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How To Play Flourish


It feels quite weird to be writing a How To Play for Flourish as my 100th Blog for Zatu, as my very first blog was a review of this amazing game (you can read my review here). If you haven't yet had a chance to play Flourish, make sure you do as soon as possible, but just before you do that read this blog so you know how to play.

Set Up

Each player in Flourish receives a scoring dial which they set to 0. A wall is placed in-between each player so everyone has 1 wall to their left and right. The deck of cards is shuffled and 6 cards are dealt to each player. You are now ready to start building your garden.

How To Play

On your Flourish turn you review your 6 cards and decide to keep 3 in hand, 1 to be played, pass 1 to the player on your left and 1 to the plater on your right. When you pass cards, you place them face down on the other side of the wall (therefore in your neighbours gardens). Once everyone has made their choices reveal the cards played and then collect the cards given by your neighbours. Each player is dealt another card from the deck (bringing your hand back up to 6 cards) and you play another turn.

Once the third turn of playing cards in your garden is completed you score for this round.

You then play 2 more rounds identical to the first apart from when you get to the end of the third round you do not draw new cards from the deck. After scoring the third round each player will have 5 cards left in hand. From those 5 they must choose to play 3 of them (discarding the other 2). Then they score this round before final scoring takes place.

End Round Scoring

At the end of each of the 4 rounds of Flourish you will score any cards you have just placed according to what is written at the top of the card. So, it might say 1 point per rose, in which case you will look at the whole of your garden built so far and score 1 point for each rose. If it says 6 points if you have more vines than either of your neighbours you only have to beat 1 of them (not both). Some scoring is based on how well your neighbours are playing and will give you 2 points per mushroom in one of your neighbour’s gardens as an example.

End Of Game Scoring

After the fourth round has been scored, final scoring can commence. To do this you look at the bottom of all of your cards and score the ones with scoring conditions. This may give you points for a combination of flowers, walls in your garden, walls in a neighbour’s garden, having a certain path that matches a tree and various other ways of scoring. The winner is the player with the highest number of points. Ties are broken by the player with the most unique plant symbols, then stone symbols, then finally the most end of round scoring cards.


The game can be played cooperatively where you combine everyone's scores together and compare it to a chart at the back of the rule book to see how well you did.

The game can be played with only 2 players with a few small changes to the rules. Each turn you pass 2 cards to your neighbour. Path cards now score for matching symbols in both gardens and you only ever have to compare your garden to 1 other (obviously).

There is a Garden Show variant where ribbons are awarded to players over 3 whole games. At the beginning of the game 3 ribbons are dealt to each player (discarding any duplicates) and these are displayed face up next to the players gardens. You play 3 games maintaining your score across all of the games and at the end of each game you check to see if you have won any of the ribbons. To win a ribbon your garden must have the most of the symbols shown on the ribbon (ties do not count). When you achieve this, you score 7 points and turn the ribbon over. At the end of all 3 games the player with the most points wins.

There are solo rules where you play against the ‘deck’ and at the end of the round you subtract the ‘decks’ score from your own. The rules include score targets for you to achieve.

Finally in Flourish, there is a compost variant which helps you cycle through the deck as you discard a card each turn (as well as drawing 2 new cards).


I hope this has helped you to learn the rules and how Flourish plays. Obviously, I would always recommend people use the official rule book to learn the rules in depth but this blog should give you a really good flavour of how the game flows.

I really enjoy the game and if you want to find me on twitter to discuss how brilliant Flourish is please do @boardgamehappy.