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Subject: Should You Play Arboretum? rss

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Chris Liew
Australia
Melbourne
Victoria
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How does it play?
Arboretum plays as a quick filler yet thinky card game for 2-4 players.
You are building a very beautiful arboretum by placing various colourful trees (1-8 valued) strategically. Gameplay is simple. In turns, you draw two cards (from draw deck or from any player's discard piles), plant a tree and discard another tree card.



At the end of the game, to score for a tree type, you must have the highest sum of that tree type in your hand. To determine the highest sum, simply add the card values together, EXCEPT that if another player has the 1-value card, then 8-value card counts as 0!

Once it's determined that you can score, you score your tree path orthogonally. The tree path must starts and ends with that tree type. You get bonus points when starting the path with 1-value card, ending with 8-value card and/or having >4 same tree type.

Good Stuff
thumbsupthumbsupthumbsupthumbsupthumbsup Excellent Hand Management Play : Your hand of cards has 3 purposes. As you can see, it's a balancing act that's hard to be good at. This is one of the reasons what makes this filler quite thinky. Point 1 actually reminds me a bit of another thinky filler Mottainai.
1. They represent your ability to score
2. They represent your defence against your opponent's ability to score
3. They represent your strategy of what cards to keep for building your tree path
thumbsupthumbsup Beautiful Art: Just look at the water-coloured trees. Only slightly worse than looking at real trees.
thumbsupFunny tie-breaker: Often quoted as one of the funniest and most creative tie-breakers in games. The final tie-breaker requires players to plant real trees and wait for 5 years to determine whose tree is higher.



Not-So-Good Stuff
Nothing really. Perhaps two minor areas of improvement (these are hardly anything wrong about the game) are
1. There are two tree species of which their colours are a bit too similar to each other. May or may not be confusing to some players.
2. The score pad could be improved by having matching colour coded text for trees. This could speed up scoring and would be especially useful when playing less than full player count.


So, should you play it?: :Yes!
How We Like It: Evergreen
Current Rating: 8.5
Plays prior to review: 10 plays
Latest Thought (2017) - Deserves of its positive reputation of a fantastic thinky filler. After 10 plays, it earned its status as a Evergreen keeper in our collection. I'm very keen to play with more players to see how the dynamic the gameplay is.
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Peter Barringer
United States
Evansville
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Really nice review. I bought this game two months ago, and my wife and I have already played 18 times.

Also, the two similarly colored suits aren't an issue with fewer than four players since you can discard one of them, but they were a definite source of confusion with another couple when we played with four players. Good point.
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Chris Liew
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z10n x wrote:

Also, the two similarly colored suits aren't an issue with fewer than four players since you can discard one of them, but they were a definite source of confusion with another couple when we played with four players. Good point.


That was exactly what we did when we played our 2p games. laugh
 
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Greg Darcy
Australia
Blue Mountains
New South Wales
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I agree. A great review of a great game.

I had forgotten about the colour issue. We have the game permanently split for 2 player and the similar colours are in the reject pile. I am not sure it would matter though.The leaf shape is different. Also the tree shape and name of the tree is also different. And I speak as a colour blind player.

As for the score pad... The score sheet is pretty pointless for two players.We don't use it. We just go through the trees played and score each one in turn. We use a sheet of plain paper.

The other negative is that it is extremely conducive to Analysis Paralysis.
It doesn't stop us though. We just allow extra time. It is not unusual for us to take 90 minutes to play this 30 minute game
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Peter Terry

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Are there any thinky games that don't have a problem with analysis paralysis? If so, that may be a great list.
 
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Chris Liew
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pjterry58 wrote:
Are there any thinky games that don't have a problem with analysis paralysis? If so, that may be a great list.


Perhaps along the same like, games with depth that do not necessarily induce AP?

On top of my heads of the games I played before, Harbour, Codenames, Matcha and Patchwork may fit the bill. The rationale is that while these games have depth, the choices available during player's turn are not overwhelmingly numerous, hence reducing the possibility of AP.
 
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Derek H
South Africa
Johannesburg
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Khimming wrote:
pjterry58 wrote:
Are there any thinky games that don't have a problem with analysis paralysis? If so, that may be a great list.


Perhaps along the same like, games with depth that do not necessarily induce AP?

On top of my heads of the games I played before, Harbour, Codenames, Matcha and Patchwork may fit the bill. The rationale is that while these games have depth, the choices available during player's turn are not overwhelmingly numerous, hence reducing the possibility of AP.

Are there similar thinky games that also have lots of choices, that are not subject to AP?
 
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