Update: Winterhaven Woods has launched on Kickstarter and the campaign will run for 23 days. You may pledge for the standard version of the game, or get it together with 9 art prints, or collaborate with the artist to produce your own card. It is also available as a PnP.
Our preview post below was published on June 17.
Winterhaven Woods is a 1-4 players card drafting game in which you manage a forest ecosystem during the harshness of winter. It will launch on Kickstarter on June 22.
The game is divided into three areas: the predator row, the meadow, and the three wood locations. The meadow is where animal cards are located until they get to populate the woods. You begin with three trees in one of the three wood locations. The predator row always displays four predators that will prey on your cards as soon as they have the opportunity to do so.
The game is played in three rounds. In each round, you start by drawing 8 cards, featuring either trees or animals. You then take turns until you have only one card left in hand: this card gets discarded and the round ends. Each turn is split into four phases.
First, you pick a card from your hand to play. If the card features trees, you can place it in one of the three wood locations. If the card features an animal, that animal can populate one of the woods. To populate a wood, there must be at least three trees in it, at least one tree per animal, and all animals must be of the same species (deer, red squirrel, grey squirrel, and rabbit). However, deer can only populate in pairs, squirrels cannot be more than 5, and rabbits can combine with any other species, but there can be only one per wood. If the animal cannot populate any wood, or if it is a hedgehog, it will stay in your meadow.
Then, cards in the predator row attack you. Foxes and bears will hunt one creature in your meadow, while owls will hunt a creature in your woods (but cannot hunt deer). Beavers will steal a tree card of one of your woods. You set aside each predator that got a prey for the final scoring, and then repopulate the predator row up to four. To end your turn, you must discard a card and draw a new one.
Once the three rounds have ended, you score points. All animals in the woods score one point, and hedgehogs in your meadow all score one point as well. Then, the predator row scores one point for all sated predator cards and their preys. If you get more points than the predator row, then you win the game! The game includes two mini-expansions that may or may not be compatible with the solo mode.