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Meadow: Downstream Expansion

RRP: £28.99
Now £22.19(SAVE 23%)
RRP £28.99
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Meadow: Downstream is an expansion for Meadow inspired by the fascinating nature of aquatic environments. Start a new journey to observe flora, fauna and landscapes connected with rivers, streams and lakes. Go kayaking down the river and compete with others on the new fields of exploration. Meadow: Downstream includes over 80 new cards depicting wildlife living in an aquatic environ…
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Category Tags , SKU ZBG-REBMEAD3 Availability 3+ in stock
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Awards

Rating

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

You Might Like

  • A great addition to the base game
  • Artwork is amazing
  • So many new ways to score points and play cards
  • Still keeps the same relaxed feeling of the base game
  • Very good quality components

Might Not Like

  • Adds a little more time to the game length
  • Takes up a lot of room on the table
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Description

Meadow: Downstream is an expansion for Meadow inspired by the fascinating nature of aquatic environments. Start a new journey to observe flora, fauna and landscapes connected with rivers, streams and lakes. Go kayaking down the river and compete with others on the new fields of exploration.

Meadow: Downstream includes over 80 new cards depicting wildlife living in an aquatic environment and a new thematic envelope to discover. Kayaking mechanism allows players to score extra points for progressing down the river. Adjust the level of competition with two-sided river board. Choose between a fast stream and calm river to explore two faces of nature.

meadow downstream

Meadow was one of my gaming highlights of 2021 with over one hundred plays and one of my highest ratings of 9.5/10. I love the relaxing feel of the gameplay as you build your meadow in front of you, drafting the beautifully drawn cards all whilst trying to achieve the goals before your opponents (note, it didn’t always feel relaxing if your opponent takes the one card you have been waiting for and then they don’t use it, grrrr). I never felt like the game needed an expansion as the base game offers so much variety but as soon as Rebel Studios announced Meadow Downstream and showed some pictures I knew I had to have it in my collection.

So, does this expansion float gently downstream on a warm summers day as you admire nature all around you or is it like a wild and rapid ride during a winter storm that you can’t wait to get off of? Please read on to find out.

We Are Going To Need A Bigger Boat

Wow! There are a lot of components here. With Downstream you get 55 river cards and a river card deck holder, 4 kayakers, 4 double sided starting water ground cards, 4 sunset cards, 4 river trail tokens, 2 waterfall tokens, 12 cards (3 each for the North, East, South and West sets), fish goal token, 8 new roads, bonus Z envelope, 6 solo play cards, a massive double sided river board, 4 beaver dam cards, 4 additional 3 point bonus tokens, 6 tent tokens and finally 6 pier tokens.

Just like the base game the artwork is amazing with lovely little details everywhere you look. I am really pleased they included another card deck holder but I am very surprised it doesn’t fit in either box (base or expansion) once it is assembled. I will have to dispose of the base games insert to fit it all in which is a shame as it held everything in place perfectly before.

Set Sail

Set up with the expansion doesn’t take too long and is explained really well in the instructions (or Youtube video provided by Rebel Studios via a QR code on the front of the instructions). There are a couple of requirements the first of which is you must have opened and included the mini expansion envelope U from the base game. If you haven’t done that yet (why wouldn’t you have?) you will need to do it now. In addition you need to shuffle in the new North, East, South and West cards into the main decks. Please remember if you ever don’t want to play with the expansion you will need to remove these cards.

The river board has two sides (Lazy River & Wild Rapids) and it is recommended that you use the Lazy River for your first play with the expansion. Both sides offer numerous bonuses for sending your Kayaker as far down the river as possible but how do you do that?

meadow downstream meeples

Up A Certain Creek But This Time With A Paddle

Some of the new cards included in the expansion (River cards) provide an oar symbol on the bottom of the card instead of points. Each time you play one of these cards you move your Kayaker further down the river the same number of spaces as there are arrows on the oar. You can only ever move your kayaker downstream and never back upstream (otherwise the expansion would be called something else). There are forks in the river and when you reach these you must decide which path you will take which is an agonising decision as there are benefits for going both ways.

The further you go down the river (on either side of the board) the more opportunities you have for gaining bonuses as well as scoring more points at the end of the game. Some of the bonuses could be to gain more cards, play cards, score an additional goal, take new road tokens or a combination of these.

To gain new river cards you need to take them from the river card area of the new board. To do so you use the new river trail player tokens (which can only be used on this board) and the ? path token (if you are playing with the correct number of players). This effectively gives you another turn each round and therefore by its very nature slightly increases the play time for Meadow. It’s not a lot but it is worth keeping in mind.

Downstream introduces three new symbols, watery ground base card which you will now play in addition to the normal base ground card (grass or leaves) at the beginning of the game. Please note there is still a limit of ten cards that can be played as base cards. This symbol is required for fish and many of the new bird, tree and other cards you will play with this expansion.

Nature Monument symbols are found on the new river cards as well as in the South and North decks. Fish symbols must be played on a column that contains the watery ground symbol at the bottom of the column.

The box includes another mini expansion envelope labelled Z. I won’t spoil what you get in there but needless to say I really enjoyed the new cards. Finally there is a solo variant which is fully detailed in the rules.

Going Fishing

What a great expansion! It adds quite a lot of new ideas to the base game but it still feels like Meadow. I think I will always play with Downstream as it gives more decisions to the player without increasing the difficulty. I really love the artwork with some truly stunning pieces I would be happy to hang on my wall. The extra space on the table is a little bit of a pain but the payoff is well worth it.

If you like Meadow then buy Downstream, it’s the catch of the day.

Zatu Score

Rating

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

You might like

  • A great addition to the base game
  • Artwork is amazing
  • So many new ways to score points and play cards
  • Still keeps the same relaxed feeling of the base game
  • Very good quality components

Might not like

  • Adds a little more time to the game length
  • Takes up a lot of room on the table