2-4 players, 30 minutes, age 8+
The only component in Arboretum is a deck of 80 cards composed of 10 colored suits that represent different species of trees. The goal of the game is to create beautiful paths of trees that start and end with the same suit, with ascending numbers in between. On your turn, you draw two cards (either from a deck or your opponents' discard piles), play a card to your arboretum, and then discard a card. Every player has their own dedicated discard pile, and the trick is seeing what suits your opponents are playing and trying not to feed them those cards through your discards. To add even more tension, you need to have the highest total value of a suit in your hand at the end of the game to score that suit's path, which makes managing your hand an exercise in careful balance and vicious hate-drafting. What appears at first glance to be a lovely little card game about trees is, in fact, a cutthroat, sweaty knife fight.
Arboretum was originally released in 2015, but it was so hard to get hold of that Renegade Games' new version might as well be the game's true release. If you're into tense card games with plenty of difficult decisions, you'll love Arboretum.