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Pumpkin Patch: Bad Seeds

Grow a patch full of scary pumpkins, spooky powers, and tasty points!

In Pumpkin Patch: Bad Seeds players take turns playing pumpkin cards on the table. You have to be strategic though, as some pumpkins score points based on the cards around them and pumpkin powers can end up shifting the cards, so you never know how things will stand on your turn.

Gameplay

In the center of the table, five pumpkin cards are placed face up: four seedlings (number one), and a baby boo (number two). Two crow cards are placed on two of the pumpkin cards. Six cards are then set aside to form the compost pile. Finally, the deck is shuffled, each player is dealt three cards, and the game begins.

On your turn, there are four phases you must go through in order. First is the play phase, during which you may play either one card from your hand or one card from the top of the compost pile, onto the table. Each stack of cards on the table represents a pumpkin patch. Cards must be played onto a patch in sequential order, so a pumpkin numbered two must be played on a one, a three must be played on a two, and so forth. Cards with the number one on them can be used to make new patches. A patch must always be adjacent to at least one other patch. Once a card is played you resolve the ability written on the card and score points. Some abilities allow you to move patches around, while others score points based on the pumpkins adjacent to it. For example, all even-numbered pumpkins are orange and odd-numbered ones are white, and some pumpkins score points based on how many pumpkins of its matching color are connected to it. If you cannot play a card legally on your turn, you discard your hand and move onto the next phase.

The next phase is the crow phase. You must move one of the crows to a new plot. A plot with a crow on it cannot have a pumpkin played onto it nor can it be moved. However, the crow does not affect scoring. Players may then discard as many of their cards as they wish, and finally draw back up to three cards. Their turn is now over.

Players continue taking turns until one of the two Cinderella pumpkins (which have a number of eight) is played, and the game ends. The player with the most points is declared the winner.

Pumpkin Patch: Bad Seeds Components

Review

Pumpkin Patch: Bad Seeds is a neat little strategic card game that comes in a tidily small package with a relatively quick play time. It takes a couple of minutes to learn, is intuitive, and has minimal downtime as turns tend to be fast.

The artwork and design on the pumpkins is fantastic and truly imaginative. Visually, Pumpkin Patch: Bad Seeds is stunning, and the quality of the cards is high and enjoyable to play with. The score card only counts up to twenty however, and can in general feel a bit fiddly.

Manipulating the cards on the table, moving patches around, and trying to get the most points out of each play allows for some interesting choices as well as opportunities to throw a wrench in your opponents’ plans. Scores tend to be close; consequently it can feel a little unfair that the Cinderella pumpkin scores you a hefty five points, as there is a lot of luck involved with who draws it, and it immediately ends the game. At least continuing until each player has had an equal number of turns feels more fair.

Pumpkin Patch: Bad Seeds has a fun theme, particularly enjoyable around the fall season, and is highly portable and light. While there may be a bit too much luck in who draws the final pumpkin cards, the game plays fast enough that this doesn’t significantly take away from the enjoyment.

Pros: Nice theme and artwork, clever card manipulation, easy to pack

Cons: Scoring card and tokens are fiddly, Cinderella pumpkin is a little too powerful given the luck that determines who draws it

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