We love plants around here, and one of the boys especially loves plants. In fact, he gets a kick out of knowing which plants to grab and use for a bug bite, a bee sting or whatever. As a result, I've had my eye on the Wildcraft game for a while, waiting and watching for sales, because I thought it looked fun and educational. Last winter, we were able to take advantage of a 50% off special so we picked one up for us and for a family member! This isn't a paid review or anything, just our experience with the game - we bought it and people ask how we like it. So here's what I think.
The Wildcraft game is great, a nice break from competitive games. That's not to say I don't enjoy those, because I love to compete and win as much as the next person. But sometimes it's nice to work together. It feels good to see the boys working with each other to win rather than in fist-fights on the floor because one sunk the other's battleship.
Before you cringe because you're also tired of the participation trophies handed out willy-nilly, I want to explain that herbalists work together constantly. Whether we're students, master herbalists or something in between, we share information, resources and ideas in order to be better stewards of the plants we use and more helpful to the people we serve. Cooperation between herbalists is important, and the game reflects this.
The plant cards are beautifully illustrated and clearly show each plant so identification is easier. I do wish there were more information on each of the cards, but that could easily clutter them and over power the images. The game has a story that goes with it too - so that's fun because my kids love stories. The players have to get from Grandma's house to the Huckleberry patch and back again before nightfall, and they sometimes run into pitfalls like bee stings, nettle patches and hunger. It's the players' jobs to figure out which plant would be useful given the "affliction." There were a few times were we had a headache that wouldn't quit or a bee sting that must have come from somewhere bad because it took a few turns to find the right plant.
The game play is simple, and has some obstacles reminiscent of Chutes and Ladders, but with a wonderful nature twist. Streams and fallen logs can take you backwards quite a ways, but with the handy cooperation cards, a sympathetic player can bring you forward to their space. The game is over when everyone is back at Grandma's house enjoying huckleberry pie.
Wildcraft isn't a long game, we usually only play for about an hour, so it won't eat up days on end like certain other games we also like... the bottom line is it's educational, fun and relaxing. We love playing games, and Wildcraft has entered the rotation of favorites, along with We the People Fight Tyranny, Constitution Quest and Battleship.
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