I love playing games by myself. I am in fact my own favourite foe! I didn’t start out as a solo gamer. When I fell down the amazing gaming rabbit hole, I didn’t even realise you could play board games by yourself (believe me, that would have made for a much more interesting childhood!). But due to life’s wonderful way of flip reversing things, I now divide my time between single and multiplayer experiences.
So the lovely folks at Zatu are indulging my new love and each week I get to chat briefly about a solo game I have played in the previous 7 days! And for the mostpart, my go -to solos are fast playing, synapse sizzling, and puzzly. The faster I can get them from box to table the better because, even though it is my brain’s way of decompressing, I still have to squeeze solo gaming in between everything else!
I’ll kick things off with a sure-fire solo spot hitter – FLORIFEROUS by Pencil First Games.
In FLORIFEROUS I am wandering through a garden complete with beautiful blooms. I’ve got my eye on some magnificent mums and luscious lilies. I want to collect those that will bring me the most points by end game and I get three walks around the garden to indulge myself. But not everything is rosy in the garden. The Pesky Crow is the ornithological antagonist who is intent on stealing all the cards I need!
My turn works just like multiplayer mode. I pick a Garden card (to collect that flower) or a Desire card (scoring objective) from the garden (collecting any stones on top which are great for bribing ahem I mean scaring the crow away from your cards at round end!) and then place my Gardener Pawn in its place.
Then I flip the top card from the Pesky Crow Action deck and mischief ensues! For example, Pesky Pete (yes, I named him) will swap a Garden card in the position shown for another face-down card or for stones, or it will swap a Desire card for another face-down card or for stones.
FLORIFEROUS solo is excellent – it has all the fun puzzliness of the multiplayer with a really personal sense of direct player interaction from Pesky Pete and his incredibly simple to operate automa deck. I love the light but thinky decision space and sense of push your luck as I sacrifice Garden Cards for desire goals in the hope that I’ll collect enough to make it worthwhile!
It is also gorgeous on the table. The artwork is manna for my tired soul and a feast for my worn-out eyes. 20 minutes with this little box of watercolour wonder and I feel ready to face what tomorrow has in store!