Get the Best View of the Garden Sculptures in Topiary | Casual Game Revolution

Get the Best View of the Garden Sculptures in Topiary


The garden is full of beautiful greenery shaped into sculptures. But whose meeples will have the most amazing view of the garden?

Topiary is a tile laying game in which players compete to manipulate the board so that their meeples have the prime view. Move tiles around, block opponents’ views, and see whose day in the garden beats out all the others!


The tiles are laid out in a five by five grid, facedown, with the exception of the middle tile which is kept face up. Each tile shows a tree sculpture: they come in eight different types and are numbered one to five. Players then choose a player color and take the matching meeples. Each player is also dealt a hand of three sculpture tiles. Any remaining tiles are returned to the box.

On your turn you must place one of your meeples. When placing a meeple it must be put along the outer edge of the grid. You place it so that it has a line of sight either down a column or row of the grid, or along a diagonal line of tiles.

After you place a meeple, you may choose to pick up one face down tile that is within that meeple's line of sight, and take it into your hand. You then place a tile in the now empty space face up (you may play the tile you just picked up if you choose).

Once each player has placed all their meeples, the game ends and players calculate their scores.

Each of your meeples score points based on the face up sculptures in its line of sight. Starting from your meeple you count the points on each tile in its line of sight that is not blocked by another tile. A tile is considered blocked if a sculpture of equal or greater point value is between it and the meeple attempting to view it. Each meeple also scores additional points if there are two or more unblocked sculptures of a matching type within its line of sight. Finally, each player scores points for the tiles in their hand, if at least one of their meeples on the board can see a matching sculpture type of a higher value.

Topiary Components


Topiary plays quite quickly, with minimal downtime. The rules are easy to learn and turns are fast but players still always have engaging choices to make every turn and some light strategy to consider.

There’s a surprising amount of take-that elements, as players claim rows that would be useful to others, and swap out facedown tiles to block others' line of sight. This is particularly the case in the higher player counts where each player has fewer meeples under their control, and therefore there’s a lot more pushing and shoving for prime locations. This back and forth on the rows and player interaction is where the fun of the game lies. You have to balance predicting your opponents' moves with a certain push-your-luck element if you want to set up high scoring lines of sculptures.

The game’s scoring system is a bit clunky, simply because the rest of the game is so fast and it takes a bit of time to check every single meeple’s line of sight, the sculpture tiles and types shown on them, and then each player’s hand. If the scoring went more quickly, it would be tempting to keep transitioning into another game.

A couple of the sculptor types are also a bit hard to distinguish, however the game’s artwork is enjoyable and the meeples are fantastic. A particularly nice addition is the inclusion of wheelchair meeples.

Topiary is light and colorful, has a unique theme, and blends its tile laying with light elements of strategy and take-that in a satisfying way. While the scoring system may be clunky, it by no means prevents enjoyment of the game, and some engaging strategy does arise from the scoring options.

Pros: Fast gameplay, good player interaction, inclusion of wheelchair meeples

Cons: A couple of the tile types are difficult to distinguish, scoring is a little clunky

Disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.