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Wingspan creator’s new board game swaps birds for fungi

A new board game is on its way from the creator of Wingspan, and this one is all about mushrooms and how well they get on with trees.

Undergrove - a table with a board game an components on it.

Wingspan creator Elizabeth Hargrave has just launched the crowdfunder for what we reckon will be the best board game about Mycorrhizae released in 2024. The new game – designed by Hargrave and Mark Wootton – is called Undergrove, and it’s all about the symbiotic relationship between trees and mushrooms.

The game hit Kickstarter on November 7, and at time of writing, has raised close to $150,000. Which is plenty, since the initial target was only $10k.

In Undergrove, published by Alderac Entertainment Group (Cascadia, Tiny Towns), you play a Douglas Fir Tree. Your goal in this strategy board game is to create seedlings and help them absorb carbon and grow. The Kickstarter describes it as an area control engine-building game. It looks to involves sharing resources with a bunch of colorful mushrooms, each with different abilities.

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As well as the nature-related theme, there seem to be some other clear similarities to Wingspan. It’s an engine building point salad kind of game, and like Wingspan there are public goals that get randomized each game to keep things fresh. However, there’s also obvious big differences. For instance, in Wingspan each player develops a separate board, while Undergrove is a shared tableau game.

Undergrove is expected to release in November 2024 (at least that’s when it’s slated to be in backers’ hands). Backing the game on Kickstarter for $39 nabs you it (though shipping’s not included), along with a ‘micro expansion’ called Whispering Woods which has four additional mushroom tiles and two new public goals. Fans can also throw in $69 for the Deluxe Mycocologist edition, which has wooden components.

We joked about the niche theme at the start, but it has actually been a big year for fungus board games, with Earth released earlier in 2023. That game had quite a lot in common with Wingspan too (check out our Earth review here).

Check out our favorite family board games here. You might also enjoy our primer on all the different Wingspan expansions.