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How to Play Rustling Leaves

Rustling Leaves cover

Sometimes I like to just sit down, throw some dice and draw some stuff. It has been known I do love these roll’n’write or flip’n’fill types of games. Rustling Leaves from Kosmos and Paulo Moriis a quaint and beautiful game, enjoyable by yourself or with a few like-minded friends. It is very light but perfect for a game night opener or a wind-down game at the end of a hectic soirée.

Rustling leaves has you playing one of four seasons and encircling various icons on your sheet to try and maximise your score. Be careful though as every shape has to be joined to the last and especially at the end of the game, you could possibly shoot yourself in the foot by not being able to place a required shape. It's your choice when to stop, do you carry on? Or do you gamble for a few more tasty points?

The Set-Up

Grab a number of writing utensils equal to the number of players, grab the two included dice and pick a sheet from the hefty pad. Summer, Winter, Spring and Autumn, they all have slightly different goals and ways to score and all of them have a slightly different feel. The setup in these types of games is always quick and that is one of the things that makes them great for travelling or fitting a game in between other activities.


Roll for the Galaxy! No, No No, Roll for The Forest Instead!

After picking one of the starting areas on your sheet the start player, which the instructions say was the last player to visit a forest, rolls the dice. Each dice has several pips on it, represented by leaves and one face that has a cloud on it and the pips. These two numbers together make up the size of the area you must enclose on your sheet. Your area must touch orthogonally an already enclosed area and must stay within the confines of the sheet. Simple.

Pick Your Points

After enclosing an area, you must choose one of the enclosed icons and cross off all those icons in your drawn enclosed area. So, if for example you pick butterflies and your area has three, cross them all off and score them accordingly. You can see now why how you build your areas is key for scoring, you want more symbols and want to specialize in certain icons. Each of these icons has different scoring conditions and rules but they are all nicely explained in the rulebook and summarized in the scoring area at the bottom of your sheet. It's all rather chilled and comforting.

Ways To Mitigate, Troubles And Cloud Faces

Your sheet, as with all games of this ilk does have a way to change die faces. You have one joker per game which allows you to change the number of pips on the green die. Having only one joker and losing points for not being able to place your enclosures is tense. This combined with the fact you choose when to stop creates this little ecosystem of being concise and planning efficiently.

As I mentioned above, not being able to place an enclosure means you have to check off minus point notches at the bottom of your sheet and can easily lose you the game. On the flip side of that, deciding to stay playing with only a small part of your sheet left and rolling a perfectly fitting shape feels great. It is a good tactic to save your joker for the end of the game to make this a higher possibility of being achieved.

The cloud faces on the die and including the normal pips add a wrinkle to all four seasonal sheets. They increase certain scoring icons or stop you from scoring them completely. Every time a cloud is rolled, everyone is interesting as it may affect their strategy positively or even negatively.

The End Of The Game

After you have decided to stop marking your forest and after you have stopped pushing your luck you have to score your sheet. It's a very simple affair as each section has its own sub-total box. Add up all the sub-sections, then all the sub-totals and whoever has the most points is the winner. Easy as peas!

Rustling Leaves is an easy to play, quick game that’s warm and rewarding. Roll for the forest people!