Arboretum

Tactical, elegant card game for 2-4 players.
30-45 minutes

  • Concept: Pick two / play one / discard one mechanic brings elegant strategy to this card game which plays as well for 2 players as it does with 3 or 4. Will you focus on building your own arbor and accomplishing your objectives to gain points, or will you also play a “keep away” game to prevent your opponents from picking up the cards they might need? Your hand is limited to only 7 cards, so you cannot do it all.
  • Theme: Build a beautiful “arbor” by placing cards in orthogonal positions in ascending numerical order. There are 10 suits, each featuring a different tree. Score bonuses if you can get the 1 or 8 onto the table, but watch out for opponents who can bar you from scoring at the end!
  • Artstyle: Lovely hand-drawn trees are colorful and gorgeous. Personally, I like the artwork on the 1st printing a bit better, but the colorful 2nd edition doesn’t disappoint.
  • Replayability: This is a tactical card matchup, so replayability depends on whether your typical game group falls into a rut or tries to surprise you in game after game. We’ve not tired of teaching this game to friends, and it’s fun to play a couple games in a row before moving on to something else.
  • Accessibility: Anyone who’s played their share of tactical card games (including the old-school favorites like bridge or Rook) will likely pick up on the big ideas here, but it takes a game or two to understand the card placement rules and tactics. Math people should enjoy the geometry puzzle of optimizing tree placement. The rest of us will figure it out as we go.
  • Bottom line: Arboretum sold out almost immediately after its first printing for good reason. This is a gorgeous game with an elegant mechanic and a good puzzle. Highly recommended.

Buy it at your Friendly Local Game Store, or online at Amazon

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