Four clans compete for majorities in the seven different territories of the garden. Will you be the one whose cities ultimately dominate?
2-4 players, age 10+
Playing time: 45-60 minutes
Designers: Rémi Saunier & Nathalie Saunier
Artwork: Maxime Morin
🔸 In Garden Nation, players construct buildings in order to complete common projects and work towards their secret missions. The taller your buildings get, the more population you’ll need to spend. Projects show a configuration of a number of floors and the types of land they must be built on, and as soon as you meet them you take away the card and score the points shown. You also place a roof on your last placed floor, preventing it from being used for other projects.
🔸 Aside from construction, you can abandon buildings to recover your floors and gain population. Ploy tokens allow you to change the active area, move roofs or even take over buildings from your opponents.
🔸 There’s a variable turn order, with the active player choosing who plays next. You’re also going to determine the territory where the next action takes place, because the Torticrane indicating the active territory is moved to the territory corresponding to the spot on the tile you’re building on; for example if you build in the upper left spot, the Torticrane moves to the upper left territory.
🔸 The game end is triggered when a player places their last floor, and players get next to the points from the common projects they earned during the game, additional points for their secret missions and remaining population.
💭 Garden Nation is an accessible, family-friendly game that comes with a great table presence thanks to its beautiful artwork and striking components. It provides a light and strategic experience that will appeal to both experienced gamers and those who are new. There are a lot of tactical choices to be made during every turn as you try to optimize your buildings in order to get the most points possible.
Minor point for me is the downtime: as you can’t know which territory you’ll be playing in, it’s hard to plan in advance. Also, some of the available common projects may be taken by other players by the time it’s your turn again, so you’ll have to adapt your strategy depending on the ones available on your turn.
But that aside, Garden Nation is an easy-to-learn strategy game that can be played in less than an hour and will give you plenty of fun!