Blossoms by Rebel
Players:2 or 3
Perfect for:Players who enjoy push-your-luck games with a one-on-one paradigm and beautiful art
Blossoms is a game of risk and reward. Each player is trying to collect the biggest sets of flowers, in order to score victory points before the deck runs out, but never knowing if the next card they draw will help their cause or end their turn. Before we get into how the game is played, here’s how the publisher, Rebel, quickly summarizes the experience:
In Blossoms (original title Kwiatki), players compete to create the most beautiful flower bouquet. The longer the flowers, the higher they score!
To play Blossoms, two players (typically) set up the game—four pots, each marked with a special action, and a deck of face down flower cards comprised of six varietals. Each player receives two cards face down, and three action tokens that they can use over the course of the game. On their turn, a player first draws the top of the card of the deck and if it matches a flower growing in one of the four pots, that card is added to the stalk, increasing its value. A player can then continue drawing as many cards as they want, one at a time, or using their tokens to perform a special action. A player’s turn ends when they either a) draw a flower card for a variety that is not currently growing or b) cut one of the stalks so they can score it at the end of the game.
What works Blossoms is its simplicity and incredibly gorgeous artwork. Illustrator Bartlomiej Kordowski has done a fantastic job with his paintings of six flower types (rose, iris, tulip, poppy, sweet pea, and schizostylis) on elongated cards that are lovely to look at. There’s also a quick description of the flowers on the back of the rulebook with some trivia, which is a nice touch.
The gameplay is very easy to pick up, leaning heavily on the mechanic of pushing one’s luck combined with strategically deciding when to take which special actions. While Blossoms offers a three-person variant, the style of this game works best with two players dueling, trying to predict the other’s next move. The anticipation of drawing each card is a bit delightful as it could mean reward or the swift end of a turn. The added special actions which allow players to ignore bad luck (i.e. ending a turn when flipping a card), sneak a peek at the next three cards, draw an extra card to be added to the game at a player’s convenience, or contribute to a stalk with any type of flower.
While Blossoms is aesthetically pleasing, the level of complexity will likely be the deciding factor of enjoyment for many. Blossoms is great for teaching newer players the concept of a push your luck game but may not quite have the depth experienced gamers are seeking. The special actions help with this, but discerning players may quickly realize which ones are more valuable than others. However, the rulebook offers some variants that could help with complexity and strategy, and clever gamers may even be able to create some house rules to spice things up—we tried secretly shuffling the pots and their powers facedown after each round which worked well.
Blossoms is a simple little game that most can play in about ten minutes once the core rules are understood. If you need something quick and easy for new gamers, Blossom is great way to introduce them to the world of risk v. reward and set collection mechanics.
Recommended if you like: Yahtzee, Deep Sea Adventure, Exploding Kittens