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Earth, the soil that supports and sustains our beautiful planet, Earth. Over thousands of years of evolution and adaptation the flora and fauna of this unique planet have grown and developed into amazing life forms, creating symbiotic ecosystems and habitats. It’s time to jump into these rich environments and create some amazing natural synergies that replicate and extrapolate on …
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  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • An incredibly satisfying experience (growing is the best)
  • A very tight game throughout
  • Gaia is a fun and challenging opponent
  • It’s a beautiful game

Might Not Like

  • A lot of number crunching at the end
  • Maybe too tight for some, you won’t be able to do everything you want to
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Earth, the soil that supports and sustains our beautiful planet, Earth. Over thousands of years of evolution and adaptation the flora and fauna of this unique planet have grown and developed into amazing life forms, creating symbiotic ecosystems and habitats.

It’s time to jump into these rich environments and create some amazing natural synergies that replicate and extrapolate on Earth’s amazing versatility and plethora of natural resources. Create a self-supporting engine of growth, expansion and supply where even your unused plants become compost for future growth.

Players will start by choosing a character and rolling the dice to determine their starting location. From there, they'll embark on a thrilling journey, encountering fascinating facts and intriguing challenges at every turn.

As players move around the board, they'll encounter some of the most iconic natural wonders on Earth, including the Amazon rainforest, the Great Barrier Reef, and the African savannah. Each location is beautifully illustrated and packed with educational information, making this game a great way to learn about the world around us.

But it's not all about sightseeing - players will also face challenges and obstacles along the way. From navigating treacherous mountain passes to outrunning stampeding herds of animals, the Earth board game is full of thrilling challenges that will test your strategy and skill.

One of the standout features of this game is the unique score system. Instead of simply tallying points, players will collect Earth tokens as they journey across the board. These tokens represent their contribution to the planet, and can be used to help protect the environment and combat climate change.

Overall, the Earth board game by insideup is a thrilling and educational experience that is perfect for families, classrooms, or anyone who wants to learn more about our incredible planet. With its stunning artwork, engaging gameplay, and innovative scoring system, this game is sure to become a favorite for anyone who loves adventure and learning. So gather your friends and family and get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey around the world!

Earth is an open world engine builder for 1 to 5 players with simple rules but tons of strategic possibilities. With its encyclopedic nature and the enormous number of unique cards and combinations, every single game will allow you to discover new synergies and connections, just as our vast and fascinating world allows us to do!

Earth is a tremendous (tree-mendous?) game of ecological beauty. With 283 Earth cards of fantastic photos depicting a vast variety of our planet’s plant life they encourage you to learn about our vibrant vegetation whilst constructing your own tableau of greenery. There are 20 different Islands you can start from and combined with another 20 Climates and 64 Ecosystems that’s 25,600 possible starting setups. You can add to that the 46 different fauna, that’s animals and birds to you and me, that you can provide habitats for. As InsideUp Games, themselves, say welcome to nature’s diversity!

Earth Song

Earth by Maxime Tardif says it is “presented” by Conor McGoey. Well, however the reponsibilities between the two of them were divided the resultant production exudes absolute class from start to finish. This game is a joy to own and could justify its existence by just being left out on the coffee table. But is it a great game to play? Well, generally, yes but with a few possible caveats. Arguably Earth does for plants what Wingspan does for birds and Ark Nova does for animals. Now ZATU has just published the updated list for 2023 of their bloggers’ Top 50 all-time favourite games and whilst Earth comes in at a respectable 16, Wingspan reaches no. 7 and Ark Nova tops the whole list. To consider why let’s first discuss the gameplay.

Where On Earth

You start with an Island on which to grow your paradise. You also have a Climate. These are not pre-linked together but are allocated at the start, either by random draw or by informed choice and it is up to you to try to get a climate that will naturally go with your island. You also have a choice of 2 Ecosystems which will provide bonus VPs at game end if their conditions are met. The island card will tell you how many Earth cards you are given, how many you can keep and how many go into your Compost pile. You are also given a certain amount of Soil tokens. Soil is the currency of the game that you use to plant plants.

Each turn the Active player can choose to perform 1 of 4 Actions: Planting; Composting; Watering; Growing and, utilising a system the designers call Simultaneous Prosperity, all the other players also get to do the same thing but to a lesser degree. This is a great idea and keeps everyone involved at all times avoiding the tedium of waiting for your turn at higher player counts. These 4 actions are somewhat self-explanatory and some somewhat less so:-

  • Planting – you plant up to 2 Plants in your 4 x 4 Tableau to the side of your playing board and take a replacement Earth card
  • Composting- you take Soil and also put Earth cards in your compost
  • Watering – here you get Sprouts to add on to your plants and more soil
  • Growing – you add “growth” to your plants in the form of stackable wooden trunk pieces topped with painted Canopies

Each of these 4 Actions has a colour: Green, Red, Blue, Yellow and if your Island,Climate or Plants in your Tableau show the same colour in their Action bar you get to perform that beneficial Action. Play continues until someone completes their 16 card tableau and then the, rather lengthy, final scoring takes place.

Life On Earth

A Fauna board provides opportunities for bonus VPs. It is two sided with a beginner’s side and the standard side as shown. Here 4 of the double-sided Fauna cards are placed at the start of the game plus 2 Ecosystem cards. If your planted Tableau provides the environment for a particular animal to thrive, e.g. at least 4 trees for the Orang-Utan, you place a leaf token alongside it to score points at game end. The 1st to do so will score more points and so on.

Similarily the double-sided Ecosystem cards indicate VPs that can be gained for particular conditions.

How On Earth

You win by amassing more VPs than anyone else and there are 10 different ways you can score them. From the plants themselves, their growths and the various combinations for the bonuses. So as you plant your tableau you aim for scoring juxtapositions and to add cards that provide the colour coded actions that are your plant growing engines.

Here we come to the main issue that, in my view, stops Earth achieving absolute perfection – the colour choices. Green, Red, Blue and Yellow are fair enough if they were bright primary colours but the shades used on the Action areas and cards are Olive, Terra Cotta, Turquoise and Ochre. The Blue/Turquoise is often mistaken for the Green and the Red/Terra Cotta is even a different shade on the cards than on the Player Boards also the Ecosystem card on your Player Board is in a much more solid Green so I ended up having to endlessly explain to newbies “No, that isn’t a Green action!”

Also it is not immediately apparent until you peer intensely at the tiny graphical symbols which colour action you need to take to achieve what you want. Even the names don’t always help. Whilst Planting and Growing are fine, if you want more Soil aka money you do a red Composting action or if you need Sprouts you do a Turquoise blue Watering one. For my own benefit I’ve added labels to my Player Boards. Depicted above is not some enhanced Kickstarter version of Earth but my ink-jet printed in primary colours and Blu-Takked on labels bearing the legends : PLANT, SOIL, SPROUT, GROW!

Two, more minor, niggles: given the general component excellence I found the Canopies a bit underwhelming, looking more like flag poles than tree tops and my friend who always assumes the rôle of banker wanted more shape and size differentiations in the soil denominations.

I Give You The Earth

Notwithstanding the above, Earth is an excellent choice and should be in every Eurogamer’s collection. As well as the main game you also get a highly praised Solo mode and a Team game variant. There are so many options in the box that you will never play the same game twice. The double-edgedness of that, is that you can not develop an overall winning strategy but must react to what you are given and the range of choices you can make can be overwhelming. But better to have too many than too few, right? Also, as is common with so many games, I would double the game time length given.

So to paraphrase Rudyard Kipling;- If you can fill the unforgiving two and a half hours with 150 minutes of distance run, yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it!

Editors note: This post was originally published on 4th Jan 2023. Updated on 6th March 2024 to improve the information available.

I love that one of the hottest games at the moment is about soil. And ecosystems. And watering plants. Earth is an engine and tableau building game all about flora, fauna, terrain and ecosystems. Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised this kind of theme has resonated with so many people because there’s something relaxing about earth and soil and nature. One of the key parts of the game is that when anyone takes an action, everybody else benefits from it too. I love when downtime is reduced and there’s a constant influx of resources. Fortunately for solo gamers, Earth has a great single player mode too which I will be going into detail about.

Entering Earth

There’s a few special boards for solo play: a unique player mat (with a flower symbol) and the Gaia System who is your opponent. I love when games have special solo components and boards, to me it speaks to designers thinking about how to optimise the game. Gaia has a little deck of six cards that she cycles through twice before the game ends. These include Gaia’s main actions and the secondary actions you get to take. Gaia also has lots of space for sprouts, growth, compost and active flora and fauna.

Otherwise the set up is very similar to a multiplayer game, you put the little leaf tokens on the board as well as your starting island, climate and terrain, which’ll give you some of your initial scoring goals. In this initial set up, I was on Nishinoshima island (with a sunny and cloudy symbol) with a hemiboreal climate and Monteverde cloud forest ecosystem. I was trying to get as many mushrooms as possible for this ecosystem. These details are lovely, and I feel like I’m learning with a board game! I didn’t know hemiboreal was a word or that it supported a variety of deciduous plants.

You also use the shared objective fauna board, where you get more points the earlier you meet the objective. Gaia has a fauna card that’ll score her the objectives (and she’ll place her leaf token), but you have flexibility in which one she’ll go for (she’ll always go for the highest number of points). It’s definitely recommended to focus on these in solo as Gaia will come for you if you don’t pay attention to them (like she’s done to me). You also have the option of adding some extra ecosystem cards for scoring beside the fauna objectives.

You start the usual way by getting your cards, composting the required amount and getting some soil. Then you can take an action of your choice. Gaia will also benefit from your actions. There’s also an option to increase the difficulty by using the row along the bottom of the board. Not that the difficulty needs to be increased as Gaia is tough, but once you’ve mastered the game it’s a nice alternative.

The four main actions consist of:

  • Planting – this action allows you to place flora on your island for their soil cost, after this you take four cards, keep one and compost three
  • Composting – you get five soil and two cards to compost from the deck
  • Watering – gain six sprouts and two soil
  • Growing – get four cards and grow trees twice

Then you can activate your engine starting from the top left and working your way across.

Every time you do an action Gaia gets a secondary bonus:

  • Planting – Gaia gets to score your discarded cards (face up)
  • Composting – Gaia gains soil (once she reaches ten soil, she composts five cards)
  • Watering – Gaia gains a sprout for every blue power in that engine
  • Growing – Gaia gains growth per card you gain (and Gaia has spaces for trees to grow and I love that for her)

It’s always an interesting dynamic with each action as you don’t want to give Gaia too much either. When I was low on soil, I kept thinking ‘is there any other way for me to get soil without giving Gaia soil?’. And when your engine is good, you normally can.

When Gaia takes her action, you get to benefit first (which is stated at the top of the card) then Gaia will get the main benefits. On the easier difficulty you’re able to get an extra turn if you reveal a fauna card, and to me that was pretty essential as it would be really difficult to finish your island otherwise. You still get an extra seven points for finishing your island.

You also have the option of playing terrain cards which often lets you score extra for certain flora placements, as if you didn’t have enough to think about. Event cards are often one-time bonuses that you can play at anytime but score negatively at the end, but the bonuses are often worth it.

There’s the potential to be overwhelmed given there are so many ways to score points, but in Earth you have to pick your battles and I don’t think it’s a stressful experience, your island will look nice regardless. There is the potential for analysis paralysis because you can start crunching about which actions will give you the most points. I don’t live that way, but Earth may cause distress for those that do.

So you and Gaia continue to take turns until you’ve finished your island or when Gaia has gone through her cards twice. By this stage you will have developed your engines and you’ll be getting nice bonuses from all your actions, turning sprouts into compost, getting some extra soil, growing some trees, it’s just lovely. For me this is a game where the process is the main thing rather than winning.

Fully Grown

I absolutely loved playing Earth solo, for a game that already minimised down time, the solo mode makes it even better. You’re constantly getting new sprouts, canopies and plants and it’s great. The little trees you grow are just the best, and they score you points if they reach their maximum potential! Gaia is also a worthy opponent, you definitely need to think about your placements and fauna, or Gaia will definitely defeat you. There’s something beautiful about your finished island and Gaia’s one too. She gets trees too! And even when you lose (and it’s likely), it’s still so satisfying to see your soil powers, sprouts and flowers all working together.

I probably should mention some minor negative things so I’m not just gushing. The game is very tight, you have very limited actions and there’s the potential you won’t complete your island because Gaia only goes through her deck twice. You have to be very considered about what flora gets planted, what gets composted, what goals are prioritised and this may be too much for some. You also see Gaia gaining so many points and you’re unsure whether you’ll be able to compete. As usual, these games reward the best engines and if you don’t get your engine going the way you want it to, it can be annoying. And there is a lot of maths, as you have to calculate Gaia’s score which consists of face up flora (and she scores positively for negative event cards), sprouts, compost, trees and fauna bonuses. And compost cards can go over 100. Then you would score as usual, of which there are eight scoring categories and all the little numbers may not be your favourite way to finish a game.

These really were minor things for me and didn’t take away from the very satisfying feeling of completing my island and fully growing lots of little trees. Since there are soooo many cards, there are lots of different combinations of flora and fauna to explore and the replayability is great. The components are fantastic too, the player boards look great, the card art is vibrant and attractive and I’m obsessed with the tree stumps and canopies (if you couldn’t tell). An all-around beautiful production. Earth is already an excellent game and the solo mode is a great addition to it all.

That concludes our solo thoughts on Earth. Do you agree? Let us know your thoughts and tag us on social media @zatugames. To buy Earth today click here! 

Here are some of my top tips and tricks for Earth, unfortunately not the planet but the board game. Whilst I do not claim to be the best Earth player ever, I have a few little hints and tricks that could help you as you’re getting to grips with the game.

Earth is a 1-5 player engine building board game where you develop your own ecosystem and try to score the most points in the process.

1. Use your engine building knowledge

As one of the newer (and ever popular) engine builders, you can use your existing engine building knowledge to help you here. While this tip is not helpful for those who have never played an engine builder, I wouldn’t recommend that Earth be your first one.

We know from other engine building games like Wingspan and the like that the key thing is synergy. You want to create chain reactions that ripple through the engine and get you swimming in resources. This initially is less clear than other engine builders, but for example, one of your plants could get you extra cards and those extra cards could be turned into compost. Or if you’re able to get some extra sprouts, you could turn them into a canopy that could turn into another flora card. Since you know your engine will go from left to right from top to bottom, you can place plants strategically to make the most of your engine.

2. Prioritise resources based on their value at different stages in the game

You can accumulate a lot of stuff in Earth, sometimes to an overwhelming degree as you’re constantly collecting resources on other people’s turns. But something to be aware of is how the value of resources change throughout the game.

One of the biggest changes that occurs is with soil. At the beginning of the game soil is very valuable as it’s effectively your currency to buy flora and terrains for your ecosystem. However there’s a point in the game where soil is effectively useless as your tableau fills up and you don’t need to buy anything else and you will have selected the remaining flora you want. You can convert soil into sprouts but it may not be the most effective use of resources as soil isn’t worth any points at the end of the game. Once you’re aware of the value shift of resources, it’s in your best interest to focus on the more valuable resources when you have the opportunity to choose.

3. Use your event cards!

Event cards are special cards that you can use at any time whether it’s your turn or not. With the number of cards you’re able to hold (there is no limit), it can be easy to forget the event cards as you look for compost candidates, but the one time bonuses they give you can be really useful. They often give you a much larger resource payout than most flora that mitigates the negative points you could receive at the end of the game. You can also use event cards at any time, including on other people’s turns, so you can really maximise on resources if you make the most of your event cards.

4. Focus on a few fauna goals

The main competitive goals of Earth is the fauna board where you’re aiming to complete certain goals to appease specific animals. For example, having eight cards in your tableau with a winter climate (a snowflake symbol) or having three fully grown canopies. Naturally the person who completes these first gets the most points (and they are worth gunning for as first place gets 15 points). However, unless you are a true pro at Earth you are not going to be the first to all the fauna goals. It doesn’t help that some of the fauna goals are really difficult to achieve and you have to be intentional about reaching them. I recommend having a few that seem doable with your tableau and going for them. If it seems like other people are running away with certain fauna goals, just abandon it and focus on something else. If possible go for a fauna goal that other people aren’t trying to get, then you can claim your 15 points easily.

5. Reduce waste where possible

This tip seems fitting for Earth, and is generally a good principle in engine building games. Given the number of resources you get in Earth it can be really easy to suddenly have loads of something you can’t really use. But try your best to keep an eye on your resources and your plans to convert them into something useful. For example, once you’ve locked in the flora and terrains you want for your tableau, try and find ways to turn your extra Earth cards into compost where you can. Most of the resources can be turned into points one way or another so if you run a tight ship you can really maximise efficiency.

Those are my top tips for Earth, hopefully it’ll help you as you get started and begin to become a master of the soil. What’s really nice about the game is that as you learn the terrain, environments, fauna and flora cards, you have a better idea of what kind of cards could work well together and the best positions to place them in. There’s a lot to dig into here.


Earth, the soil that supports and sustains our beautiful planet, Earth. Over thousands of years of evolution and adaptation the flora and fauna of this unique planet have grown and developed into amazing life forms, creating symbiotic ecosystems and habitats. It’s time to jump into these rich environments and create some amazing natural synergies that replicate and extrapolate on Earth’s amazing versatility and plethora of natural resources. Create a self-supporting engine of growth, expansion and supply where even your unused plants become compost for future growth. Earth is an open world engine builder for 1 to 5 players with simple rules but tons of strategic possibilities. With its encyclopaedic nature and the enormous number of unique cards and combinations, every single game will allow you to discover new synergies and connections, just as our vast and fascinating world allows us to do! EARTH is a 1-5 player tableau building game, based around flora and fauna, along with other ‘elements’ such as climate, eco-systems and islandswhere players build their island tableau.

Rules & Setup:

Set up is extremely easy, and is clearly explained for both the multi-player and solo player options. Depending on your player count, i.e. 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 each player gets a player board, and 5 leaf counters in their player’s colour, which at the start are placed on their own board, but may be placed on an objective board during the game should you meet any of the 4 fauna objectives, or be the first to complete your tableau. You will gain victory points for completing these objectives. Each turn the ‘main player’ will take one of the four possible actions, PLANT, COMPOST, WATER & GROW. You have a 4 x 4 grid in which to play one of your cards, and your first card can be in any of the 16 spaces. However, your next and subsequent cards must touch another card when placed, either orthogonally or diagonally. You CANNOT place a card that is not touching another card under any circumstances. The main player will get the stronger version of whatever action they choose to takeand the AI or every other player will to some extent get a lesser version of the same action, so during each players turn no-one is left out of the game waiting for their own turn to come round again. Alsoon each of the actions, except planting, you will also be able to activate certain cards already played into your island tableau, and on your main player board, if they are of the same colour as the action being taken, or are present on the multi coloured band cards. By this I mean that some cards have 3 colours on them instead of just one, and each action is represented by a single colour. These cards are read / activated left to right, and top row to bottom row (just like reading a book) and also include cards on your player board as they too have the coloured bands on them. You must activate all the cards on your player board and then those in your tableau, or vice versa, you cannot flit back from one to the other during this activation sequence. As players build up their tableau, they will be doing more of these activations each players activation / turn, and the order in which you lay the cards into your island tableau become important as some may give you benefits and resources to use on later activated cards in the sequence, so choosing where to ‘plant’ your cards in your 4 x 4 grid is / can be crucial. You can to some extent move your tableau around, but only as a whole unit, not by moving individual cards once played, and as the tableau increases in size moving it becomes more difficult, until it is impossible to move as it must always stay within the 4 x 4 grid. During the game you will be paying soil (the main currency) to plant the cards into your tableauand on some cards you can also place sprout cubes, and / or tree trunks / canopies, and these can also be used to generate income / pay for actions, and will also score points at the game end depending on how many sprouts you have, plus if you have tree trunks, and if they are topped off with a canopy or not. The game ends in the solo mode if the AI completes 2 full rounds of playing their 6 action cards (the AI does not build an island tableau)or you as the human player complete your 4 x 4 grid. The AI player gains certain resources like trunks and canopies, sprouts and soil, depending on the cards they turn over, and the actions you then take as the secondary player. They also claim some of the objective board victory points. Games of 2 to 5 players end once the first player completes their grid, and then each other player has one more turn as the main player, and it stops after the person prior to the player who triggered the end game sequence to begin.

Theme & Mechanics

The nature theme to this game has been done exceptionally well, and is at the very core of the game, and everything is built around you assembling your perfect island tableau for the flora and terrain to produce the best combination of points and benefits to your end scoring objectives. Mechanics in the game are some of the best I have seen for tableau builders, and if you are a fan of this type of game you are going to absolutely love this, as will anyone who has a strong interest in nature and the planet as a whole.


You can tell the gameplay has been a true labour of love, and that the final product has been extensively tested. Seamless in its’ simplicity, yet complex enough in the amount of variations you can achieve within your tableau with the literally hundreds of main cards you get with the game (and I’m sure the possibility of more with expansions) to make you want to play it again and again. I played this solo first (and lost), and then played a 4 player game (which I won by 10pts) and each of the group picked up how the game worked by the time the first full rotation of turns were complete, and we all thoroughly enjoyed it, with 2 of the group saying they would be getting it, if only to play solo.

Artwork and Components:

 The majority of the game pieces are wooden, with only the first player markers, soil and leaf tokens made from sturdy cardboard, and they are all very well made. The player boards were a little warped upon opening the contents, but were easily bent back into shape within seconds. I purchased the neoprene tableau matsand I’m extremely impressed with their quality and they definitely made a huge difference to the look on the table, and ease of placement of cards. Every card has a different ‘photograph’ on them instead of just artwork or illustrations, and this is another brilliant touch from the game designers / publishers, especially bearing in mind there are 354 cards in the game and every card has a different picture on them, and two on those that are double sided.

The Good:

The photographic artwork, the components, and the overall gameplay, both solo and multi-player make this an exceptionally good game. The rulebook is easy to follow and is very well laid out with lots of examples, pictures and descriptions of gameplay and situations that may occur. The fact that there is only one version is also another nice touch, and the only Kickstarter exclusives were a few extra promo cards and some wooden soil tokens to replace the cardboard ones, but you certainly don’t need these to play or enjoy the game to its’ full potential. Too many crowdfunded games give vast stretch goals that induce FOMO, and a lot of these are simply overkill in my opinion. Well done Inside Up Games for going the route you have with the main game, and with only two add-ons as far as I know, those being the neoprene mats and some storage trays/ inserts.

The Other:

The only changes I would make would have been to have the box big enough, and deep enough to fit the neoprene mats laid flat inside the box, and for the base game to provide thin card versions of these, or for there to be a downloadable file to print out something to use, because if you don’t buy the neoprene mats you are simply placing them onto the table surface, and might get a little messy or mixed up. I feel the same way in regard to the tableau area for Everdell, as this would definitely assist in making everything neater on the table itself. However, saying this, I’m sure people will either sort their own things out, or there will be places that offer to supply mats if you can’t get the official ones if they are out of stock etc.

Final Thoughts:

I love Everdell as a tableau builder, but for me this goes above it on the ‘which I would rather play ‘ charts. Personally I think EARTH was my ‘Game of the Year’ at the end of 2023.

Zatu Score


  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • An incredibly satisfying experience (growing is the best)
  • A very tight game throughout
  • Gaia is a fun and challenging opponent
  • Its a beautiful game

Might not like

  • A lot of number crunching at the end
  • Maybe too tight for some, you wont be able to do everything you want to