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Redwood

Redwood is an innovative strategy and dexterity game from Sit Down! that's based on estimating distances and areas accurately in order to maximise scoring opportunities. It's designed by Christophe Raimbault.



The theme is wildlife photography, and the artwork from Edu Valls is suitably vibrant and appealing. Players take turns choosing a template with which to determine their photographer's movement and another for their angle of view. These components are well constructed, giving just the right flexibility and precision required for a game where millimetres can make all the difference.


The gameplay is engaging, with scoring conditions building up over the course of the five rounds, so that it starts simple but ramps up each round. There are also a couple of optional rules that can be chosen so as to increase or decrease the complexity. In any case, players will have to think carefully about which direction to take the photo in so as to get the best backdrop, where to stand to get the best vantage point, and what angle to use for their photo in order to cover the most valuable subjects. There are many different bonus scoring opportunities that are added each round, such as standing by the central lake or having an animal in the background beyond the scope of the photo, and these make each game play out differently.



There is great satisfaction in making a plan that works beautifully, but frustration when you discover you can't move quite as far as you thought you would or your photo doesn't quite get the bear in shot the way you'd hoped. Like any dexterity game, a perfect plan can be let down by flawed execution, but at least there is no time pressure in this. For the player taking their turn, there is a lot to enjoy thinking about, but for those waiting there is not a lot to do during the downtime: animals move after getting successfully photographed so the board will change slightly after each person's turn making planning ahead fairly futile.


If you like the concept, chances are you'll love Redwood. For a game about wildlife photography that actually involves moving around trying to compose the perfect picture, you couldn't get much more immersive and satisfying than this.


(Review by Matt Young)


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