Tiptoe Through the Tulips
Blossoms is a small card game from Rebel that pits two players against each other in the cut-throat world of competitive flower arranging. Utilizing a simple push-your-luck mechanism, along with a few special powers that each player can use a limited number of times each round, your goal is to grow flowers as tall as possible before cutting them and adding them to your personal bouquet. Does this game take you somewhere that’s green, or should you avoid feeding the plants?
Grow For Me
I’ve used the phrase “lovely little game” in the past, but Blossoms is the very personification of it. The game is played using a deck of cards full of various pastel-colored flowers, making for a really warm and welcoming feel. You place the flower cards above cardboard flower pots, making it look as if the flowers are growing from the pots.
Once the game is all set up the gameplay is very simple. Your goal is to collect a more valuable bouquet than your opponent. At the beginning of their turn, each player is required to take a “Grow” Action by drawing a card from the deck and see if it can be legally placed in one of the flower pots. Flowers can be placed in empty pots or added to the potted flowers of the same type, giving the impression that the flower is “growing.” If neither of these can be done the player “busts” and their turn is over. Otherwise, their turn continues on.
Assuming you didn’t bust, you then have some options to execute on your turn. You can take the previously mentioned “Grow” action again to try and grow some flowers even taller, at the risk of busting, you can take a “Cut” action which allows you to collect one of the stacks of cards on the table for your bouquet and ending your turn, you can take a “Plant” action by playing a card from your hand instead of the deck, or you can take a special action by spending one of your three action tokens.
This is where some deeper thinking may be required. A different special action is printed on each of the four flower pots. Placing your token on one of these pots lets you execute the special action shown on that pot and it prevents your opponent from cutting the flower growing from that pot on their next turn. This is an incredibly useful tool and sometimes the special action can actually be secondary to preventing your opponent from possibly taking a stack of 5 or 6 cards and the wealth of points that come with it.
Don’t get me wrong, the special actions themselves are not useless. They allow you to do various things like adding more cards to your hand, ignoring a bust on your turn, allowing you to plant a non-matching flower underneath a stack to make it bigger or even rearranging the top few cards of the deck in any order you want. One of my favorite and most devious tactics is using this to rearrange the cards so my opponent has no choice but to bust on their first turn allowing me to play again immediately, a surprisingly insidious maneuver for such a cute little game.
Play continues back and forth until the deck is depleted and each player has had an equal number of turns. You score one point for each different type of flower in your bouquet in addition to the points from each set, based on how big the set is. For example, a flower two cards tall is only worth 1 point, whereas a flower six cards tall is worth a whopping 15. While you can end the game after just one round, I highly recommend the longer game variant, which is simply just three rounds, the highest total at the end of the three rounds has the green thumb and is the winner of the game.
Some Fun Now
Blossoms is a two-player game that I think is going to be perfect for many people. Despite some devious tactics that I mentioned earlier, this game won’t leave a thorn in your side like other more cut-throat two-player games sometimes do. In addition to the pleasing art style, the ruleset is so easy to teach you’ll be playing with someone new in just minutes. The 20-minute estimate on the box is actually accurate, which is rare, and after a few plays, you’ll be playing even faster than that.
Push-your-luck games can be rather hit and miss with me, but Blossoms hits the mark. Busting doesn’t feel as devastating as it can feel in other games of the genre. It‘s going to happen to both players multiple times, especially over the course of three rounds, but the game is so snappy it never really feels like one bad draw will ruin you. It can even be a little humorous when it happens back to back, with both players being unable to take a full turn.
The decision to continue growing and risk busting, or to cut a stem and run can be a little nerve-wracking. The swing in points of adding one more card to a stack could be the difference-maker at the end of the game, but cutting a flower also opens up a pot for your opponent and all but guarantees they won’t bust on their first draw. Balancing that risk-reward system is crucial to playing well.
While the game may not be for everyone, some just aren’t going to like the theme and others aren’t going to like the push-your-luck mechanics just by their very nature, for me it‘s breezy play style and the inviting artwork makes it very appealing. If you have a significant other and need a lighter two-player game for both of you to enjoy, or maybe you just need a side game to play at a meetup while waiting for another game to open up, Blossoms is well worth your attention.
Final Score: 8/10
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AKA “The Board Game Mole”
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