Once upon a time, there was a board gamer. He settled down to play a game at an Instagram meet up. A temptress had brought a new game over from distant lands to play. That board gamer played the most hectic and frantic play of a board game ever. Only to discover a vital rule had been misinterpreted. The next day it was played again with the chilled vibe that transcends the game. That game was Planted: a game of nature and nurture, it was love at second sight.
But lo and behold this game was a Target exclusive in America and could not be found anywhere on the little island he lived on. That board gamer decided to call on the wider Instagram community to see if the game could be sent from the distant Americas to the UK. Like everything, of course it could be, if, and only if, you were willing to pay exorbitant fees for the Atlantic crossing. Like all good fairy tales there was an evil witch. This one had used black magic to rise to a position of power and ran government. In a cruel act, she managed to devalue the pound overnight, meaning that these already expensive shipping fees doubled overnight. Already committed, that board gamer paid their money and soon after the game arrived on UK shores.
Of course, this isn’t a made up fairy tale. The board gamer was me, but as the game comes to the mass market in the UK you probably want to know if this yarn has a happy ending! Read on and find out!
Give each player their own board and a random starting plant card. Place the main board in the middle of all the players. Separate the item cards from the resource cards. Shuffle and place these and the plant cards in their designated areas. Deal out six resource cards and two item cards to each player. Ready, steady, grow!
The game is played over four rounds. Each round consists of a draft whereby you will choose one card to play from those dealt or passed to you. Resource cards give you the indicated item, either one or two sunshine, raindrop, fertiliser or green thumb tokens. Two green thumbs act as a wild resource. Item cards comprise of tools, which increase your yield of resources, or decorations which offer additional end game scoring.
At any stage you can discard the drafted card to go to the central nursery board and buy an additional plant. You can have up to six plants in your home. Once drafted the cards are passed to the next player.
The aim is to grow the plants in your house. The kicker is that you can only grow plants once per round. Thematically that makes sense. After all eight cards have been drafted, players allocate their resources to their plants that have matching symbols. Placing a leaf token to mark the growth. Then a new round commences.
After four rounds, players tally the scores of each plant growth combined with any decoration scoring. The player with the most points wins!
What it’s like
The simultaneous draft and ‘all play’ element of the game means that Planted: A Game of Nature and Nurture proceeds at a good pace. It is also an easy game to teach, the rulebook is clear and I know I admitted to a rule misinterpretation but that was because I relied on a quick teach rather than reading the rules. Entirely my fault!
Drafting games often offer quite a solo experience and this game only breaks that mould ever so slightly. Firstly there is always the opportunity to hate draft a card that would be beneficial to one of your neighbours, you’d never get me playing these nasty tactics… well, I have been known to take a card that may benefit someone else more than myself, but never to the detriment of my own scoring! During the ‘Nursery’ phase you can also see the card you were hoping for snaffled just before you get to choose. This doesn’t happen often, as you will often be going to nursery on your own, although the last card of early rounds will often be discarded for a new plant as it has been unwanted by the other players.
The tools can seem unappealing, but they are often worth having if they can provide benefits you will need for your plants. More important however, are the decorations as these can really ramp up your scoring. I often shape my strategy around these. The trouble is taking tools and decorations can leave you short of resources and here lies the balancing act of the game.
Overall, Planted: A Game of Nature and Nurture offers a lovely relaxed game that works well in the family weight. I also like it as a little opener, as it offers enough to think about while allowing a little bit of time for a catch up too.
I have heard people say that the components in this game are their favourite. Certainly the droplet tokens are amongst the most beautiful and satisfying resource tokens around. The sunshines aren’t bad either!
Inside the box is largely single-use plastic free, in keeping with a game about nature and nurture! The components are stored in beautiful printed bags. The cards fit inside a paper envelope provided. This does mean there is no plastic insert just a cardboard trough which may not appease those that store their board games vertically.
The Hannah Bailey artwork portrays the plants nicely and sets a beautiful backdrop for the game. It all adds to the chilled experience. The resource cards, tools and decorations are okay, much simpler in design through necessity.
The rulebook was good too, when I finally got to read it.
What the kids thought
George (12): I really enjoy it! I like collecting and choosing plants. It’s a good theme and I love how it looks!
Harrison (15): I like the different ways to score points. Going to ‘Nursery’ is fun. Its also a very pretty game and I particularly like the water droplets and suns. It’s a very easy game to play.
Final thoughts on Planted: A Game of Nature and Nurture
I really enjoy the relaxed gaming experience Planted: A Game of Nature and Nurture has to offer. Collecting resources to grow your plants, and working out which to nurture and when, scratches enough of an itch to make this game hit the table oodles. In fact, it has already hit the table almost enough to write off the ridiculous postage fees I paid to get this. Fortunately for you, it now has a UK distributor so your postage costs will not be nearly so bad!
The fact it sits five at the table is fantastic, especially for my family, but actually this would work equally well for six players. It’s a shame they didn’t up the player count, as good six player games are tough to track down. Hopefully an expansion will fix that one day! The two player game isn’t as enticing as games with three or more players.
If you are looking for a beautiful, relaxing but fun family game, Planted: A Game of Nature and Nurture is really easy to recommend. I love it and I have not once regretted paying too much money for it! You’ll get more bang for your buck that’s for sure.
Number of players: 2 to 5
Board Game Review Recommended Age: 8+
Publisher’s Recommended Age: 10+
Playing Time: 30 minutes
Setting Up and Take Down Time: 2 minutes
Designers: Phil Walker-Harding
Publisher: Buffalo Games
Planted: A Game of Nature and Nurture is a brilliant family-weight drafting game for up to five players. A chilled vibe exudes from the game as you play with the beautiful components and cards. I am pleased to confirm that I love playing this lighter game, love, love, LOVE!
Artwork and Components
Value for Money
- Beautiful cards and components
- All play mechanic makes games flow quick
- Plenty to think about during draft
- Plays up to five players
- House plant theme
- Feels like it could’ve had a sixth player
- Trough insert may bother some
- Not as good at two players
Need more games?
If you already own The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine and enjoy it, or are looking for other inspiration, you might also like these similar games:
- It’s a Wonderful World
For clarity: we don’t get paid for our reviews. I purchased this game with my own money and spent a small fortune shipping it from America. I have tried not to let this affect our review in any way.