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
Playing Time: 45-90 Minutes (I’d say 60-150 based on player count)
Inside Up Games generously sent this along to me when we reached out with EBG. I can fairly say this was one of my most anticipated games of the year and I wasn’t alone in my excitement. I’ve been seeing lots of love for this title on other platforms as well as thousands of positive ratings on BGG. Let’s continue onto why those ratings were well earned and where they may have lost a few fans.
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.
This is an attractive game all around. From its beautiful nature images to the simple, yet elegant layout of the game itself, Earth is a crowd pleaser from the box all the way to the punch outs. The quality of each component was high or premium and nothing felt cheap or poor. The wooden growth and canopy tokens that stack, fit together well and are also enjoyable to look at on the table.
As per the rulebook, the component list was as follows:
Fauna Board, Player Boards, Sprouts, Soil Tokens, Trunks, Canopies, Earth Cards, Fauna Cards, Ecosystem Cards, Island Cards, Climate Cards, First Player Token, Active Player Token, Leaf Tokens, Scorepad
Mechanics & Rules:
– End Game Bonuses
– Hand Management
– Pattern Building
– Solo Game Mode
– Tile Placement
– Tableau Building
– Engine Building
– Variable Set-up
– Victory Points as a Resource
This rulebook is excellently laid out and makes learning the game very easy. For a game this size/weight, it does an incredible job of conveying the information needed through small bite-sized sections. Here’s a link to the full rulebook if you’d like to check it out for yourself: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1CJwxfUMTmieUgTwD2ABzHEnbX8yjUcjk/view
I really enjoyed how the game broke down your turn into 4 basic actions. Each one giving you a priority for that round – more cards, resources, etc. It gave you a feeling of control over your strategy and made each turn feel meaningful.
Soil (the basic resource) can be pretty limiting if you don’t make a good engine using your cards. As a result, failing to properly plan can leave you pretty stuck when it comes to options. To counter this you get a small bonus for every action each other player chooses but it may not be enough if you don’t remember to stay on top of your plan.
Areas they did well:
• All players get the same number of turns
• You get to interact with the game on each player’s turn not just your own
• Really interesting tableau building aspect
• Group and private end game scoring goals
• Race for group objectives
• Artwork and theme!
• Balancing and game depth
• Tons of high-quality components
• Multiplayer, team, and solo modes
• Massive replayability with multiple strategies to try out
Areas they could have improved:
• With all players focusing on their own little engine, there isn’t very much interaction between players. You don’t get much of a chance to check out what others are doing which is fine but may be a note for some players’ preferences.
• Getting a proper engine going is pretty important. If you are missing something important, such as soil, you’re going to have a hard time. I think some of the soil costs made it hard to try some strategies I wanted to.
• You don’t have control over the cards you draw as all types are in the same deck. I’d be interested to try it out if all flora, event, and terrain cards were in a separate deck.
• The game will drag on longer than the expected game time when players take longer to decide what to do. AP is a real possibility in Earth.
This is an incredible game and I want to give credit where it is due. The effort and time put into this game has put it in line with some of the best games out there. It’s quickly gained a lot of positive attention and I am forced to join the crowd: I loved this game. In my opinion, it lived up to the hype and delivered a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
I will keep this game in my collection as a treasured prize. I’ll have to play it a bit more to rank it properly, but it’s definitely in my top 20. I think that it would be a good fit for a large range of game lovers and encourage you to visit their website below to learn more. It’s really well laid out to show you what the game is about!
I’ll see you next time, back here at The Game Table,
Brad Hiscock, aka Zerility
Here’s a link to their website:
Prefer watching an overview video?
After reading Brad’s review, if this sounds like a game for you at the time of this posting EARTH is still available for only $50 USD.
Check it out and get yours HERE.
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Brad Hiscock, aka “Zerility”, is a construction project manager and electrician by trade who was the owner of a 6-time award winning electrical company. His passion for board games has led him from playing hundreds of original titles to creating a design and publishing company of his own, Convivial Games. As an up and coming collaborator on many projects, he is always eager to try new games and meet new people.
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All of Brad Hiscock, aka “Zerility”‘s reviews can be found HERE