It is estimated that up to 7 billion trees a year are cut down worldwide. The ecological effects of this have been debated for a long time and many steps have been taken to try to deal with potential ramifications. The people who see no problem with deforestation are usually the ones who stand to benefit financially from it, but everyone suffers when we have less clean air, less places for animals to live, etc. But let’s not get sidetracked, after all, this is a board game blog and obviously, games themselves are printed using trees.

Here are 5 games that will increase your awareness about the beauty and sustenance that trees can provide. Just make sure that after you buy any of these games, you actually open up them and get a lot of use out of them so that the trees didn’t die for nothing. Here are some of our favorite board games about trees, let us know if we’re missing any winners.

Photosynthesis (2017)

Photosynthesis Box Art
  • Players: 2-4
  • Time: 30-60 Minutes
  • Designer: Hjalmar Hach
  • Publisher: Blue Orange Games
  • Theme: Photosynthesis of Trees

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Photosynthesis is one of the most tactile and beautiful games out there, featuring a plethora of wonderfully colored 3D cardboard. The game is simple and elegant and yet quite a brain-burning puzzle.

You don’t have to love trees to love this game, but the game itself may have you looking at trees in a whole new light.

You need to take your seeds and plant them into a community forest, but the catch is that the revolving sun will determine which trees will soak in the sun rays, or which will be undernourished because a bigger tree’s shadow is blocking the sun’s path.

Hjalmar Hach has managed to create something that’s truly unique, gorgeous, and incredibly fun all at once.

Kodama: The Tree Spirits (2016)

Kodama The Tree Spirits Box Art
  • Players: 2-5
  • Time: 30 Minutes
  • Designer: Daniel Solis
  • Publisher: Indie Boards and Cards
  • Theme: Growth and Ecological Optimization

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Kodama: The Tree Spirits is a cute little card game set in a fantasy world where Kodama use the trees as their homes and they have specific needs and requirements ranging from flowers, insects, and specific branch arrangements.

The game features a card placement mechanic in which you are branching out your tree by overlapping cards on the table, being careful to leave further room for your tree to grow as well as making sure you meet the needs of one of the Kodamas.

This game was designed by Daniel Solis and published by Indie Boards and Cards. The art, by Kwanchai Moriya, is absolutely gorgeous, too. There’s something about tree board games that seem to really inspire artists to go all out. It’s a great theme to work with. Here are plenty more indie game publishers that are working checking out, too.

Bosk (2019)

Bosk Box Art
  • Players: 2-4
  • Time: 20-40 Minutes
  • Designer: Daryl Andrews, Erica Bouyouris
  • Publisher: Floodgate Games
  • Theme: Falling Leaves

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Bosk is another stunning looking game featuring, as you might expect, a beautiful fall color palette, and similar to Photosynthesis, a bunch of 3D cardboard trees. Are you noticing a pattern yet? All of these games are so well-illustrated. There are also custom shaped meeples for leaves and squirrels that make the game a real pleasure to look at.

In Bosk, each player controls a type of tree and tries to make their falling leaves dominate the landscape for visiting hikers. The interesting puzzle here is that the wind affects which direction your leaves will fall and only the leaves at the top of the pile on any given space count.

If you’re looking for something a little different that prominently features trees and falling leaves, this game is going to be right up your alley and is well-deserving of a spot on this list.

Takenoko (2011)

Takenoko Box Art
  • Players: 2-4
  • Time: 45 Minutes
  • Designer: Antoine Bauza
  • Publisher: Bombyx Games, Matagot Games
  • Theme: Cultivation and Sustenance

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Takenoko is another looker of a game that features brightly colored plastic bamboo trees and the cutest panda miniature in all of gaming.

In this game you are in charge of cultivating and irrigating land plots to grow tall and beautiful bamboo trees, but be careful, the voracious panda will be moving around the board chomping on your bamboo in an attempt to feed it’s insatiable appetite.

Takenoko is considered a gateway game by most as the simple ruleset and strategies make it accessible even to non-gamers.

Arboretum (2015)

Arboretum Box Art
  • Players: 2-4
  • Time: 30 Minutes
  • Designer: Dan Cassar
  • Publisher: Z-Man Games
  • Theme: Beautification

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In Arboretum, players are planting 10 types of trees in order to create paths of trees for arboretum visitors to stroll through. The players are dealt 7 cards, and each turn they draw two cards to add to their hand and then choose one card to plant, and one card to discard. When the deck runs out, the round ends.

The key twist on this game is that once the round ends, players compare the cards left in their hand and only the person with the highest total value of each tree gets to score a path for that tree. The gameplay itself is super simple, but the scoring and strategy add a lot of tense choices to this one.

Final Thoughts on Board Games about Trees

While it will take decades to grow a tree to it’s tallest height, you can have any of these games on your table within a few days. Just click the links above to purchase!

Also, why not plant some trees, too? It’s generally not a good idea to go and start planting trees randomly in public, but you can plant trees on your own property and watch them grow for many years to come. The best to plant a tree is yesterday, the second best time is right now!

5 Board Games About Trees