau with the literally hundreds of main cards you get with the game (and I’m sure the possibility of more with expansions) to make you want to play it again and again

I played this solo first (and lost), and then played a 4 player game (which I won by 10pts) and each of the group picked up how the game worked by the time the first full rotation of turns were complete, and we all thoroughly enjoyed it, with 2 of the group saying they would be getting it, if only to play solo

Artwork and Components:

The majority of the game pieces are wooden, with only the first player markers, soil and leaf tokens made from sturdy cardboard, and they are all very well made

The player boards were a little warped upon opening the contents, but were easily bent back into shape within seconds

I purchased the neoprene tableau mats, and I’m extremely impressed with their quality and they definitely made a huge difference to the look on the table, and ease of placement of cards

Every card has a different photographon them instead of just artwork or illustrations, and this is another brilliant touch from the game designers publishers, especially bearing in mind there are 354 cards in the game and every card has a different picture on them, and two on those that are double sided

The Good:

The photographic artwork, the components, and the overall gameplay, both solo and multiplayer make this an exceptionally good game. The rulebook is easy to follow and is very well laid out with lots of examples, pictures and descriptions of gameplay and situations that may occur

The fact that there is only one version is also another nice touch, and the only Kickstarter exclusives were a few extra promo cards and some wooden soil tokens to replace the cardboard ones, but you certainly don’t need these to play or enjoy the game to itsfull potential

Too many crowdfunded games give vast stretch goals that induce FOMO, and a lot of these are simply overkill in my opinion. Well done Inside Up Games for going the route you have with the main game, and with only two addons as far as I know, those being the neoprene mats and some storage trays / inserts

The Other:

The only changes I would make would have been to have the box big enough, and deep enough to fit the neoprene mats laid flat inside the box, and for the base game to provide thin card versions of these, or for there to be a downloadable file to print out something to use, because if you don’t buy the neoprene mats you are simply placing them onto the table surface, and might get a little messy or mixed up

I feel the same way in regard to the tableau area for Everdell, as this would definitely assist in making everything neater on the table itself

However, saying this, I’m sure people will either sort their own things out, or there will be places that offer to supply mats if you can’t get the official ones if they are out of stock etc. 

Final Thoughts:

I love Everdell as a tableau builder, but for me this goes above it on the which I would rather play‘ charts if I had to pick one for a game night over the other, and personally I think EARTH will be challenging for Game of the Year’ at the end of 2023

 Prefer watching an overview video?

After reading Carl’s review, if this sounds like a game for you at the time of this posting EARTH is still available for pre-order for only $50 USD.
Check it out and get yours HERE.
Find out more at BGG
Did you get it based on our review? Please comment below letting us know!


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Check out EARTH and Inside Up Games on:












Carl King- Reviewer

Buyer / Estimator @ ABC Stainless, P’gh & owner of YouTube channel The Games Kingdom
See Carl’s reviews HERE.


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