Five Board Games to Put the Spring in Your Step

Posted by Emily Ogle on

Spring is often traditionally thought of as the season of growth, renewal, and rejuvenation, the time of year when increased daylight encourages plant life to “spring forth.”

As a follow-up to our previous post on winter-themed games, we’ve listed five spring-themed board games to brighten your tables, once again in order of overall ranking on BoardGameGeek. Scroll to the bottom of the post, and you’ll find a special surprise at the end of the rainbow for our St. Patrick’s Day celebrants.

1. Dixit – Libellud/Asmodee

Dixit, Libellud/Asmodee

Dixit is a whimsical storytelling card game for three to six players with artistic, abstract cards and a scoreboard that seems to be suffused with springtime. Each turn, one player is deemed the storyteller, who then picks a card from their hand and tells the others a one-sentence story about the card. The other players will also pick a card from their hand, based on the storyteller’s description. Ultimately, the storyteller wants some (but not all) players to pick their card, while the other players want everyone to pick their card instead of the storyteller’s. This mechanic is similar to the kind of theme-matching present in party games like Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity. Each player moves their colorful bunny token around the board, tracking their points as they earn them, and the board is a luminous light green, decorated with a cobblestone path, flowers, and spotted toadstools.

2. Takenoko – Bombyx/Matagot/Asmodee

Takenoko, Bombyx/Matagot/Asmodee

In Takenoko, two to four players must tend to the Japanese Emperor’s bamboo garden, along with the giant panda bear who really, really wants some of that bamboo. Players place plot tiles on which to grow bamboo, then they must irrigate them to ensure that the plant can grow. Two figures, the panda and the gardener, move around the tiles, eating or speeding up the growth of the bamboo, respectively. Players complete objectives during the game that earn them points and the emperor’s favor. To win, they must focus both on growing the most bamboo and on feeding the ravenous panda.

3. Arboretum – Renegade Game Studios

Arboretum, Renegade Game Studios

Generally, an arboretum is a botanical garden or collection consisting mainly of trees, and the strategy card game Arboretum fully embraces this concept. Arboretum’s deck includes ten different species of trees, with each species card numbered one through eight. In the game, two to four players take turns placing cards from their hand on the table, forming their arboreta. They try to form paths of trees that begin and end with the same species—the longer the path, the more points a player receives. The tree cards’ vivid colors perfectly capture the palette of spring.

4. Photosynthesis ­– Blue Orange Games

Photosynthesis, Blue Orange Games

Another game concerned with the growth and placement of trees, Photosynthesis is a board game of abstract strategy for two to four players. In Photosynthesis, players plant trees on the board and grow as many as they can to the maximum size. Players gain action points (called light points in the game) that they can spend each turn to plant seeds and upgrade their trees—how many action points they earn depends on the placement and size of their trees and on whether the sunlight reaches them. The sun’s position rotates around the board, determining which trees cast shadows, so players must take care to spread out their trees and make sure they all have time to shine.

5. Cottage Garden – Stronghold Games

Cottage Garden, Stronghold Games

Cottage Garden is a gardening-themed puzzle and tile placement game. To fill square-shaped boards representing flower beds, one to four players select polyomino tiles (like Tetris shapes) covered in flowers from a central market and try to fit them together on their boards. Each player tends to two garden boards at a time and works to complete as many as they can before the game ends. Garden beds have pots and planting bells printed on them, which earn the player points once the bed is filled (no soil is showing). Also, there are adorable kitty tokens that you can play to help finish a flower bed!

Bonus! Inis – Matagot/Asmodee

Inis, Matagot/Asmodee

If you were looking for a board game to play on St. Patrick’s Day this year, we recommend Inis, for two to four players. Inis is a game of strategy and history, in which players take on the roles of Celtic chieftains who arrive in a new land and are each vying for the title of King of the Island. In the fight for the crown, players can choose to focus on exploration, religion, peace, or total domination. With three different win conditions and no real cause for battle, Inis is truly a game of determining balance and how best to rule. With the modular board, players are discovering the land along with their miniatures, and the game’s art style absolutely immerses the player in Celtic lore.

If spring truly is the season of growth, it’s easy to see why it seems to be popular inspiration for board games: seeing beautiful flowers or majestic trees where there once was just land is an obvious sign of progression for players and provides a clear goal for which to strive. Whether you’re looking for something with a floral theme or something to help you connect with your Irish roots, there’s a game to provide a reason for the season.

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