Designed By: Eduardo Baraf, Steve Finn, and Keith Matejka
Art By: Clémentine Campardou and Kim Robinson
Published By: Pencil First Games, LLC
Released: Coming to Kickstarter 2021
Player Count: 1-4
Time to Play: 20-30 Minutes
Spring has sprung in NYC and what better way to celebrate than by enjoying a beautiful garden. Now I know what a lot of you may be thinking, but Jacqueline, what about allergies? Not to worry, for anyone looking to appreciate flowers while still being able to breathe this spring, I have just the game for you! Floriferous will get your flower fix indoors. Floriferous is the newest game from Pencil First Games, the makers of Herbaceous, and will be coming to Kickstarter in Mid-March 2021.
In this uber relaxing game set collection game, players will stroll their cardboard gardens and collect flowers, capture bugs, enjoy statues and try to stop a pesky crow from taking all the stones.
Shuffle the garden cards and layout your garden according to the player count (2, 3, or 4 rows matching the player count with 5 cards per row). In the 1st row, the 2nd and the 4th cards should be face down, all other cards will be face up. Put the remaining garden cards to the side.
Shuffle the desire cards and layout 5 underneath the garden (one under each column) essentially adding another row to your garden. Place the remaining desire cards to the side.
Place stones on the garden cards according to your player count setup.
Pick 3 random bounty cards and put them face up above the garden, the remaining bounty cards can be returned to the box.
Place the cup of tea near the bounty cards.
Have each player take a gardener pawn and their matching three flower tokens.
Decide on a starting player, and have this player put their gardener pawn at the topmost row of the garden. In clockwise order have each other player put their gardener pawn in the next row.
You are now ready to play!
How to Play:
Floriferous is played over 3 days with 5 rounds taking place each day. During each day players will collect different cards to score points during and at the end of the game. There are several different kinds of cards you can collect:
Flower cards - there are 5 different types of flower cards that come in five different colors. These flowers may or may not have a bug on them. There are five different types of bugs that could potentially be on a flower.
Arrangement cards - these cards have three different aspects shown on them. The more of these matching aspects you have in your collected flowers at the end of the game, the more points you score.
Sculpture cards - these cards score points at the end of the game based on whoever has the most sculptures.
Desire cards - these cards award points at the end of the game for meeting the specific requirement shown on the card.
At the start of each day the player who has their gardener pawn at the highest row of the garden will go first. They move their pawn to one of the garden or desire cards available in the next column and collect it. If there is a stone on a card, the player collects the stone as well. Players continue taking turns based on row order until each player has selected a card and new spot. Then the process begins again for round two with the highest player in the row starting first. Continue this until 5 rounds have been completed.
At the end of each day, players will do two things, check to see if they scored any bounty cards, and then do the cleanup phase. Bounty cards show three requirements. If a player has all three of those requirements on their flower cards, they score points according to what day they achieved this objective. The earlier in the game the bounty is claimed the more points it is worth. Player's place a flower token on the bounty card on the day it was completed.
The cleanup phase involves clearing all unclaimed cards from that day from the garden. New cards will be laid out in the same format as on the first day. Players then begin the new day, this time moving from right to left.
The process is repeated once more on the third and final day (moving left to right once more) and then the game ends and it is time for scoring.
During scoring, points are awarded as follows:
Cup of tea- whoever has the most stones gets the cup. It is worth two points.
Arrangement cards - score 1/3/5 points for meeting 1/2/3 conditions.
Desire cards - score points according to the condition shown on the card.
Sculpture cards - score 5/3/1 points based on who has the most of them.
Stones - score 1 point for every two stones (rounded down)
Bounty cards - score the number of points indicated on the day the bounty was met.
Whichever player has the most total points wins.
For a competitive game, Floriferous has to be one of the most relaxing board games we have ever played. There is just something so peaceful about playing. It really does feel like a lovely stroll through a garden. The pace of the game even fits the tranquil theme.
What makes Floriferous a joy to play is that there are so many different paths a player can take to victory. Ultimately, Floriferous is a set collection game, but depending on what winds up in the garden, players may choose to go for public goals, individual goals, goals related to color, flower type, or bugs. Players are drafting their own goals along the way so they need to strategize when it is better to take a goal or when it is better to select a card that meets one of the goals they already have. The face-down mystery cards also add a subtle amount of randomness, as players can go for the known card, which they may or may not need, or risk it for a mystery card which will hopefully help them more than the other choice.
One other aspect of gameplay that we really enjoyed is that players need to factor in where they will wind up in turn order the following round into their current choice of card. Should the card they really want be in the following column, players may opt for a less ideal card that round in order to get a higher turn order for the future round. There are so many interesting choices that players have each turn, that you can try a variety of strategies to attempt to win.
The solo mode, which is included in the game does a fantastic job of using an AI to make a game by yourself into a fun challenge. The pesky guest that you play against, who is a crow that really loves stones, proves a tough opponent and makes you want to keep trying to beat him. The solo mode is really well designed and makes playing Floriferous by yourself just as fun as if you were playing with others.
While we have a prototype copy, the components are still simply amazing and beautiful. The box has gorgeous wrap-around art, the color scheme is springy and bright, and the flowers themselves make us dream of the sunny days ahead. All the components are premium from the cool-shaped gardener pawns, to the screen-printed flowers, to the insert to keep everything organized. There are handy reference cards to use during play too, that show the different card aspects, an overview of a turn and the end of a day, and a scoring guide. These are super helpful for needing to reference the rules less while initially learning the game.
If we haven't sold you on Floriferous just yet, one last thing we want to mention is that if you back Floriferous on Kickstarter, all backers will get a free mini-expansion called Early Spring, that will not be included in retail versions of the game. Early Spring adds special actions that a player can use at the start of their turn to manipulate the garden or learn about hidden cards. It adds a little extra strategy to Floriferous while fitting in perfectly with the theme.
For people looking for a lightweight, relaxing game with really pretty art, I cannot recommend Floriferous enough.