Bosk: A Game of Majestic Trees and Falling Leaves
Floodgate Games, $44.95
2–4 players / Ages 13+
The word “bosk” means a thicket, or a dense, small growth of trees.
The game Bosk means spending 30–45 minutes strategically placing cardboard trees and leaves on a game board. The object: to cover as much ground with as many of your trees’ leaves as possible.
As you’ll see in our chat below, we weren’t all that enthralled with this game of competitive tree arranging. To each his/her own, though, so we are certainly not going to stop you from giving it a shot with your own family and friends!
Bosk’s gameplay is a bit on the complex side, so I’m going to leave it to the makers of the game to explain for you in the below video. This video is ten-and-a-half minutes, long, by the way. Needless to say, we had to keep the rule book within arm’s reach throughout the game.
Regardless of how fun the game is or is not, it would be hard to call it anything but beautiful. On that, we all agreed. The game’s illustrator, Kwanchai Moriya, is a prolific artist whose work has appeared in dozens of games, ranging from Trash Pandas to Einstein.
In a recent interview, Moriya had some advice for aspiring artists: “Don’t waste time. A year can pass by and all you’ve done is illustrated two good pieces and checked how many likes they’ve gotten. Move and shake now, when it’s important to carve out a space for yourself.”
Coincidentally, a single game of Bosk is meant to represent the course of one year. As you’ll soon find out, we were hoping for a little more moving and shaking during that year as well!
Ivan, Media Coordinator: All right. We just finished up an exhausting game of Bosk. Wood you like to start our review chat in the morning?
Catherine, Graphic Designer: I beleaf tomorrow morning would be best, since Evan is gone for the day
Ivan: I tree what you did there.
[We all have a night to sleep on it]
Elizabeth, Web Administrator: Ugh. What acorn-y joke.
Ivan: People are gonna get sick o’ more of these puns.
Catherine: Well I’ve squirreled away a bunch more puns so I’m ready for our chat today!
Evan, Social Media Specialist: I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say we all thought this game was one of the worst we’ve played. It’s a shame, though, because I was really rooting for it.
Catherine: You’re not alone on that limb; the game leaves me feeling confused and it’s not all that fun.
Ivan: We should point out from the get-go that this game is recommended for ages 13+. It takes quite a bit of patience to play. You can only spend so much time admiring the beautiful artwork before realizing you’re not actually enjoying yourself.
Catherine: That’s true, the board is really beautiful. But there are a few design flaws in the game; such as the size of the score-counting card versus the size of the leaf pieces.
Evan: I think the problem stems from the fact that there are just too many rules —and too many steps involved before you finally get into the least mind-numbingly boring part of the game play.
Elizabeth: Agreed. Spring and Summer actions felt like we were setting up the board for play. Winter was nothing but final scoring. Autumn was the only “season” that felt like a game.
Ivan: And be forewarned, everyone: the first time you play this game, you’ll need to set aside a good thirty minutes to set everything up—mind-numbingly putting cardboard trees together, etc.
Evan: Let’s see how many more times we can use “mind-numbingly.” We really need to branch out to some other adverbs.
Ivan: Mind-numbingly is an evergreen verb.
Evan: When did it become so poplar?
Catherine: We need to branch out and find a new word.
Evan: I already made that pun, Catherine!
Catherine: Darn! No need to bark at me about it, though.
Ivan: They maple our literary license if we keep recycling words and puns.
Evan: I was just oPINING.
Ivan: In the introduction to this review, I’ll go over some of the basics of the gameplay. Are there any elements thereof that you particularly disliked?
Catherine: The numbering on the trees seemed sort of nonsensical; in one season the numbers were point values, and in the next season they just determined the order that you placed leaves and had nothing to do with points.
Ivan: The makers of the game clearly put a ton of thought into it. But I’m not entirely convinced they had the user experience in mind.
Hannah, Staff Specialist: I think there’s a lot of potential here. I’d like to see a competition for best game using the pieces included in this game. I wood harness the treemendous power of the squirrel to start.
Ivan: Ah, the squirrel. Most of the gameplay depends on the gentle blowing of wind. I beleaf we talked about the possibility of a squirrelnado coming in and wreaking some havoc.
And Catherine, I know you already made the beleaf pun, fir sure.
Catherine: I wouldn’t cut you down for recycling one of my puns.
And yes, you/Hannah make a good point—there’s an opportunity for creative TIPsters to improve on the game by devising some of their own rules instead. That might make them more willing to stick with it and play for longer than we did.
Elizabeth: I would like to use the squirrel to flip another player’s leaf path to my control.
Ivan: You should be able to make a family of squirrels take ownership of someone else’s tree.
Anyone have anything else?
Evan: I don’t have anything else. You guys lumberJACKED all my puns.
Ivan: Just FYI: we will still send a copy of this game to one of the students who submits a review of their own. Should we include an apology note?
Catherine: I’m happy to wrap up this review, before any other terrible puns take root. Maybe our note could be something like “We hope you enjoy this game more than we did! Try experimenting with inventing your own rules to create your own version!”
Ivan: Maybe we’ll ask them to submit their own review of the game. One game reviewer’s trash is another TIPster’s treasure.
Elizabeth: I’d spruce up this thread with a final tree pun, but I won’t stump that low.
Catherine: Haha!! Nicely done.