Title: A Gentle Rain
Designed By: Kevin Wilson
Art By: Chris Bilheimer
Published By: Mondo Games
Player Count: 1
Time to Play: 15 Minutes
If you have been reading our reviews lately, you will notice we have been on a relaxing game kick. With how busy and stressful the world is, we have loved getting to sit back and take a moment to breathe and have some fun. A Gentle Rain fits this niche perfectly. This compact solo game from Mondo Games has everything you could want in a game designed to put your mind at peace. It's beautiful, has great quality components, can be learned super fast, and is small enough to be taken on the go (fair warning, for a little box, you will need a lot of tablespace to play).
A Gentle Rain has some suggestions to get you in the mood to be relaxed while playing. It recommends putting on comfy clothes (a recommendation we are all for), playing some soft music, or making a cup of your favorite tea. Once you feel at ease, take a big breath in and let it out. You are now ready to set up the game.
Place the 8 blossom tokens off to the side, but make sure they are visible.
Shuffle the tile and create a face-down stack.
Flip one tile over. This will be your starting tile.
You are now ready to start.
How to Play:
The goal of A Gentle Rain is to create blossoms by getting all 8 types of lilies to bloom before the rain ends. Each turn you will be doing the following:
Flip over a tile from the stack and attempt to connect it with matching colored flowers.
A tile can only be placed in a location where any side of the new tile that is adjacent to another tile, has a matching flower (think like in dominos). As the tiles have four sides, it is technically possible (though not probable) that you could place a tile in the middle of four other tiles. Most times you will be aiming to match maybe one or two sides.
If you cannot place a tile that you have drawn, discard it.
Each time you complete a square of four connected tiles, a lily blooms in the opening created in the middle of the tiles. You can choose one of the blossom tokens that match any of the four flowers surrounding the opening. If you no longer have an available matching lily, no flower is placed.
The game ends when the last lily is placed, or you run out of tiles. If you run out of tiles, the amount of lily's you placed is your score. If you place all the lilies, count up any remaining unused tiles, and add 8 to it (for the lilies placed), that is your score.
Everything about A Gentle Rain is designed to put the player in a good headspace, there is even a suggestion in the rulebook that you can play just for fun and not keep score. We have played this game so many times since it came in the mail and it will absolutely be continuing to return to the table. It is one of the best solo games we have played in a while. A Gentle Rain is a perfect way to wind down after a long day or to wake your brain up in the morning. It makes for a great lunch break game too. For those who love multitasking, A Gentle Rain is easy to play while listening to an audiobook or podcast or catching up on your favorite show. A Gentle Rain plays in 15 minutes or less, so it makes getting a game in super easy, even when you are short on time.
The simplicity of A Gentle Rain is one of the best parts of the game. While the rules are easy to understand, you will be surprised at how much thought you can put into trying to optimize the tile you are placing. Also, as you only have one of each colored Lilly token, deciding which of your available options to pick from when placing a blossom, can really impact how well you do later on. If you are feeling particularly strategic you can try and do some math to figure out which odds are best, or you can go for the free-spirit method of which looks prettiest where you are placing it. In the spirit of the game, we recommend the latter option.
We would absolutely recommend A Gentle Rain for players looking for a calm, light game that they can play on their own. For those who want to play cooperatively with a friend, there is a variant that allows you to do that.