First, there were birds, then there were butterflies (and foxes!), and now there are mushrooms. Nothing can stop Elizabeth Hargrave from getting inspired by nature and creating a wonderful board game. This time, she teams up with the park ranger-turned-AEG-designer Mark Wootton to bring us Undergrove – a game that truly shows the beauty and magnificence of the mushroom world.
The game was already successfully funded on Kickstarter, with 10,416 backers having pledged a total of $626,956. For those who missed the campaign, you need not worry – late pledges will be available at BackerKit, and Elizabeth and Mark do stress not to make a late order if you already made a Kickstarter pledge. We urge our readers to read Undergrove’s latest update for more information.
Become a Mycologist While Playing a Fun Board Game
Like any game Elizabeth Hargrave is involved in, there is excellent gameplay, fun facts about the natural world just waiting to be discovered, and glorious illustrations to accommodate them. But what do you do in Undergrove, what do you play as? Well, the answer should come close to mind, but it’s so unique not many people will be able to guess without reading the game’s description.
You get to be… a tree. To be more specific, a mature Douglas-fir tree in the Pacific Northwest of North America. Your goal is to spread your seedlings as far and wide as possible, by using the symbiotic mycorrhizae relationship between yourself and your fungal friends below. You should already know how to do it – it’s existed for over 300 million years, and the mushrooms remember all!
The game plays with the natural process in mind – you need to spread your seedlings, then use the mushrooms underneath them along with the carbon above to establish a healthy root system and grom, and then reproduce. This is represented seamlessly with interesting, easy-to-understand mechanics that are not only enjoyable but educational.
Every game piece is beautifully drawn and crafted with love and scientific accuracy in mind. What struck me was how well the colors matched the overall game theme. I can’t figure out exactly why, but the design just makes me want to dive into the wonderful world of mushrooms.