Review: Winterhaven Woods

In Winterhaven Woods, you will prepare animals in the woods for the long winter months by giving them a safe haven among the trees.


Featherstone Games




Game overview

Winterhaven Woods is a card drafting set collection game in which you will collect animals and give them a safe haven in the woods.

You begin a round of Winterhaven Woods by drawing 7 cards and choosing one of them. You pass the remaining cards to your neighbor. You keep repeating this until all cards have been played. After this you first play all the tree cards. With trees you can create a forest in which you can house animals. For each tree in your forest you may have 1 animal in that forest. If you can't put an animal in your forest because you don't have enough trees, they will be in your meadow where they're vulnerable to predators.

In addition to the critters that you can place in your forest, there are also steal cards that you can use to steal certain cards from opponents. Unfortunately, you get minus points for this. Finally, in the last phase your predators start hunting vulnerable critters in the meadow.

At the end of the game when 3 rounds have been played you get points for all animals in your forest and for your predators that have eaten animals. The player with the most points then wins the game!

Our thoughts

Winterhaven Woods is a game that probably caught your attention because of its beautiful artwork. The designer, Joel Bodkin, has again done an excellent job with this new set collection and drafting game. The artwork is mesmerizingly beautiful and really takes you into the world of Winterhaven Woods. The artwork alone is a reason to want this game in your collection! But does it play nice?

As mentioned above, Winterhaven Woods is a card game with the mechanisms set collection and drafting. These are 2 mechanisms that we are generally big fans of. Winterhaven Woods combines these mechanisms into a fairly simple game that you play in about 20 minutes. Winterhaven Woods is fairly simple when you get the hang of it, but you do have to play it several times before everything falls into place. During our 1st games, we regularly had questions about the rules. Not everything feels logical right away, but after a few times you can place the different rules and scoring possibilities well. Personally, we would have liked a player aid for each player. Fortunately you don't miss it after a while. 

The game takes place over 3 rounds. With 2 players, it sometimes felt like we didn't get much done by the end of the game. This is different each game, but still for us it felt like something was missing in our 2 player games. Especially after we played the game with 4 players. We really appreciated the dynamics that a 4-player game brings. In a 4-player game a lot more happens and we liked this a lot better. A 4-player game does not take long and there is almost no downtime. The game also contains enough player interaction through the take that elements. As far as we are concerned, Winterhaven Woods is definitely a must for 4 players! 

Winterhaven Woods is a relaxing card game that is easy to set up (just be sure to shuffle it well). The game is fairly simple but offers enough challenge to remain engaging. In addition, there is already a nice, small expansion available called Winterhaven Wonders. This expansion simply adds new cards that refresh the game and offer a bit more depth. Additionally, the expansion fits right into the box of the base game. If you are planning to purchase Winterhaven Woods, we would definitely recommend adding the expansion right away.

With Winterhaven Woods, in addition to a simple, entertaining card game, you also have a piece of art in your home. We are big fans of the artwork of Winterhaven Woods and would even like to hang it on our wall. There are enough reasons to add Winterhaven Woods to your collection. As far as we are concerned, an excellent addition to your game cabinet!

Pros and cons

+ Beautiful artwork
+ A lot of interaction between players

- Rules aren't immediately clear


This game has been kindly gifted to us for review purposes by Featherstone Games.