Create and balance the ecosystem of your own rainforest in Canopy, a delightful card drafting game that packs some thoughtful strategy in its easy to learn game play. From designer Tim Eisner and publisher Weird City Games, Canopy is one game that is sure to become a staple for your future game nights.

Canopy is played over three seasons. At the end of each season, players will score points for their completed trees, collected plants, and weather cards. At the end of the third season, wildlife cards will be scored.

The game is set up by removing 10 random cards from the rainforest deck and then dividing them equally into 3 season decks. From the first season deck, 1 card will be placed face down into the New Growth 1 area, 2 into the New Growth 2 area, and 3 into the New Growth 3 area. The Seed deck is shuffled and set next to the seasons and each player will take a starting trunk card into their tableau. The player who most recently watered a plant will be the first player.

On a player’s turn, they will look at the first stack of face down new growth cards. They may choose to pass, returning all the cards and adding a new face down season card to the stack, or collect them into their tableau, and then end their turn by adding a new growth card to the empty stack. If a player passes on cards, they will repeat this process for the second and third. If the third stack of cards is passed, the player will collect the top card of the season deck and add that into their tableau.

The types of cards that can be collected are:

-Trunks and Canopies: Trunks can be used to start a new tree or add onto an existing open tree by sliding it behind the previous trunks. A canopy must be placed atop an open tree if there are any available to finish them for scoring. If there are no open trees when a canopy is collected, it is discarded.

-Wildlife: Wildlife cards represent the animals of the rainforest. There are two copies of each Wildlife, one will only score you victory points and the other contains an action that can be used once per season.

-Weather: Rain and Sun cards will earn points at the end of the season, but only when matched with one another.

-Seeds: At the end of each season, collected seed cards will allow you to draw and keep a number of cards from the seed deck.

-Drought: Once collected, you must discard one card from your tableau and the drought card immediately. Trunks and Canopies from trees that have scored may not be discarded.

-Threats: Fire and Disease cards will cause you to discard cards from your tableau once the season is completed.

When the current season deck is emptied and there are no cards left in the New Growth areas, the season ends. End of season scoring happens in the following steps:

-Wildlife: Activate any wildlife effects that can be used at the end of the season.

-Seeds: If you have any seeds, draw 3 cards from the seed deck and 1 additional card for each fire card you have. You may then add any cards from the drawn cards into your tableau up to the number of seeds that you have collected, returning any uncollected cards to the bottom of the seed deck.

Threats: If you have 2 fire cards, you must discard 2 plants of your choice from your tableau. If you have 3 fire cards, you and your opponent must discard 1 plant card of the owner’s choice. Disease cards behave the same way, but for animal cards.

Trees: Any tree that has a canopy that has not been scored in a previous season is scored. Each tree trunk will earn points based on its printed value and canopies will score points based on its multiplier for each tree trunk in its tree. Then, an animal token is placed on it to mark it as scored. The tallest tree each season will also earn bonus points based on the season.

Plants and Weather: Score points for any plants and weather cards in your tableau.

Cleanup: Discard all cards in your tableau except for Trees and Wildlife, then begin the next season.

Once all three seasons have ended, score as usual, but with the following additions:

Wildlife: Score points for any Wildlife card for their printed value. If the wildlife card has two point values, score the lower value if you have only one of that wildlife or the higher if you have both.

Largest Forest: The player with the most completed trees earns the Largest Forest bonus point.

The player with the highest score at the end of the third season wins!

Canopy surprised me a lot when it came into our store. The small and cute packing led me to believe that this would be a simple filler game, but I was happy to have been proven wrong. Canopy employs a type of card drafting known as Winston drafting, a limited form of drafting that is often used for Magic: The Gathering when there are only two players. The level of thought that goes into each decision of whether or not to take a stack of cards or pass keeps the game interesting from beginning to end as you try to plot out the different possible combinations of cards that could come up with each season.

The original base game is intended for two players, which I absolutely loved. Although I have not tried it yet, the included solo variant looks quite entertaining. And unfortunately, I cannot recommend this game for the 3-4 player variant that is included.

Canopy is available now from our webstore.