Calvin’s Commentaries: EARTH

It’s only April, so eight more months to come in 2024, but I’m calling it right now – Earth will be in my top five new games played this year.
Yes, regular readers Earth is that good.

Designer Maxime Tardiff, who just happens to be a Canadian which is great in itself, has created a definite gem with this one.
And, we at The Meeple Guild are certainly not the only ones to see Earth as an outstanding game.

At they have a list of awards and honors the game has earned which includes;
* 2024 American Tabletop Complex Games Recommended
* 2023 UK Games Expo Best Boardgame (Euro-Style) Winner
* 2023 UK Games Expo Best Boardgame (Euro-Style) Nominee
* 2023 Japan Boardgame Prize Voters’ Selection Nominee
* 2023 International Gamers Award Solo Winner
* 2023 International Gamers Award Solo Nominee
* 2023 International Gamers Award Multi-player Nominee
* 2023 Gra Roku Advanced Game of the Year Nominee
* 2023 Fairplay À la carte Runner-up

So, what is Earth from Inside Up Games all about?
Well for a bit of flavor, we turn to the publisher.

“Earth, the soil that supports and sustains our beautiful planet, Earth. Over thousands of years of evolution and adaptation, the flora and fauna of this unique planet have grown and developed into amazing life forms, creating symbiotic ecosystems and habitats.
“It’s time to jump into these rich environments and create some amazing natural synergies that replicate and extrapolate on Earth’s amazing versatility and plethora of natural resources. Create a self-supporting engine of growth, expansion, and supply where even your unused plants become compost for future growth.”

More specifically, “Earth is an open-world engine builder for one to five players with simple rules but tons of strategic possibilities. With its encyclopedic nature and the enormous number of unique cards and combinations, every single game will allow you to discover new synergies and connections, just as our vast and fascinating world allows us to do.”

Ultimately, there just isn’t much here to not like, or even quibble about.

The game looks great with artist credits to M81 Studio, Conor McGoey, Yulia Sozonik, and Kenneth Spond, and that is always a positive. A game that looks good on the table is simply more appealing to choose for a session than something that looks ho-hum or boring.
The cards just pop here in terms of great looks.

There are also lots of little wooden cubes and other wooden components. Personally, too many ‘bits’ tend to be a turn-off, it adds time to set up and take down, and can feel fidgety moving things around, but somehow Tardiff has avoided that ‘feel’ here, and it helps they went with wood, always a plus for this gamer.

Now, a fair bit is going on in Earth in terms of what players can do, yet the rules stay straightforward enough we weren’t going to the rule book a lot, even in the first game, which was a pleasant surprise given all the materials on the table.

The game also lets players do things which while perhaps not ultimate moves in terms of scoring maximum points to progress each turn, at least generally keep you moving in a positive direction.

This is a game that really should be in most collections, as it is a fulfilling play in every way.

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