New fertile plants break free of their seeds and burst from the ground. With some sunshine and water, it won’t be long before they explode in a dazzling display of colour and fragrance. It’s hard to think of blooming flowers when you’re caught in the grips of a polar vortex, but Blossoms can give you and one other player a bit of Spring in the middle of Winter.
In Blossoms, two players face off to become the best flower growers around. They compete to grow and collect six different varieties of flowers, with rewards for collecting bigger plants and different types.
Blossoms is a dead simple game in the same vein as Lost Cities, Morels, or Herbaceous (although that last comparison may be more based on the subject matter than anything else).
At the start of the game, the four different pots are seeded with a flower, ensuring each one houses a different type. From the deck of 54 flower cards, each player is dealt two cards as a starting hand, and one card is secretly removed from the game. Finally, each player gets three special action tokens.
Play then alternates between the two aspiring horticulturists until the deck is exhausted. Players can do a few different things on their turn, but it always must start with a Growth action. They must draw the top card of the deck and add it to either a pot with that same type of flower, or if none exists, an empty pot. Because there are six different types of flowers and only four pots, it’s possible that there is no safe landing space for a newly drawn flower. If that’s the case, it’s considered bad luck and the card is discarded and the turn ends immediately. Now, this definitely stinks, but it’s likely going to happen to both players a few times in the game.
If they have successfully grown a flower at the start of their turn, they are safe to continue. Players can decide to push their luck and continue to draw cards, adding them to potted flowers or potentially ending their turn immediately if they have bad luck. They can also Cut one of the flowers if it’s at least two cards long, adding it to their end game score, but also ending their turn.
The last thing they can do is use one of their special tokens. Each player has three tokens to use one-time throughout the game. They can play one of their tokens on one of the four pots and gain a special ability depend on which pot they place it on. The Rake ability allows players to look at the top three cards of the deck and replace them in any order. The Water ability allows them to add a flower card to the base of a flower, extending it regardless of matching the type. The Prune ability allows players to draw a card adding it to their hand. The Fence ability offers a bit of protection. With the Fence, players are protected from the first instance of Bad Luck when drawing cards.
Aside from providing a special ability, using the tokens allows players to reserve one of the pots until their next turn. If a player’s token is on one of the pots, the other player is not allowed to Cut the flower there. At the start of their next turn, the token is removed from the game.
At the end of the game, players get points for the size of their flowers and the different variety they’ve collected over the course of the game. Because it’s such a fast game, I suggest playing best of three rounds. It’s the type of game you want to play again as soon as you’re done and it mitigates bad luck you might have on a given round.
I’m going to admit that with all the games I play, I can tend to become a bit jaded. A game like Blossoms is unlikely to make a big impression on me. Not due to anything wrong with it per se, just because I’m spoiled by the flashy new thing at the time. The more I played Blossoms, the more I started to like it and see what it had to offer. More than anything else, I’d say that’s replayability. At any given moment, life is busy and it can be hard to get certain titles to the table. Blossoms is fun and fast, and the more I’ve been playing it, the more I’m seeing the little bits of strategy hiding beneath the surface.
If you are looking for the sort of simple two-player game that you’ll get to the table a lot, Blossoms might be a good fit. If nothing else, it’ll give you a burst of colour at this grey time of year.
Blossoms is a competitive card game for two players. Rounds last 10-15 minutes. Designed by Przemysław Fornal, Kajetan Kusina, Mateusz Pitulski, Kamil Rogowski and featuring art by Bartłomiej Kordowski. Thanks to Rebel for providing a media copy for this review.