Left to my own devices, I would consume an exclusively beige diet. Even the limited fruits and veggies I eat inhabit the yellow spectrum exclusively; overripe bananas, butternut squash, potatoes of all varieties, and crisp sweetcorn. For me, carbs are on every level of my food pyramid. But, when it comes to gaming, the more colourful the better. Particularly when playing solo. Having something to enchant my eye as well as my brain is a sure fire way to keep me satisfied. And the gorgeous watercolour illustrations and puzzly play in Delicious do not disappoint on either front.
To be fair, I sort of knew it was going to go down a treat. Being a huge fan of Floriferous solo (even more so than multiplayer!), I was expecting Delicious to be a beautifully crafted, quick playing, light but crunchy solo-able puzzle. And that’s exactly what it has turned out to be. But, instead of flower themed card based set collection, the gameplay in Delicious is flip and write placement optimisation. And anybody who knows me knows I am addicted to the roll/flip and write mech. So Delicious is, well, even more delicious!
Solitaire Or Solo?
Interestingly, because of the multiplayer solitaire based play of the game, there are two ways to play Delicious solo. You can either play “no interruption” which is the same set up and play as the regular game on a BYOS basis (just without race-based, first player to fill a planter bonuses). Or you can play against the Pesky Crow. And, if you have played Floriferous, then you’ll know just how pesky that bird can be!
Stone The Crow
The Pesky Crow is a puzzle busting pest! I don’t know how it does it, but it always seems to know what I want and stops me from getting it or doing it.
Starting in the suitcase planter in the top garden, the Crow meeple moves counter-clockwise each round, stopping at the next “major area” i.e. into the bottom garden, then the fruitery, and then back to the top garden again. If it is perched in a planter (it always chooses the one with the most veggies drawn inside it), it means that I can’t place veggies in there that round. And if it is in the fruitery, I can’t drop any sweet treats in there either.
In solo mode there is the option of forcing the Crow off a planter if the card and token for that round would be perfect for the spot it has landed. But scaring it off costs a fruit already placed in the fruitery. And that is likely to mess up point scoring potential in a given row and/or column.
These additional placement restrictions are on top of the regular planting rules. For me, the extra layer of crunch is excellent and really adds something a little meatier to the puzzly experience.
I love playing Delicious solo. I enjoy the push-your-luck feeling of choosing where to place fruits and veggies. And knowing that there are only 12 pairs of cards in any game means mitigating the luck factor through savvy use of bonuses and limited action selection. But the Pesky Crow solo mode is where this game shines brightest for me. And, strange though it may sound, it actually feels more interactive than when playing multiplayer solitaire against other real people. I think it is because the Crow physically blocks off sections of my own sheet which doesn’t happen when playing with my husband – he has no influence over my choices. Okay, I might cast an eye over his sheet to see how close he is from gaining a first player planter bonus or the Honey Jar card. But generally we are each playing our own game independent of one another. The Crow, on the other hand, is all up in my gardening business! Meddling and interrupting my planting plans. And I really like that.
Plus, in solo mode, nobody else seems my terrible attempts at drawing the fruits and veggies I pick! Drawing them is all part of the fun of course, and the process adds to the calm, quiet nature of this “artful” game. But I think I can safely say that I won’t be winning any prizes for my artistic talents (or lack thereof).
Once again, Eduardo Baraf and Steve Finn have designed a game that turns me into a greedy gamer who doesn’t like to share! Don’t get me wrong; I will always happily play Delicious with anyone. But playing solo against the Pesky Crow is how I like to enjoy Delicious the most!