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Under the Moonlight is the first expansion for beautiful forest-growing game Photosynthesis

Livin’ la vida luna.

When the sun goes down it’s time to harness the power of the moon in the first expansion for tree-tending board game Photosynthesis.

Released back in 2017, Photosynthesis is a board game that sees two to four players attempting to collect as many victory points as possible by growing and harvesting trees in a forest.

The process of photosynthesis involves plant life transforming the sun’s rays into energy, so that they can continue to grow and reproduce. The board game takes this everyday scientific process and adapts it into gameplay requiring players to think carefully about where to plant their trees, when to grow them and when to replace them with a new seedling.

Players start the game by planting small trees in two places on the board, before the sun shines and causes those trees to collect light points - the main currency of the game. Light points can be used to grow small trees into bigger trees, plant seeds and harvest fully-grown trees for victory points.

Any trees planted further into the middle of the board produce more victory points when they are harvested. However, depending on where a tree is placed in proximity to other trees, it may not receive any light points when the sun moves. Smaller trees will be overshadowed by larger trees, so players will need to plan when to plant and grow trees in order to maximise their light point gathering potential.

The winning player is whomever collects the most victory points - from harvesting trees and gathering light points - by the end of the third full revolution of the sun.

Photosynthesis board game layout

The upcoming expansion for Photosynthesis, Under the Moonlight, enables players to harness the power of lunar rays to help their trees grow. As the moon turns in the opposite direction of the sun, players can obtain lunar points to give to their chosen forest animal, which can grant them a unique power depending on the creature.

For example, the humble hedgehog can plant additional seeds, the wise owl can transform lunar points into sun points, the boar can collect more trees and the wiley fox can move seeds across the board and even steal them from other players.

Collecting lunar points requires players to position their forest animal in proximity to a moonstone whenever the moon moves around the Earth, with abilities needing to be activated at the right time to maximise their potential.

Photosynthesis creator Hjalmar Hach is the designer behind Under the Moonlight, having previously co-designed train board game series Railroad Ink, as well as last year’s narrative-driven fantasy game King’s Dilemma.

Under the Moonlight will be published by Blue Orange Games, responsible for releasing the original Photosynthesis alongside other beloved titles such as family board game Kingdomino and its sequel Queendomino.

The release date for Under the Moonlight is yet to be confirmed, but is listed by BoardGameGeek as being sometime later this year.

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Alex Meehan avatar
Alex Meehan: After writing for Kotaku UK, Waypoint and Official Xbox Magazine, Alex became a member of the Dicebreaker editorial family. Having been producing news, features, previews and opinion pieces for Dicebreaker for the past three years, Alex has had plenty of opportunity to indulge in her love of meaty strategy board games and gothic RPGS. Besides writing, Alex appears in Dicebreaker’s D&D actual play series Storybreakers and haunts the occasional stream on the Dicebreaker YouTube channel.

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