Another two player game, the one that I mentioned in the Hanamikoji article. This one is a much simpler game, but still a very fast two player game with a cute table presence.
In Blossoms you are trying to grow and cut the best group of flowers. There are four flower pots and six different types of flowers. You start your turn always by growing a flower, drawing a card and flipping it and adding it to a pot if you can. Otherwise you bust and the turn passes. Then you can push your luck and grow some more. You also have two cards in your hand that you can use to grow the flowers as well, if they match the right type. Finally, you can always use a special ability to reserve a flower and then also give yourself some ability. If you ever cause a flower to grow over seven cards tall, it breaks and your turn ends. If you decide to cut a flower, or if you ever try and grow a flower and it isn’t one of the four types out, your turn ends. You do that going through the stack of flower cards, and whoever scores the most points, based off of the number of flowers collected and how large they are wins.
This game is very straight forward. You are basically pushing your luck, deciding how many times you want to grow the flowers and hoping not to bust before you can cut a flower. However, sometimes the first flower you draw is the one that is going to bust you and end your turn before it even gets started. There is one of the special actions that can prevent you from busting once, but with that, you can’t do that before the first flip, which has to be the first thing you do on your turn. That too me isn’t too mechanically sound, but it does balance itself out somewhat over multiple games, if you decide to play that way.
The special actions are where the real decision making comes in. It helps you in two different ways, it might allow you not to bust, look at the top 3 flower cards in the deck and arrange them, draw another card, or play a flower from your hand onto a pile that it doesn’t belong on. But it also means that until your next turn when the token comes off the other player can’t cut down that flower. So you can possibly have two well grown flowers and protect one of them for a future turn, though, your first grow might bust that time. It is a bit of a bummer though that there aren’t more pots, which have the special actions on them, than the four that come with the game. They could have easily done six or eight pots total and ended up with a game that has more variety and strategy, because the strategy is going to generally stay the same between games because the special powers don’t change.
There’s another downside downside, that is basically you’re only real decision. Otherwise you are just pushing your luck, and if you push too far, you get nothing. Or, it might be that you and the person you are playing against do the mandatory grow action and bust several times in a row so you’re just burning through cards and nothing is happening in the game. I do think with the scoring though, it does encourage you to push your luck, because a stack of two flowers is worth a single point, but a stack of six flowers being cut at once is worth fifteen points. That helps create a bit of tension in a game that is otherwise pretty straightforward and just pretty to look at on the table.
Overall, this is a decent game. It doesn’t offer much tension or a ton of difficult decisions. It does look really nice on the table, and the card board pots and the plant cards are really well done. I like the nice big card size as well. They say that you can play without the special powers to make the game simpler, but it’s already quite simple, so I wouldn’t do that. It also is easy to teach, which means that you can play it with non-gamers easier than some other games as well.
Overall Grade: C+
Gamer Grade: D
Casual Grade: B
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