Meadow - Review

One of the most anticipated recent releases of recent months, Meadow is a nature themed game of peaceful exploration and serene beauty supported by a gorgeous collection of art work.  This set collecting game is a lavish production wrapped around a relatively simple and intuitive set of game mechanisms, made all the more accessible by its theme.  In this 1-4 player game, players are nature enthusiasts wandering the countryside on a journey of discovery of the natural world.  Uncovering the various flora and fauna on their travels, players add to their nature journals then gather around the campfire at the end of each day, here represented by the game rounds to compare their findings before setting off the next day to continue their exploration.

Collecting, Drafting and Crafting

The main basis of Meadow is set collecting by playing cards to a player’s meadow displaying icons such as grasslands, butterflies, insects and more.  The game play primarily involves using icons as a prerequisite to gathering other cards, for example, to collect a bee card, you need a card displaying a flower icon.  You can then draft the bee card and play it to your meadow by covering the flower, this will not only provide the points on the bee card at the end of the game, but will add a new icon to your tableau. I tend to think of these icons as a form of crafting materials you use to unlock other cards and icons.

Kinda like WingDellEverSpan

The comparisons with Wingspan and Everdell are going to be unavoidable as these two collossai of the natural order have remained pretty much uncontested until now.  If Everdell was the heavyweight and Wingspan the medium weight, then I’d describe Meadow as the lightweight of the trio.  To be clear, that in no way diminishes the experience, rather, Meadow could fill a gap in many gamer’s collections.  Where you might want a similar experience to those heavier games, Meadow allows for many of the same satisfying elements without so much heavy strategy or thinking. The inclusion of a native solo mode is also welcome and something too few games include out of the box in my opinion.  Meadow brings a great deal to the table, and makes for an excellent gateway game, perhaps even more so than Wingspan, which itself is responsible for introducing so many new gamers to the hobby.  The simplicity of Meadow lends itself perfectly to teaching new gamers the ropes.

 

Look Over There!

This is where Meadow really shines.  At its heart, Meadow is a card game and boasts unique art on every single card.  Of course in many cases this comes down to depicting a different animal on a similar background, but the feat is still impressive as each one represents an entirely original work of art. The component quality is excellent and includes deck boxes which I also wish more games would include.  Not having to worry about up to four separate decks of cards being carelessly strewn about the table only adds to the serenity one feels when playing. The campsite board provides a nice centrepiece as players gradually move the hiker from rock to rock at the end of each round/day. As nice as this production is, and while I don’t feel the need to improve upon it myself, I can see a healthy aftermarket upgrade community popping up to further add to Meadow’s eye-catching appeal.

Likes

  • Relaxing and a joy to play

  • Mechanisms in the game are supported by the theme

  • Intuitive

  • Easy on the eyes

  • Scales well whether solo or up to 4 players

 

Dislikes

  • The main board with the cards can be a little busy, and sometimes difficult to make out details from across the table


The End of the Road

Meadow has immediately found a permanent place in my collection.  Having enjoyed the game both as a solo player and together with my family, I can see this one getting play time over other, more involved games in my collection purely by merit of its ease of play.  Meadow provides a relaxing, mindful distraction from the rigors of life and reminds us all of the allure of simple pursuits, admiring nature, exploring a shaded glade, walking alongside a winding brook, Meadow invites players to engage in a friendly competitive exploration of the world around them at a time when the real world outside is fraught with doubt and trepidation. In short, Meadow is a wonderful game to experience and, while it may not be everyone’s cup of chai tea, you’d be remiss if you didn’t at least give it a try.


Thanks for joining me on this journey through Meadow.  If you have any thoughts to share on the game, I’d love to hear them, so feel free to comment below or why not start a thread over on our Game Kings Gamers page.  Until next time, breath in… breath out….

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