Top 11 Best Nature Board Games of 2024 Reviewed

Explore the best nature-themed board games. From forest-building in Photosynthesis to wildlife conservation in Wingspan, nature is at play.
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Photosynthesis coverWingspan coverEverdell cover

Hey pals, we’ve combed through forests of board games to bring you the 11 best picks themed around nature. When we pick games for our list, we focus on fun, engagement, and, of course, how well they bring the beauty and complexity of nature to your table. Whether it’s the delicate balance of ecosystems, the serene beauty of parks, or the strategic growth of forests and wildlife, each game promises a unique way to immerse yourself in the great outdoors, all from the comfort of your gaming table. So, grab your hiking boots, and let’s explore the wild world of nature-themed board games!

On this list:

11 Photosynthesis

Photosynthesis cover

  • Age Range: 10+
  • Players: 2-4
  • Play Time: 30-60 min

Get your copy on Amazon ↗

This green-thumb gem tosses you in the role of a forest, growing trees with the power of the sun. It’s a beautiful dance of strategy, where you plant, grow, and harvest trees in a cycle that feels so natural, you can almost smell the pine. We had a blast trying to out-plant each other, and it’s a hit for anyone who dreams of their personal forest. Plus, it’s a visual treat!

10 Wingspan

Wingspan cover

  • Age Range: 10+
  • Players: 1-5
  • Play Time: 40-70 min

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Wingspan has you fluttering into the role of bird enthusiasts—researchers, bird watchers, ornithologists, and collectors—seeking to discover and attract the best birds to your network of wildlife preserves. The artwork is stunning, drawing you in with every card you draw. We couldn’t get enough of the unique bird powers and the way they interact with the habitats. It’s a nature lover’s dream, truly showing the diversity of bird life.

9 Everdell

Everdell cover

  • Age Range: 13+
  • Players: 1-4
  • Play Time: 40-80 min

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In Everdell, you’re in charge of creating a bustling city beneath the boughs of towering trees, using critters and constructions. It’s critically acclaimed for its charming art and deep strategy, blending card game mechanics with a resource management system that’s as engaging as it is cute. We absolutely loved the seasonal cycle, which adds a dynamic twist to your planning. It makes you feel like you’re part of a living, breathing woodland.

8 Parks

Parks cover

  • Age Range: 10+
  • Players: 1-5
  • Play Time: 40-70 min

Get your copy on Amazon ↗

Parks has players hitting the trails, visiting national parks across the US, and enjoying nature’s beauty. It’s the perfect mix of breathtaking art and simple, yet engaging gameplay. Collecting memories (in the form of tokens) as you trek through the parks makes every game a unique journey. This hit home with us, reminding us of our own hiking adventures. It’s a serene experience that also packs a strategic punch.

7 Takenoko

Takenoko cover

  • Age Range: 8+
  • Players: 2-4
  • Play Time: 45 min

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This game has you cultivating bamboo plots while a hungry panda roams, eating your hard work. It’s adorable, easy to learn, and packed with strategy. The balance between growing bamboo and feeding the panda creates a delightful tension. We found ourselves really getting into the theme, almost feeling bad for the panda when we couldn’t grow bamboo fast enough. It’s a light-hearted approach to nature that anyone can appreciate.

6 Mariposas

Mariposas cover

  • Age Range: 14+
  • Players: 2-5
  • Play Time: 45-75 min

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Set off on a once-in-a-lifetime journey as migrating monarch butterflies. Mariposas is a game of movement and set collection that spans three seasons. The way it mimics the real-life migration of butterflies is genius, offering both a rich experience and a lesson in nature. We got caught up in the beauty of the butterflies’ path, and the game’s end-of-season scoring added a layer of strategy we didn’t see coming.

5 Root

Root cover

  • Age Range: 10+
  • Players: 2-4
  • Play Time: 60-90 min

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Root throws you into a woodland realm where you vie for control through warfare, diplomacy, and exploration. It’s a war game with a cutesy facade but don’t let the adorable animals fool you; it’s cutthroat and complex. We were enamored with how differently each faction plays, making it feel like a new game every time. It’s perfect for those who love a bit of mischief in their nature.

4 Arboretum

Arboretum cover

  • Age Range: 8+
  • Players: 2-4
  • Play Time: 30 min

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Arboretum is a strategic card game where you create beautiful paths through your tree-lined garden. The game is deceptively simple but requires deep strategic thinking to master. We found ourselves agonizing over which cards to keep and which to discard, a testament to its engaging gameplay. It’s a quiet, thoughtful game, perfect for those evenings when you’re in the mood for something that feels like a walk in the woods.

3 Dominant Species

Dominant Species cover

  • Age Range: 14+
  • Players: 2-6
  • Play Time: 2-4 hours

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This game plunges you into the harsh reality of surviving as a species before the last Ice Age. Dominant Species is complex and gritty, offering a deep dive (sorry for the phrasing, couldn’t resist) into the struggle for survival. We were all hooked on the competition, adapting our species to thrive in changing environments. It’s a heavyweight game, ideal for those who love a challenge and are fascinated by the natural world’s brutal beauty.

2 Terraforming Mars

Terraforming Mars cover

  • Age Range: 12+
  • Players: 1-5
  • Play Time: 120 min

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In this game, you’re transforming Mars into a habitable planet. It’s an epic blend of science and strategy, where you manage resources, develop technologies, and change the planet’s landscape. The thrill of watching Mars bloom under your guidance is unmatched. We loved the balance between cooperation and competition as we each strove to make Mars our own. It’s a must-play for anyone fascinated by the possibilities of nature and science colliding.

1 Spirit Island

Spirit Island cover

  • Age Range: 14+
  • Players: 1-4
  • Play Time: 90-120 min

Get your copy on Amazon ↗

Spirit Island tops our list as the best nature-themed board game. Here, you’re not colonizing or exploiting; you’re a spirit of the land itself, protecting your island from invaders. It flips the traditional script, giving players a powerful message about preservation and resistance. The cooperative play, deep strategy, and unique spirit powers made every game session an intense, engaging experience. It’s a brilliant reimagining of the struggle between nature and industrialization, making it not only the best on our list but also an unforgettable gaming experience.

Jamie in his proper element: With all of his board games
Jamie Hopkins

With years of dice-rolling, card-flipping, and strategic planning under my belt, I've transformed my passion into expertise. I thrive on dissecting the mechanics and social dynamics of board games, sharing insights from countless game nights with friends. I dive deep into gameplay mechanics, while emphasizing the social joys of gaming. While I appreciate themes and visuals, it's the strategy and camaraderie that truly capture my heart.