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We All Take from the River is a 1-5 player board game of environmental policy, inspired by real river ecosystems. You play as a camp on the river with great plans for the future. 

Build and move your structures along the river to gather resources as you pursue your unique pair of goals. Everyone can win individually, but you might come into conflict in your shared environment. If you cannot cooperate enough to protect that environment, you will all lose.

Based on real river ecology

Balance the needs of a delicate river ecosystem with your own ambitions for development. Cutting down too many trees will increase the risk of floods, and overfishing will deplete the river's precious supply.

In-depth diplomatic strategy

Each player has a role with a unique pair of objectives. Sometimes those objectives overlap and sometimes they clash. With ten roles available, every new game will have its own dynamic of player motivations, teamwork, and conflict.

Play follows the river waters

Players at the top of the river have the advantage of acting first. Players at the bottom of the river have access to more resources that flow downstream — including the pollution produced by those above.

Compelling solo and two-player modes

Play alone or as a pair to stockpile food and build the city without leaving any pollution behind. Develop your industry with sustainable practices to maintain a harmonious relationship with nature.

Deal each player a hidden role card

Set up by dealing each player a role card that shows them their objectives for the game. Players can say whatever they want about their role, but can't actually reveal their card until the game is over. 

Players then take turns placing their camps on the land tiles adjacent to the river. 

In this combination of roles, the Grocer and the Gardener will be in competition for fish.

Turns start at the top of the river

The game lasts for ten rounds, or days, marked by a new weather card at the start of each day. At the beginning of each day roll the six-sided die and add the weather modifier to calculate the starting water level.

This example almanac shows the current day is sunny. Tomorrow it will be overcast, and the next day will be rainy.

Every row of tiles along the river gets a turn, starting at the top of the river and proceeding downstream. On each turn, check if trees are knocked down by overflowing waters or if gravel is deposited in the wetlands. Then spawn natural resources like fish and trees.

The water level was 6 last turn, so this tile at elevation 4 flooded.

Once the water and resources have been resolved, players may use their structures in that row to harvest resources, build new structures, or move to another spot along the river.

When the turn ends, any resources floating in the river are carried downstream. Be careful! If there is pollution in the river it might get washed ashore and block other resources.

When the red sawmill is used it produces one pollution which is added directly to the river.

At the end of each day, players can agree on policies like setting aside land to build the city, subsidizing pollution cleanup, or declaring protected lands. At the end of the tenth day, if you've accomplished both your goals, you win! 

Or, if enough pollution is carried all the way downstream to the river estuary, the ecosystem could be destroyed, and everyone will lose!

Game over! The estuary has become clogged with trash.

Watch a demonstration of a four player game


You can download the full instructions here!

There are no editions. All backers get the same copy of We All Take from the River complete with all stretch goal add-ons. Each copy comes with:

  • Instruction Booklet
  • Game board


  • City tile


  • 8 Flood tiles


  • 50 Wooden sticks (Canals, Bridges, and Levees)
  • 284 Resource tokens (Fish, Wood, Gravel, Gold, Pollution)
  • Weather die
  • Water Level die
  • 12 Weather cards


  • 10 Role cards


  • 5 sets of player components
    • Camp
    • 5 Net tokens
    • 5 Lumber Mills
    • 5 Farms
    • 5 Excavators
    • 5 Boats
    • Building reference card



Forever Our Rivers is a nonprofit dedicated to river and wetlands conservation across the southwestern United States. To date, they’ve had a conservation impact of $2.37 million and have restored over 10,000 acres of land along streams and rivers.

About the Creator

Hi! My name's Ben. The river I'm most familiar with is the Potomac. I've spent many summer days canoeing down its rapids, hiking by its banks, or crossing it whenever I take the train down south to Virginia. It is, very loosely, the inspiration for the river in We All Take from the River.

I grew up in and around the greater DC area. I studied arts and philosophy, and worked as a policy analyst for a while. The intersection of my love for political philosophy, civic education, and illustrative design eventually led me to to make this game. 

I hope it brings you as much joy as it has brought me.

Available Rewards:

Retail Pledge

For retailers only. Gain access to the retailer pledge manager for orders of ten or more copies. Must be able to verify status as a retailer.

You will be able to build your order on the add-ons page at special bulk pricing. Please contact if you would like to place an order for quantities that are not listed.

$49USD + Shipping

Educator and Advocate Pledge

A special tier for educators and advocates looking to purchase copies of We All Take from the River. Must be able to verify status as part of an educational institution or nonprofit.

You will be able to add to your order on the add-ons page at special bulk pricing. Please contact if you would like to place an order for quantities that are not listed.

$59USD + Shipping

We All Take from the River

One complete copy of We All Take from the River, with a Kickstarter exclusive 10% discount from $65 MSRP! Includes all stretch goals.

Estimated delivery: April 2025

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