Down The Rabbit hole
Time for tea? Change places! Yes, we're off to Wonderland to tend to the Queen's plants. Get the mix of plants and Chessmen down, and make sure to play your cards right or else... off with your head in Alice's Garden!
Curiouser And Curiouser
In this delightful, Wonderland themed game, you must plant the best garden for the Queen of Hearts, drawing Tetris style tiles (4 adjoining squares) and taking turns to place, with different pieces scoring according to their final positions: Chessmen on the tiled path, pairs of mushrooms 🍄🍄, rows of trees 🌲 and groups of roses 🌹. Any gaps in the final garden will lose your points but luckily Gardeners 🃏 give you extra single square tiles in the endgame if placed adjacent to one another - just make sure you don't have any left over or... Well, we already know what the queen will do!
We're All Mad Here
Alice's Garden is a really lovely game, lots of fun and we were all certainly taken with it. It's not dissimilar to other such polyomino games - we were immediately reminded of Patchwork Doodle - but is a bit more intuitive, particularly when it comes to scoring. It can be a little tricky for younger players to focus on a single strategy, as they'll often rush to fill the garden, and then end up either with odd gaps or sub-par groups (like allllll the mushrooms, when only a pair scores); it's good to guide them towards a specific strategy, such as filling the chessboard or building a rose garden (though not more than 5 orthogonal squares thereof).
Eat Me, Drink Me
Now, it's very compact - pleasantly portable, which is great but you have to balance this with the fact that it can be tricky for older adults and the visually impaired: the grandparents were keen to try it but found it problematic in that regard. Also, I could perhaps nitpick and say that the box could actually be slightly smaller and therefore make it even MORE compact - it's SLIGHTLY too big for even my winter jacket pocket - but there's a shelf-presence tradeoff there.
We Called Him A Tortoise, Because He Taught Us
Nevertheless, the component quality in Alice's Garden is very good. I love the Mad Hatter's hat as a first player token, and the bags for the pieces are great quality, whilst the boards are compact and clear. Generally, great weight, nice high GSM with a gloss finish on all components. I love the artwork, though as noted my parents found some of the patterns slightly too similar - I don't get it myself but then I am a sprightly 40something.