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Contents of the box

The game contains 66 cards.

64 Forest cards corresponding to the 4 different levels of
the forest:
16 Canopy cards

16 2nd Level cards

16 1st Level cards

16 Ground cards

ard You can fin

of each c d animals
The back e level of on some of
indicate s th the cards.
. There is a
the forest species, 2 p
total of 8
er level.
chains cards show
sents w that rep a 4 of the Ground
t r
of hum he impact e- cards show an
an act
ivity. aboriginal inhabitant
(an autochthon). They are
the Game Start cards.

1 Scoring card car lf.
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1 Solo-mode card
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Du s in rd fro card e Ob you then ur
card 2 ca to 3 from th . until u yo
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draw hand card forest actio , wh en co a full
your ost your e turn handcan th cept
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How to play
Aim of the game
To get the largest, most balanced and least damaged

Game set-up
Put aside the 4 Game Start cards. Shuffle all other Forest
cards together, divide them into 5 piles of 12 cards each,
and place them side by side face down.
Each player takes one of the 4 Game Start cards and
puts it in front of themselves: this will be the start of their
own forest. With 2 or 3 players, randomly insert the re-
maining card(s) in any 1-2 piles. One after the other, each
player takes 3 topmost cards from any of the 5 piles.

Course of the game

Players take turns clockwise to play the game. The
player who has recently gone walking in a forest starts
On your turn, take the following three steps in order:
1. Place 1 of your 3 cards in front of yourself to build the
forest (see “How to place a card in your forest” on
page 4);
2. Give 1 of your 2 remaining cards to a player of your
choice, who has to place it in his/her forest immediately;
3. Refill your hand to 3 by drawing any 2 topmost cards
from the piles (Skip this step when all piles are deple-

Finally, all players place their very last card remaining in

their hand in their own forest. The game then ends.

How to place a card in your forest?
You place a card in your forest during
your own turn or when another player
gives you a card. In both cases, you
place the card in your forest according to
the level indicated on the back of each
card in either of the following ways:
- Place the card in an empty space.
However, you cannot start a new
column unless the previous one is
complete (4 levels);
- Place the card on top of a previously
played card of a complete or incom-
plete column (corresponding to the
same level of the forest). Here the first
The first card of a new column can column is com-
be of any level of the forest. plete, hence
you can start a
new column or
Scoring cover one of the
(refer to example on the next page) cards of the first
At the end of the game, each column.
player looks at his/her forest and
scores points in this order:
+3 points for each complete column
-1 point for each incomplete column
Then, all cards of the incomplete columns are discarded
and the scoring goes on:
+1 point when the number of animals of one species
corresponds to the number of complete columns of your
own forest.
-1 point for each chainsaw (the area is degraded!)

-1 +1

-1 +1



+3 +3 +3 -1
Scoring example:
• 3 complete columns (3 x 3 points) = +9 points
• 1 incomplete column (on the right) = -1 point
From now on we only look at the complete columns
• 4 animal species with the right number (Since there are
3 complete columns, each species with 3 animals gets 1
point) = +4 points
• 2 chainsaws = -2 points
Total number of points for this player at the end of the game:
9 – 1 + 4 -2 = 10 points

Semi-cooperative version (for 4 players)

This version is played like the normal version. However, the
players are divided into 2 teams of 2 players. Instead of sitting
side by side, the 2 players of the same team must face each
other. Basically, the 4 players build up their own forest in front
of themselves. On their turn, they place a card in their own
forest, give a card to a player of their choice (sometimes to their
teammate, if it helps), and then take 2 cards from the piles.
At the end of the game, the points are counted as usual. Howe-
ver, players of the same team add up their points. The team
with the highest total of points win the game.
SOLO version:
see the Solo-mode card 5
‘Once Upon a Forest’ is a game to show
you the structure and beauty of a tropical
rainforest where flora (plants) and fauna
(animal) flourish.

But how do we balance primary tropical

forests? How can we define them?

The characteristics of the forests in the

tropical and equatorial regions of South
America, Africa and Asia can be varied in
nature. The last glaciation spared these
forests and the biodiversity in them is the
richest in the world.

These tropical rainforests are still in their

primary state, which means they have
never been or not long been affected by
human activity or natural disasters like fire.

This game is primarily based on the idea of

balancing the fauna in a rainforest without
overpopulating any species and protec-
ting them from human activity. The game
allows the players to make a number of
choices and illustrates to the players the
consequences of their choices in reality.
The game is coherent with the film, ‘Once
Upon a Forest’ by Luc Jacquet and its pai-
ring book co-written with a botanist, Fran-
cis Hallé, who was consulted on the game
and gave some useful advice.

What makes the trees the
major component
of a rainforest?
Trees cover the entire
surface area of the soil.
Trees in forests can
often grow to more than 70
metres in height, with their roots ex-
tending up to 5 metres below ground.

Shapes of trees change according to their

age. A young tree starts with the shape of
a lollipop and quickly gains height. As it
grows and develops into an adult, the tree
will form a flattened crown and its trunk
grows in diameter. Depending on the
space the tree can occupy and its loca-
tion in the forest, it may grow beyond 50
metres tall. When a tree gets old and dies,
it will eventually fall down or the roots will
rot and its branches will fall.

The lifespan of a tree is extremely variable,

from around 50 years for the Cecropia to
1000 years for the Brazil nut tree.

What are the characteristics of
a tropical rainforest?
Consisting of four distinct layers, a rain-
forest is dense, thick, rich and orga-
The canopy is the roof of the forest.
The richest biodiversity can be found
there owing to the sufficient and direct
sunlight, which becomes scarcer going
towards the ground. The canopy is on
average 50 metres tall, but, some trees,
like Moabi (the largest tree in this game
as shown on p.11), can grow beyond
that to form the emergent layer.
Below the canopy at about 40 to 20
metres above the ground, there lies a
layer with two levels of mature treetops.
The final layer is the ground where
young trees grow along with the trunks
of large trees and a number of diverse
In each layer, there are lianas, long and
flexible woody vines that Tarzan used
for resting and swinging. There are also
epiphytes that live with the support of
other plants without being parasitic.
Since trees eventually die, materials
from these dead trees are found at each
In the soil (underground)
Under the ground is like an iceberg - the submerged
portion of an iceberg is about 10 times bigger than the
visible part. The forest and its roots are similar to this.

While the crowns of the canopy can dominate the ground

at more than 50 metres high, the fabric of roots does not
go beyond 5 metres underground. Nevertheless, some
roots can extend horizontally far from the base of the
tree. For example, the roots of the Fig tree in Guyana
can actually stretch up to 150 metres away!

Tree roots fix the shaft in the ground. They absorb water
and minerals and carry them to different parts of the tree.

The roots of most trees are an extension of the stems

under the ground which spread horizontally in many di-
rections. The very large trees like Moabi (page 11) have
horizontal roots snaking through the soil. One may won-
der how roots can grow in and out of the ground. In fact,
the roots are growing underground and emerge to the
surface when soil is eroded away over time.

Roots are not the only thing that colonizes the soil. Fungi
also form a dense network here. The fungi sometimes
emerge and appear on the ground in the shape of a hat.
They are extremely dense throughout the soil.

Trees of the past
The life of a tree can be very long.
For example, an adult Moabi can
easily live over 1,000 years!

When a tree dies, it either rots from

the roots or falls down. The cano-
py of a tree can sometimes be 60
metres high. When a tree falls, the
canopy falls as well and leaves a
hole in the rainforest: this is a wind-

Through these holes in the forest,

sunlight and a great amount of rain
can reach the ground level which
allows young trees to grow and
eventually fill up the holes. The
holes, which are usually filled with
pioneer trees that have a short life,
are essential to the regeneration of
most trees in a forest. It can take
up to 700 years to completely fill up
the holes.

Storm winds may cause trees to

fall, too. Similarly, heavy rains make
soil less cohesive and assist in
uprooting, which may increase the
frequency of falling trees.

Not a tree like others
Moabi is the main tree in the film “Once
Upon a Forest”, as well as in this game.

The Moabi tree is an exceptional tree

found in the Gabonese forest in Africa,
providing a canopy of 60 to 70 metres
high, which can extend up to 60 metres
in diameter, with roots growing up to
40 metres around the tree. To reach its
maximum size, Moabi will have to grow
for at least 300 years.

Throughout its growth and until its

death, it will keep the same architectu-
ral unity, with the same types of axes:
that’s why it is called a unitary tree. It
loses its leaves annually and will be-
come totally bare, like the European

Elephants are the most effective in dis-

persing the seeds of Moabi. Elephants
eat the fruit and therefore its seeds.
The seeds are then ejected in the ele-
phants’ feces, far from the seeds’ ori-
ginal place. The intestine of the animal
can also accelerate seed germination.
Gorillas and bush pigs are also very
good seed disseminators.

Fauna of the tropical rainforest
All the animals in this game are found in the rainforests in Africa,
except Hummingbirds, Blue Poison Dart Frog and Leafcutter
ants, which are only found in the Americas. This is obviously a
ridiculous sample of the rich biodiversity of a tropical rainforest.

The African Grey Parrot, also called Grey Gabon, was a

favoured pet in ancient Rome.
Hummingbirds have a French name “oiseau-mouche”,
literally translated as “bird-fly” because of their small
size and rapid wing beats.
Chimpanzees are the closest primates to humans,
physically and genetically. The term comes from a
Congolese dialect and means “false man”.
Mandrills, easily recognized by the olive green fur on
their head and buttocks, are nomadic in very large
Leopards only go out and hunt at night. They adapt
to climate change easily and remain safe while living in
the trees.
The Mamba Snake, mostly arboreal (living in trees) and
diurnal (active in the daytime), delivers venom to its
prey with a deadly bite. It then holds its prey to allow
time for the neurotoxin to paralyze its victim.
Leafcutter Ants live with fungi and feed them with fres-
hly-cut plant leaves.
The colour of the Blue Poison Dart Frog is not for ca-
mouflage but is a warning sign to potential predators of
its awful taste and toxicity.

Forest and man
Among the fauna, we must not forget man since it is one
of the species living in the forest. Humans evolve in ba-
lance and harmony with trees, ants, monkeys and birds.
Indeed, indigenous peoples, especially nomadic hunters
or gatherers who live in the forests do not disrupt nature.

But human beings are the primary danger to cause defo-

restation by cutting down trees for commercial timber.

Since the 1950’s, degradation or disappearance of rain-

forests has rapidly been taking place. The fate of tropical
rainforests is drawing more and more attention from go-
vernments, under pressure from non-government organi-
zations. This regression of forests is accompanied by a
loss of biodiversity, degradation of soil, decrease of natu-
ral resources and deterioration of hydrological regimes
(floods, drought, etc.). An area of forest equivalent to
quarter the size of France disappears each year.

The primary forests can now only be found in Brazil, the

Democratic Republic of Congo and New Guinea. What
will it be like in 10, 50 or 100 years?

The future of the forests is bleak. In 10 years, the tropics

will be with secondary forests, worthless wood, open
canopy and residual biodiversity of insects.

~ Ce jeu respecte la forêt ~
Nous nous engageons à fabriquer tous nos jeux intégralement en
France, afin de minimiser l’impact carbone dû à des transports
abusifs et abusés. De plus, tous les éléments de ce jeu ont été réalisés
en éco-conception. C’est-à-dire avec des méthodes de fabrication et
des matières premières les plus propres et responsables possibles.
Quant à la forêt, elle a été respectée car le bois qui a été nécessaire
à la fabrication de certains éléments de ce jeu a été récolté dans
des forêts dont les propriétaires se sont engagés à respecter les
règles d’une gestion forestière durable. Ces règles existent dans les
pays tempérés, mais pas entre les Tropiques.

~ Bibliographie ~
Afin que le contenu du jeu soit très proche de la réalité d’une forêt
tropicale humide africaine, nous avons été conseillés par Francis
Hallé, à l’origine du film Il était une forêt, réalisé par Luc Jacquet
(La Marche de l’Empereur, Le renard et l’Enfant). Francis Hallé est
botaniste et biologiste, spécialiste de l’écologie des forêts tropicales
et de l’architecture des arbres. Il a mené l’aventure du Radeau
des cimes de 1986 à 2003. Trois intrus « géographiques » sont
néanmoins présents sur les cartes du jeu : le Colibri, la Fourmi
coupeuse de feuilles et la Grenouille Dendrobate, qu’on ne trouve
qu’aux Amériques.

Vous pourrez en apprendre beaucoup plus sur les forêts tropicales

et les arbres en vous reportant aux ouvrages suivants :

- Eloge de la plante : Francis Hallé (Points, 1999, 346 p.) ;

- La forêt tropicale humide : Alain Puig (Belin, 2001, 447 p.) ;

- Les forêts tropicales : Arnold Newman (Larousse, 1990, 248 p.) ;

- Plaidoyer pour l’arbre : Francis Hallé (Actes Sud, 2005, 212 p.) ;

- La vie des arbres : Francis Hallé (Bayard, 2011, 70 p.).

~ Merci plein plein plein à ~
Francis Hallé, pour nous avoir conseillé au travers d’échanges et
de lectures captivantes ;
Laurence Picollec et Yves Darondeau, respectivement productrice
exécutive et producteur du film, pour l’intérêt qu’ils ont trouvé à
notre démarche ;
Yves Renou et Olivier Theillaumas, pour l’aide, les encourage-
ments et la distribution ;
Johanna Poncet, pour un peu tout dont le vif soutien du projet ;
Annie Toscano, pour pas mal de choses aussi ;
Manée Poncet et Régis Colin pour les relectures ;
Antoine Cadi, pour la disponibilité, la curiosité et la confiance ;
Bonne Pioche, Disneynature, Actes Sud, Rhône-Alpes Cinéma,
Idol et Veja pour l’entente ;
Florent Chabrouty, Emilie Wattrelos, Yann Estornes, Laurent Lar-
deux et Marion Leclerc pour l’accueil ;
Gwénaelle Guérin, pour ce tout premier et enthousiasmant test
lillois du jeu, à L’Illustration, autour de merveilleux merveilleux ;
Tous les joueurs de Ludinord 2013 qui ont défloré la première
version du jeu ;
François Haffner, pour les idées mécaniques ;
Nicolas Bourgoin et Alexandre Droit, pour le soutien (im)moral
de la CAL ;
Luc Jacquet pour avoir réalisé un film aussi nécessaire ;
Les très nombreux joueurs qui une fois au moins ont été les archi-
tectes d’une forêt et ont permis de la faire évoluer dans le bon

~ Copinages ~
Bonne Pioche, les producteurs du film :
Paille Editions, le distributeur du jeu :
David Boniffacy, l’illustrateur du jeu :
Wild Touch, l’association de Luc Jacquet :
Chamboultou, l’association ludique corrèzienne :
Et enfin, pour en savoir plus sur la forêt
et suivre l’actualité de nos petits jeux :
Découvrez les autres Jeux Opla

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3 Place Ambroise Courtois 69008 Lyon
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