Groves is a beautiful game designed by Steven Aramini and Dan Letzring, with artwork by Nolan Nasser, and published by Letiman Games. Groves had a very successful Kickstarter campaign, reaching a funding amount of $38,123 (433% of its goal) and 957 backers. This game recently began fulfillment to its Kickstarter backers, including me! I was lucky enough to own one of the prototype copies of this game and super stoked to compare it to the final production copy. Now that I have both in my possession, I can do just that! Without further ado, Before and After: Groves edition.
Alright, let’s start with the box. It has definitely increased in size. The quality of the box increased as well. It has this nice linen finish and is much sturdier compared to the prototype box. In the photo on the right, the top is the new box, and the bottom is the old box.
It also has a nice fancy insert now!
Now let’s check out the components and the upgrades they received through the Kickstarter campaign. One of the main upgrades which many of the components in Groves received is upgrading from thin glossy paper to punchboard.
First, the Tree of Idyll. In the photo on right, the board on the right is the prototype version of the tree. Much smaller, and while difficult to tell in the photo, it is a thinner, glossy paper. On the left is the new Tree of Idyll. The tree just looks much more glorious and important.
Next are the Player Boards. Originally, these boards were glossy hex cards, but they have since been upgraded to punchboard and have been rearranged into one single board. The reference card now runs across the upper border, and the resource cards are now along the bottom of the board. In addition, each Player Board shows the Tree of Idyll in a different season. Here on the right is the winter Tree of Idyll.
Let’s check out the hex cards. The size is the same, but the sturdiness has upgraded from thin gloss to punchboard matte. In the photo, the hex card on the left is the new card, and the one on the right is the prototype card.
The only downside I see to this upgrade is the color fades with the punchboard. Although it is much thicker and probably necessary. I’ve played my prototype copy about ten or so times, and the edges eventually wear.
A few other components which received the punchboard upgrade:
The portals! They’re standees now!
The Dominion point cards are no longer cards, either. They are now tokens!
The Start Player Crown token changed color (if you ask me though, I prefer the older blue) and has changed from being a hex card to a punchboard token.
Moving along to some of the other components, we’re going to see some cool changes to pieces that I really like. The resource tokens have upgraded from glossy punchboard to acrylic gems and wooden tokens. Very neat, and honestly much easier to identify.
The fae tokens are no longer glossy punchboard either but are larger, oval-shaped matte punchboard tokens.
The summoning bags used to be basic colors, but are now screen-printed with the Groves logo and the Tree of Idyll.
The Bonus cards were upgraded from white-core to black-core. Aaaannndddd I have no idea what that means, but I can say the cards used to feel more…Soft? I mean they weren’t soft, to begin with, but the new cards just feel tougher. They feel like they have a better recovery if they’re bent during shuffling. They also feel more like satin, when they used to feel slicker from the gloss coating. The top row, in the photo, are the new cards, while the bottom row are the prototype cards.
The final really cool thing about the production copy of Groves is the new lore in the rules. A game and a story? I dig it! Maybe we’ll see a comic book in Groves’ future?
Thanks for checking out the Before and After: Groves edition! Looking to pick up a copy for yourself? Visit https://www.letimangames.com!