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Floriferous

From daisies to butterflies, ladybugs to poppies, collect beautiful arrangements in your garden and maybe enjoy a nice cup of tea.

Published by Pencil First Games, Floriferous is a light set collection card game for one-to-four players that plays in about twenty minutes.

Gameplay

The garden deck is shuffled and five columns are dealt out into the display. Each column has cards equal to the number of players. Two of the cards in the top row are dealt face-down, while all other cards are kept visible, and stone tokens are placed on certain cards based on their position in the display. Next, the desire cards are shuffled, and a row of them are dealt out to the bottom of the display. Each player chooses a pawn. Turn order is randomized, and the player to go first places his pawn on the left-hand side next to the top row in the display. Each other player, in turn order, places their pawns in the next rows down.

A game of Floriferous is divided into three ‘days’, with each day consisting of five rounds. Each round, the players take turns based on their position in the current column, going from top to bottom. On your turn, you take a card from the next column, be it a garden card or desire card, place it in front of yourself face-up, take any stone that was on it, and then move your pawn into the empty spot you just created in that column. It is now the next player’s turn. Players continue to do this for all five rows.

There are three types of garden cards: flowers, sculptures, and arrangements. Flowers come in one of five types and one of five colors. Some flower cards will also have a little bug on them — there are five types of bugs in the game. For sculpture cards, the player with the most at the end of the game will earn five points, the player with the second most will earn three points, and the player with the third most will earn one point. Finally, arrangement cards list three features found on flower cards (a type, a color, and a bug). You earn more points based on whether you manage to collect one, two, or all three of these features. One flower card can count towards multiple features for these arrangements.

After players have collected cards from the fifth column, they check the three bounty cards that are randomly dealt at the start of the game. Each bounty card requires three specific features (it is always some mixture of flower type and/or bugs). If you have collected all three features required by a card (and they must be spread out across three separate flower cards) then you may place a flower token of your player color on it to score it. You may only score each bounty card once and more than one player may score the same bounty card. You earn more points for scoring it on earlier ‘days’.

Next, you refill the display, but leave your pawns on the far right in the same row order that you ended on. You then begin again, moving right to left, with turn order still going from top to bottom according to your positions in the columns. Once you have completed the second day, you play a third and final day moving once again from left to right.

After day three, you count up how many stone tokens each player has collected. The player with the most wins the cup of tea card. This is worth two points. Each set of two stones is also worth one point. Players also score points for any desire cards they collected. There are desire cards for flowers, colors, and bugs. Some score a set number of points for each card you have featuring a specific one of these, while some score exponential points based on the number you have collected of a specific feature or for collecting different types of these features.

Everyone adds up the points they have earned, and the player with the most points wins the game.

Floriferous Components

Review

Floriferous is a surprisingly nuanced set collection game. The rules are easy to teach and the gameplay is accessible, but the strategy is layered and choices are kept interesting. Balancing turn order, what cards are available on future columns, and what scoring cards you’ve collected, all tie together into fun and engaging turns.

Player interaction comes from the turn order which can be so important, as players take cards you need and you need to reevaluate your plans. Part of what makes Floriferous so much fun to play, however, is there is almost always something useful you can do on your turn.

Its theme is fairly laid back, and consequently may not appeal to all players. However, the artwork is, in typical Pencil First fashion, absolutely beautiful — and the components, particularly the card quality, does it justice.

Turns play fairly fast, and the playtime of the game hits just the right balance of twenty minutes: plenty of time to build up a nice collection of cards, but not so long as to drag. The iconography is easy to understand, helping to make the game easy to learn and without requiring lots of referencing of the rulebook.

Floriferous is engaging and subtle. The strategies are there but weaved elegantly throughout the gameplay and cards, resulting in a satisfying game.

Pros: Component quality and artwork, scoring varies based on what cards you draft, good game length

Cons: Theme will not appeal to everyone, minimal direct player interaction

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