Flower Garden

Out of the all the board games we have played so far, many of them are dark themed, about fighting or about surviving for example. Sure we have come across of a few cute themed game, but nothing like Flower Garden. With anime art inspired by various anime shows on which among Demon Slayer, translated to a cute flower themed game, we were curious to try this prototype out.
Note that this is still a prototype, rules or looks of the game may change.

Gameplay overview.

Normally I describe in high detail how every game is set up and played. However, when playing Flower Garden, the rules of the game were improved a couple of times by the creator, including the set up. Therefore we have chosen to describe mostly the main rules without going in to much detail.

Every player has a player board which let’s you track your resources and a garden that has space for four flowers or plan cards. The goal of the game is to collect a set of flowers of the same color in your garden so you will have a nice display in your garden. There are five colors of flowers, where each set has four flowers to collect. If you play with less then four players, you play with less colors.
The game is played in turns, each turn consists of a couple of phases. The first phase starts with collecting extra resources you might gain from flowers you have already bloomed. If you have a flower in your garden with an extra resource icon, you may collect that resource by adjusting your tracker on your player board. In the second phase, you can play two actions. You cannot play the same action twice.

You can choose to gain two resources of your choice or to gain one coin. Resources are needed to bloom flowers. Some flowers might need water and soil to grow while others might prefer more soil or fertilizer for example. You can also choose to take a seed card. You may choose one of the face up seed cards or take the top card of the deck. Place the seed directly in your garden, once you run out of space, you will have to sell a flower before you can grow another one, do this by discarding a flower in your garden. If you discard more then two flowers, you gain one extra coin for each flower. Once you have a seed, you can take the action to bloom a seed into a flower. You can do this by spending the required resources that are found on the card. A colored seed will instantly bloom into a beautiful flower of that color. A red seed will become a red flower for example. If you have obtained a mystery seed, draw one seed token out of the draw bag to find out what color flower you will grow. Wild seeds are the most powerful seeds to obtain. If you manage to bloom a wild seed, you may look through all the top cards of each flower deck and choose a flower to bloom.

Each flower will give you a blooming bonus once they are bloomed. You may choose one out of two rewards. This could be gaining extra resources or even choosing a different flower from a different deck. after blooming, discard your seed card immediately, except for the wild seed card. The wild seed stays behind your flower to prevent wilt on your flower due to weeds. If your flower gets stolen or traded, remove the wild seed card.
If you don’t have enough resources to bloom a flower, you might choose to sabotage another player. If you do this, you may choose to take a weed and a rock from the draw piles and give this to your opponent. The weed and rock may go to different players. Once a player has more then three weeds in their garden, one flower has to be discarded due to wilt. Then all weed tiles are discarded. Rocks can be placed on vacant flower fields in a players garden, occupying one of the four garden spaces. A rock will stay put for two turns, then it may be removed. Lastly you can choose to buy plan cards with money. A plan card will occupy one space in your garden once played. You can have up to five plan cards in your hand and you can play up to two plan cards on your turn. Plan cards can provide powerful attributes such as stealing a flower from another garden to make your set complete, or gaining an extra garden plot for example.
The game ends immediately once a player completes a colored set of flowers. The player to be the first to collect a complete set, wins the game.

In the advanced mode of Flower Garden, you might be visited by the Flower Queen or Weed Queen. In order to summon a queen, you need to have at least one flower in your garden. You can either discard one of your flowers to summon a queen to any garden, or bribe a queen and pay three coins to summon her. If you manage to summon a queen, you may choose between the Flower Queen and Weed Queen and in what garden (including your own garden) you want to place her. The Flower Queen is the spirit of all flowers and loves seeing gardeners taking care of her precious flowers. When she is summoned, she compensates all other gardeners with one coin for their hard work. The Flower Queen can take any shape of a colored flower of your choice and during a bloom action, all costs will be reduced to zero to bloom one flower. The Weed Queen is furious to see gardeners sabotaging each others gardens and destroying flowers in the process. Once summoned, she provides the summoner with one coin. The player who has the Weed Queen in their garden, has to pay one resource per flower or gain one weed per flower at the beginning of their turn. Players can always choose to summon a queen again, if a Weed Queen is active, the Flower Queen will then come forward. Queens can never be stolen, they can only be summoned.

Playthrough of the game.

We have played Flower Garden several times, each time the game was pretty easy and fast. For the first game the rulebook recommended to play without the Flower and Weed Queen and to only collect three flowers instead of four. But since we picked up the rules fast, we involved the Queens pretty fast. With two players, you play with three colors only, which means there is a high possibility we will try and take the same colored flowers. With only four spaces in your garden, you have to get creative in order to complete a full set, like using stealing or sharing plan cards or selling flowers to gain new sets for example. Bribing and summoning the Flower Queen was also a good strategy to make your set complete since she is not only a flower of your choice, but also reduces blooming costs to zero. We found once someone summoned the Flower Queen, the game was often already lost. There are some plan cards that can prevent players from winning though. If you are lucky enough to get a wilt plan card on the table and you have money to buy it, you can instantly wilt one flower from another garden.

After Playing Flower Garden several times, we have come to the conclusion that this is not our game. Even though it looks super cute, it’s just to easy for us. Most games did not even last 10 minutes before one of us already had a set complete. For us, there is not enough challenge and it’s to much luck based since there are six plan cards to buy each round. We also noticed we often don’t summon the Weed Queen since the Flower Queen is just a much bigger help. Also if you spend one or two actions on giving weed and rock to another player, but they decide to focus on growing flowers, you might still fall behind. Overall we think this is a very cute set collection game, but does not provide enough depth for hardcore board gamers. We do think this game can be a lot of fun to play for families with kids or people who are new to board gaming, especially since the art does stand out and really fits the game. This prototype is well on it’s way to become a nice gateway game as a set collection game.

Final Thougts.

Flower Garden is a cute set collection game where you have to be the first to collect a set of flowers of the same color in your garden. There are many things that can help you blooming the flowers you need like flower rewards or plan cards for example. Or you can choose to summon a Queen in your garden. The art in this game is very cute and brightens up your table. It really fits the theme and every flower has unique art. We think this game is perfect for families with kids, or can function as a nice set collection gateway game. However, for people who have played many board games before, this game might be lacking in depth and challenge. Therefore this game also is not for us.

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