Main Event Games · Reviews

Review of Bosk

Image result for bosk

Game: Bosk

Designer: Daryl Andrews and Erica Bouyouris

Published: Floodgate Games

Players: 2-4 Players

Playtime: 30 Minutes

Play Type:  Area Control

Synopsis:

You are attempting to grow a thriving forest in a national park for nature lovers to enjoy. Plant your trees carefully to ensure their growth among an increasingly crowded forest. Be ready to ensure a beautiful hike throughout the seasons by having your trees stand out.

Game Play:

Bosk is an area control game that takes place over 4 seasons (rounds). Each of the rounds has a different mechanic, but all of the rounds rely on the first round to set a foundation for the rest of the game play.

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In the first round, players will be placing their trees on intersection points of rows and columns. Players will want to keep in mind that they will score points in the next season based on how sum of their trees compared to the other players in each row and column. Once all players have placed all of their trees, all players will go into the next season to score those points. Scoring is based on the number of players in first place, second place, or tied for either placement as shown by the chart above.

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In the next round, players will be using the wind direction board to place leaves on the main board. The first player will place the wind direction board to determine what way the wind will blow the leaves during the next round on each turn. Then players will find a tree that matches the number shown on the turn tracker and decide the number of leaves they would like to place in that direction. In turn order, players will then place the number of leaves necessary on the board.

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If a player chooses to place their leaf on top of another player’s leaf or a stack of multiple leaves with another player’s leaf on top, they must first discard a leaf back to their supply for each leaf in the stack. The leaf on top of the stack is the only leaf that counts towards the final scoring.

When placing leaves, the player must place their first leaf within the two spaces adjacent to their tree according to the wind’s direction. Each of the following leaves must be placed on one of the next three spaces according to the wind direction adjacent to the last leaf.

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Players may also place their squirrel during this time. A squirrel can be placed in the first three sections according to the wind direction from the tree. This would be considered in the same way as leaf placement, though the players may only place one squirrel. The squirrel can be placed for free on the top of a stack, and leaves cannot be placed on the top of a squirrel. Squirrels also count for winter scoring.

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Once the wind direction tracker reaches it’s last stop, players will take their turn and then continue to winter for scoring. Similar to summer scoring, winter scoring  is based on the number of players in first and second place. The chart pictured informs players of the number of points they will score. However, winter scoring is based on area control in each of the colored areas on the board. There are eight sections, so players will look to see who has the most leaves on each area, and who has the second most leaves.

The player with the most points at the end of the winter season is the winner.

Components:

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Bosk has a great table presence. The game comes with a central board, score board, wind direction board, first player token and player pieces in four different colors. The player pieces include 3D punch board trees, large punch board leaves, a squirrel meeple, and differently shaped wooden leaf chits.

The components are very well-made. Each of the different colored trees also have a different shape associated with them. This is especially helpful because it helps players easily decipher the different trees, especially in low lighting. The organizer in the box is simple, but does keep the individual pieces organized. The organizer makes for quick set up and take down.

Overview:

Positives:

  • Great Table Presence
  • High Player Interaction
  • Simple Rules
  • Depth of Strategy
  • Theme Shines Through

Negatives:

  • Analysis Paralysis Prone
  • Early Mistakes can Ruin a Game
  • Plenty of Take That

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Despite being a beautiful game, Bosk can be a very cut-throat game! Tables that enjoy a lot of take that will really enjoy Bosk as it provides a high level of player interaction. While the simplicity of the rules would lend itself well to being a gateway level game, the game can be unforgiving to mistakes made in the first round.  Experienced players have a significant advantage over new players, as they are more likely to understand how tree placement can effect game play in later rounds.

That being said, one of my favorite things about Bosk is the depth of strategy in the game, despite the simple rule set.  There is no doubt that every turn taken has a large impact on being successful throughout the game. The ability to make well reasoned discussions is extremely important, and this game is likely to appeal to gamers who enjoy thinky elements in game play.

Beyond the depth of strategy in the game play, Bosk also looks great on the table. The theme shines through in this game. Players can really picture their forest losing the leaves during autumn. It is colorful and vibrant, and is sure to attract attention from anyone passing by.

While I really have enjoyed Bosk, I would not suggest it for everyone. It is a game with a lot of take that elements, and can be frustrating to new players. For those who enjoy  cooperative games or games with passive player interaction, Bosk might be frustrating. However, for gamers who enjoy high player interaction, easy  and depth of strategy I would highly suggest Bosk. I especially suggest Bosk for fans of Bunny Kingdom, Ethnos or similar area control games.

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