Four Forests preview

Four Forests Preview

If you’ve ever been to a convention with me you know that I love to load my backpack up with small box games. If you’ve never been to a convention with me, you should go to a convention with me. I love lots of strategy in a little box. Something I can throw in my pocket and play at a moments notice.

That is why I was really excited to check out the latest upcoming Kickstarter release from Gold Seal Games, Four Forests designed by first time designer John Jewell.

Cultivating a Forest

In Four Forests, players will be drafting cards from a deck of 64 cards which contain 8 sets of cards numbered 1 through 8, with each set containing cards with a unique dual icon combination. These icons represent water, plants, mountains, suns and a few more.

Four Forests scoring criteria

The game also contains 10 creature cards containing goals that award victory points at the end of the game. You will only select 4 of those creatures per game, so there are many combinations you can create to keep the game variability and replay factor high. 

Players will start the game by drawing 4 cards and then continue with 4 quick phases. First, in player turn order, players will Cultivate, reserve a card face up in your habitat in front of you. Next, players will Harvest/Burn a card from their hand by using it to place a face down, secret vote, on one of the 4 selected creatures containing the goals for the game.

Four Forests player hand

You may place the card upright for a positive vote or upside down for a negative vote The backs of the cards all have the same design so no one will know whether you have upvoted or downvoted that goal for the game. We will get to why that is very important in a moment.

Then, players will Pollinate by taking a card and passing it to your neighbor in clockwise fashion. Lastly, players will Prune and everyone will take 1 card and discard that card from the game entirely. The first player will rotate clockwise and play will continue with each round starting with the players drawing 4 cards. 

After 4 rounds you will have 4 cards left in your hands and 4 cards down in front of you face up. Those 8 cards will make up your entire hand for scoring purposes. At this point the players will reveal the facedown cards that were used to make votes on each of the creatures.

Four Forests - card ranking

You will then rank the creatures by who has received the most votes with the highest vote total scoring 4 points, then 3 points for second most, 2 points for third most and -1 victory points per card that qualifies for the last place vote getter. So if you hadn’t voted well enough to get the creature for which most of your cards qualify for to give you positive points for each card then you may end up with a losing score.

Drafting Magic

The strategy here is to notice who is collecting what cards face up and to notice who is putting votes into which creature. The creatures themselves, such as the Unicorn will let you score for things like the largest set with different season icons. The Gnomes are looking for things that live in rocky conditions displaying a mountain icon that contain a value between 1 – 4.

Four Forests art style

There are ten different creatures in all with all different scoring conditions on each of them which again, makes the game variability fairly high as no one game will be like the other when it comes to scoring. Four Forests was a really fun drafting game with indirect player interaction based on the secret votes and possibly taking things other players may be looking for as well. Really cool looking art, great strategy, all in a small box that fits in your pocket.

Four Forests will launch on Kickstarter February 6, 2024. Be sure to check out the campaign from Gold Seal Games.

Bob Crowell

I love everything to do with the world that is board gaming. Dice placement is probably my favorite mechanic of all time. I love learning new games and love teaching them just as much.

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