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Flourish

RRP: £44.99
Now £39.79(SAVE 11%)
RRP £44.99
Expected Release Date 01/04/2024
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Flourish is a beautiful, card-drafting, garden-building game in which players plan and build the garden of their dreams over the course of the growing season. With delightful imagery, players plan their gardens throughout the game to collect the most points. This easy-to-learn game offers both competitive strategy and co-operative game modes, and a 1-7 player count provides a high l…
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Category Tags , , SKU ZBG-STG2800EN Availability Available to Pre-Order
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Awards

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Clever drafting with limited information
  • Beautiful Artwork
  • Quick and engaging gameplay
  • Multiple way of scoring

Might Not Like

  • Too much content for a card drafting game
  • Too much cardboard with the Follies expansion
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Description

Flourish is a beautiful, card-drafting, garden-building game in which players plan and build the garden of their dreams over the course of the growing season. With delightful imagery, players plan their gardens throughout the game to collect the most points.

This easy-to-learn game offers both competitive strategy and co-operative game modes, and a 1-7 player count provides a high level of accessibility and replayability.

I love my garden, the flowers, bushes, manicured paths, the beautiful lawn. However, my neighbours also love their gardens and I worry that they love their gardens just a little bit more. In a perfect world, I could pass to them my plants and walls that just don’t work in my garden and gratefully receive their unwanted flowers and statues that might just make all the difference. In Flourish (by Starling Games) this becomes reality in a very clever and unique drafting game for 1 to 7 players from James A Wilson (creator of Everdell) and his wife Clarissa A Wilson.

The Setup

In the basic version of Flourish, you place a garden wall in-between all players and shuffle the deck of cards. 6 cards are dealt with all players from which everyone must pass 1 card to the player on their left, 1 to the player on their right and place 1 in their garden (a 3 by 4 grid). The cards passed to your neighbours are placed on their side of the wall and your card is placed at the next available slot of your grid. All cards are placed face down and then everyone reveals the cards placed in their gardens.

You then collect the 2 cards placed on your side of the garden walls and 1 more from the deck bringing your total back up to 6. You repeat this process twice before the first scoring phase activates. Then play two more rounds exactly the same, with another scoring phase for each, before a final round in which you do not take another card from the deck and instead place 3 final cards in your garden out of a choice of the 5 in your hand. Final scoring for that round is then calculated and then any cards with the end of game scoring are added.

I Love This Game

Each card offers clever ways of scoring not only from your own garden, but some cards also score from your neighbours on either side of you. This leads to some crafty drafting as you deliberately pass cards to your neighbours knowing it will score big for you by the end of the game. Cards can score for the round in which they are played, at the end of the game or both. Games are quick with everyone involved at the same time so there is no downtime. The box says 20 minutes duration and I would say that is right on the money. However, this game never comes out for only 1 play as we normally just shuffle the cards and go again.

The Component Quality

The artwork in Flourish is beautiful (art by April Borchelt, Naomi Robinson, Christina Qi and Dann May) and the iconography is very easy to teach and remember. The component quality is exceptional but maybe slightly over the top for what is essentially a very clever limited information drafting card game. This brings me to one other slightly negative point which is content. I very rarely say this but there is too much in this game. The game caters for 1 to 7 players but in reality, the game really sings for 3 to 7 players.

You can play the game cooperatively, but I didn’t find that half as much fun as the competitive mode. There is a Garden Show Variant (played over 3 games with special end of game achievements up for grabs) and a Compost variant (a way of digging through the deck). Finally, there are two expansions including Friends and Follies. The friend’s expansions provide a secret scoring card to help you focus on certain areas of your garden, whilst the Follies expansion seems to do not much more than provide a lot of cardboard pieces and some scoring opportunities. You could just play the game with the deck of cards which would keep the costs down, however, the game does offer something for everyone.

Final Thoughts

I always judge a game by how many plays it gets and this is where the game scores high. The replayability is so high because each card is unique. I have played Flourish over 100 times with my family, and we all love it. The box says ages 8 and up but I would suggest players over the age of 10 would be better suited.

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.

Variants

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).

Conclusion

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.

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Clever drafting with limited information
  • Beautiful Artwork
  • Quick and engaging gameplay
  • Multiple way of scoring

Might not like

  • Too much content for a card drafting game
  • Too much cardboard with the Follies expansion