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Waldmeister represents in game form, the development, protection and commercial management of forests. Players need to stay aware of both ecological and economic considerations if they are to successfully develop their forests in the face of industrial and traffic pollution as well as the ever-present danger of damage due to storms, fire and insect attack. Just as in the real world, the changing seasons play an important part in the game.
Players who protect and develop their woods will be rewarded, as rare animals, such as Wild Cats, Capercaillies and Lynx, move in. At the end of the game the winner is the player who has best cared for their woodland.
Become prosperous by making the world a better place. Each player has a grid on which to raise different types of trees, most of which will be affected by pollution from a nearby highway and factory. The final quality and diversity of your trees, and the animals they attract, are what count. The number of Action Cards played, between one and three, determines movement of a seasonal marker. Passing into another Quarter usually permits a periodic action of purchase, sale or development. You need money for saplings and antipollution measures, but timing is tricky. Concentrating on ecology first, or going for money initially and repairing damage later, are both valid strategies.
The distribution of the facedown Action Cards, which benefit or damage a wood, is unnatural but interesting. When more than one are played, they are chosen starting with the player to your left; you get the last. With one, you offer it to another player. He will be left to wonder how good or bad it is before taking it or forcing you to. Whose woods these are is a question you will have fun answering.