Legendary Forests is a new board game coming to us from Japanese developer Toshiki Sato, illustrator Biboun, and published by Iello. It’s for 2-5 players who each develop beautifully-forested worlds. The goal is to have the most points through skillful placement of tiles and tree tokens. This is a quick game to learn and to play, meant for ages 8+. It’s a lovely way to fill a spare 15-20 minutes.
What’s in the box?
The box contains:
- 125 tiles (5 sets numbered 1 through 25) depicting half runes along the edges along with a mix of grass, maple leaves, golden ginkgo leaves and cherry blossoms.
- 30 wooden tree tokens (red, pink, yellow)
- 1 wooden token for denoting who selects the tree tokens first
- 8-page Rules booklet
How do you play Legendary Forests?
Legendary Forests is played with 2 to 5 players. Set-up includes each player selecting a unique colored set of 25 tiles, laying out the tile numbered 1, and choosing a player to serve as the Architect. With the tiles face-down, this player randomly discards 5 tiles from their set of tiles and creates a stack that will guide play. All other players lay their tiles out face-up so that they can see the numbers on each. Tree tokens of each color, equal to the number of players times 2, are set out for the game.
There are 19 turns, played as the Architect reveals his/her stack of tiles, one by one. As a tile is revealed, all other players find the same numbered tile in their set. All players place their tile in their unique world, matching sides so that it touches at least one side of an already-laid tile and it matches colors with all sides that touch another tile. The half runes match up, creating full runes that will drive points. A key concept is the creation of sizeable forests of the same trees, with more points gained if the forests are closed rather than open. If the chosen tile number happens to be one with a light background (scoring tile), that triggers selection of tree tokens. In this case, after tiles have been placed in the turn, each player selects a tree token to place on a corresponding colored forest area. Points are gained only through areas that have tree tokens.
The game is complete when the full set of 19 tiles have been revealed, and each of the players have created their unique forested world. Each player counts up their points – full runes in the areas with tree tokens are counted, with those in closed areas counting double. The one with the most points wins the game.
- Simplicity – Easy to learn, easy to play – minimal actions to each turn (draw a tile, place a tile, place a tree token if triggered) and not much in the way of special rules to keep straight. This is a great gateway game to introduce non-gamers to the wonderful world of more complex board games.
- Quick Games – 15 minutes at most, for a 2 player game, just a bit more for 5 players – since the only time a player is waiting is during tree-token selection.
- Different Every Time – Each game is driven by a random selection of 19 of 25 numbered tiles, revealed in random order. Each player’s world will develop into a unique arrangement. And scoring tiles will shift around with each playthrough. Sometimes, the scoring tiles come out early, and sometimes they come out late. This provides a nice uniqueness to each game.
- Artistry – This is another very visually-pleasing game. The tiles are lovely and the tokens are intricately-cut wooden pieces.
- Good Rulebook– The rulebook is easy to read and has plenty of illustrations and examples to confirm understanding.
- Light on Strategy Needed for the Win – Individual tile placement is key and one can keep track of the tiles not yet drawn to understand how best to place the current tile. Choosing tree tokens well is important so that you don’t find yourself needing a color that has run out. A more cut-throat player might even use the tree tokens near the end of the game to keep another player from getting points.
- Good Price – This is a light board game at a reasonable MSRP of $19.99.
- Poor Box Design – The box is a simple, empty, 8″ x 8″ x 1.5″ box. There are no cool inserts to hold any of the components. You are going to need to get a handful of ziplock bags to organize and store everything nicely back inside the box.
Legendary Forests feels like a cross mesh between Karuba, Lanterns, Carcassonne and KingDomino. It is is not a complex game and sometimes that is just what you’re looking for. This fills the bill nicely for those times when you’re playing with the younger set or when you want to be socializing at the same time. It’s a visually-appealing game that I personally value. My husband gave me this game as a birthday present – I’m very happy to add it into our collection. Click here to check the current price on Amazon.com.