Rustling Leaves

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Rustling Leaves is a one to six player roll and write game form Paolo Mori and published by Kosmos Games. The box states the player count is two to six but you can play this as a solo game with “beat your own score”.  The game comes with four different roll and write pads for Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Each game sheet is themed to its respective season and has different…
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Rustling Leaves is a one to six player roll and write game form Paolo Mori and published by Kosmos Games. The box states the player count is two to six but you can play this as a solo game with “beat your own score”.  The game comes with four different roll and write pads for Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Each game sheet is themed to its respective season and has different scoring parameters/objectives depending on the season.

Rustling Leaves is a very accessible and quick playing game. It is ideal for a quick filler game, with a typical game lasting around 20 minutes. There is a lot of replay ability in the sheets with the four different seasons. You can play Rustling Leaves as a single season, pick your preferred option, or choose one that is thematic to the time of year. Or you can play all four seasons back to back. The game features mechanisms such as push your luck and set collection.  

A player will roll two dice which dictate the size of the square/rectangle that would be drawn on your sheet. Rolling a two and a four means that you have to draw a two by four rectangle on your sheet. After drawing your shape a number of different pictures will be enclosed and these are how you score. You pick a single type of one of these and mark them off at the bottom of your sheet. Each of these score in different ways depending on season. The game continues this way until you decide to stop. The moment that you roll the dice and can’t fit the respective shape on your sheet results in negative points. After all players have passed points are tallied and the player with the most points wins. 

Player Count: 1-6
Time: 20 minutes
Age: 8+

Awards

Rating

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

You Might Like

  • Great variety
  • Beautiful artwork
  • Nice gateway game

Might Not Like

  • Little player interaction
  • Only one instance of luck mitigation
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Description

Rustling Leaves is a one to six player roll and write game form Paolo Mori and published by Kosmos Games. The box states the player count is two to six but you can play this as a solo game with “beat your own score”.  The game comes with four different roll and write pads for Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Each game sheet is themed to its respective season and has different scoring parameters/objectives depending on the season.

Rustling Leaves is a very accessible and quick playing game. It is ideal for a quick filler game, with a typical game lasting around 20 minutes. There is a lot of replay ability in the sheets with the four different seasons. You can play Rustling Leaves as a single season, pick your preferred option, or choose one that is thematic to the time of year. Or you can play all four seasons back to back. The game features mechanisms such as push your luck and set collection.  

A player will roll two dice which dictate the size of the square/rectangle that would be drawn on your sheet. Rolling a two and a four means that you have to draw a two by four rectangle on your sheet. After drawing your shape a number of different pictures will be enclosed and these are how you score. You pick a single type of one of these and mark them off at the bottom of your sheet. Each of these score in different ways depending on season. The game continues this way until you decide to stop. The moment that you roll the dice and can’t fit the respective shape on your sheet results in negative points. After all players have passed points are tallied and the player with the most points wins. 

Player Count: 1-6
Time: 20 minutes
Age: 8+

Rustling Leaves Feature

Regular readers of my posts will know I’m very fond of replayability in games. I love a game that I can play over and over and find a new thrill each time. A new strategy, a new order of actions to take, or just a new layout of pieces. Games such as Steampunk Rally, Kingdom Builder, and Carcassonne. Recently I’ve discovered a new type of game that really scratches that itch. Roll and write games have been around for years. One has been about for decades and could be considered a household name. Have you guessed it? If so, then Yahtzee! (Yes, it’s Yahtzee, the original of the genre.) The basic premise of roll and write is that each player has a scoresheet, and something happens. It can be a dice roll or a card draw or something else entirely. Each player can then decide how they use what has come up. Options become more limited as time progresses, so you have to choose wisely. A current favourite of mine is Cartographers, and the game I’m talking about today has a very similar feel. A slight heads-up. The version I played was in German.

Blätterrauschen ist… (ahem) Rustling Leaves is a new roll and write game with a push your luck twist. Set in a natural theme, your goal is to score as many points as possible by rolling your dice and using them to surround the various pictures. Ready to set off into the forest?

Rustling Leaves Game Sheet

How To Play

Each player takes a map of a season. The dice are rolled. The numbers give you one of the lengths of a rectangle (field) you will draw on your map. For example, a green 2 and a yellow 3 gives you a 2×3 field. In the opening round, you place your field so that one of the squares contained within is one of the six starting boxes. From the second turn onwards, you must have at least one square connected with a previously drawn field.

Once you have placed your field, you will choose one of the pictures in it. Each of the four seasonal maps has different figures. These score points in different ways, based on the flora and fauna appropriate for that time of year. Once you’ve chosen your scoring picture, you cross off all which appear in your field and tally off the number you’ve crossed off below. If you find yourself unable to place a field, you have to mark off a missed die, scoring minus 3 points for each missed die.

Finally, you have one joker – which you can use at any point in the game – that changes one of the dice rolled. Keep going until you choose to stop or you get six missed die markers. When you’re done, tally your scores and the highest score wins!

Rustling Leaves Art

Final Thoughts

When I received the review copy of Rustling Leaves, I was excited to give it a play. Normally, I have to wait until I can play with my partner, but since Rustling Leaves has a solo mode, I had a quick playthrough on my own. The artwork is beautiful, and there’s a lot of detail for relatively small pictures. It does rely on luck somewhat. If you end up getting the dreaded 4×4 square, it takes up a lot of your board very quickly. You do have the Joker die, which is a nice foil to a bad roll, but there’s only one, so be sure to use it wisely.

Still, there’s a ton of replayability in this game. With two hundred sheets to play with (50 of each season), you can step up to a new challenge each time you play. Technically you don’t even have to play with the same season, so you could really mix things up. Paolo Mori and Kosmos have created a nice little roll and write which really sticks to the spirit of the genre, and is a good introductory game to let non-gamers get into the mechanic. With each player taking the same dice rolls, and only the joker as a variable, I’ve found that most games end simultaneously. I enjoyed my time playing it and I’m sure I will continue to play it, giving each season a try. So far, I’ve played a solo Spring and a duet for Autumn. Now summer is over, I guess that means… winter is coming.

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.

Gameplay

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!

Zatu Score

Rating

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

You might like

  • Great variety
  • Beautiful artwork
  • Nice gateway game

Might not like

  • Little player interaction
  • Only one instance of luck mitigation