You love nature and you love games. So now you’re wondering, what are the best nature-inspired boardgames that are actually fun to play? We gathered a list of favorites from our friends in the wildlife world. Each one is beautifully-designed (I mean, just look at Wingspan board game!), scientifically accurate, educational, and most importantly, fun. These are the perfect wildlife & nature board games for when you are camping, gathering with friends, or for when you’ve just had enough TV.
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Wingspan Board Game
Wingspan is a card-driven board game designed by Elizabeth Hargrave. Wingspan is the winner of the prestigious 2019 Kennerspiel des Jahres award.
Wingspan can be played with 2-5 players, but you can also play it on solo mode! A game takes about 60min to complete.
The 170 unique bird cards were illustrated by Ana María Martínez and Natalia Rojas. The stunning Scissor-tailed flycatcher is the bird on the cover of Wingspan.
How does Wingspan work?
Imagine you are a scientist, or a bird enthusiast, or a nature reserve manager. You are competing with the other players in attracting birds to your aviary.
The winner is the one who ends up with the most points. How do you get your points? You get them from different sources, but mainly from your bird cards. You’ll spend your turns taking food, laying eggs, finding new bird cards, and ‘playing’ those bird cards on your mat. Different birds take a different amount of food and eggs to play, and by the end of your game, you’ll have different bird cards, all giving you different bonuses and contributing different amounts of points to your total.
Wingspan is not only fun to play but Wingspan is educational! The attributes of each bird card represent the bird behavior, diet, in real life! Plus, every single card has a fact about the animal on the card.
Get Wingspan board game here.
You can also play Wingspan board game online here.
Evolution Board Game
Evolution is a strategy game of adaptation by North Star Games. After the success of Evolution, Oceans and Climate were developed as stand-alone games but following the same basic theories.
Evolution can be played with 2-6 players. The board game includes 129 trait cards (such as horns, long neck, hard shell), 144 food tokens and 20 species boards.
How does Evolution work?
Players adapt species in an ever-changing ecosystem. Learn to survive with limited resources and plenty of predators. You can acquire horns to protect you from predators, or get a long neck to reach food others cannot.
Every game is a different adventure as players can create over 12,000 different species. Survive and thrive!
Get Evolution Board Game here.
Evolution: Climate Board Game
If you have Evolution board game, you can get this kit that will convert it to Climate. You don’t need to buy the whole Evolution:Climate board game.
If you don’t have Evolution, get the Evolution:Climate board game here.
Evolution: Climate can be played with 2-6 players
Evolution: Climate takes Evolution on a journey. From a two-dimensional game, where players have to deal with Predators and Starvation, to a three-dimensional game where Climate has been added to the equation. The introduction of Climate adds layers to an already dynamic game.
How does Evolution: Climate Work?
Players need to adapt their species in a three-dimensional ecosystem where they have to find food, evade predators, and adapt to a climate that can go from icy cold to scorching hot. Just like in Evolution, Horn traits will help fight off predators, a Long Neck will help reach food that others cannot reach. Climate adds new possible traits, like Fur, Migratory, Nocturnal, or Burrowing.
Evolution:Climate has 200,000 ways to evolve your species, so every game is different!
Evolution: Oceans Board Game
Evolution:Oceans can be played with 2-6 players. Following the same rules as the highly acclaimed Evolution, Oceans include nearly 100 unique traits. Will your species survive with black ink? Or with tentacles? Sharp teeth?
Get Oceans board game here.
Photosynthesis Board Game
The green strategy board game is here! Photosynthesis is a multi-award winner, with a beautiful three-dimensional design. Photosynthesis can be played by 2-4 players.
Photosynthesis is all about harnessing light energy from the sun. Each game is played over a series of rounds with 2 Phases in each round. At the end of each round, the Sun rotates one spot on the board. Then another round occurs. Once the Sun has circled the board three complete times, the game ends. The player with most points wins!
Phase 1 is the Photosynthesis phase where players get light points based on how much light their trees get. Players have to take into consideration how the shade from other trees will affect their trees. For example, if your tree is in the shade all day you get 0 points. It’s all about strategy!
Phase 2 is the Growing phase and it’s all about growing trees. Players use the point earned during Phase 1 to buy seeds and grow trees. Players then choose when to harvest their trees to maximize the points they get in return.
The game ends when the Sun has rotated around the board three times. The player with the most points wins!
Get Photosynthesis board game here.
Not a board game, but a card game. Ecologies is the perfect game to take with you while camping! Ecologies was designed by a biology instructor, the game includes 77 unique organisms, 7 biomes, and beautiful vintage Victorian art. (108 cards total)
You can play this card game with up to 6 players.
Ecologies is all bout building healthy ecosystems while your opponents try to disturb them! The ecosystem is built like a pyramid, with plants at the bottom and predators on top. This is a game of points and this points system is based on ecological trophic levels. Plants are worth fewer points, while predators (since they need more energy) are worth more.
Get Ecologies here.
If we missed your favorite nature-inspired game boards, let us know!
Zoologist and wildlife photographer. She has worked in the field with jackals, wolves, cheetahs, & leopards. She serves on the Board of Directors of SEE Turtles, a non-profit sea turtle conservation organization.
Read her posts at Travel For Wildlife and see more of her work at Truly Wild, & Our Wild Yard.