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Subject: Maybe not the game you thought it was... rss

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Robert Sanders
Israel
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I'm not going to mention the P-word until much later in the review, no, I'm talking theme. I bought this game thinking about planting my very own bucolic cottage garden. How wrong I was - I'm planting out other people's gardens, getting paid and then told in no uncertain words to clear off, so off I trundle with my wheelbarrow off to another job.



*

Overview
:

This game is all about choices - a move consists of picking a polyomino (tetrisy like thing) of flowers or gardenny stuff and putting it in one of the two gardens you're working on. You'll always have a choice of 2-4 tiles to use or you may even want to pick up a flower pot fill an awkward gap. When a garden is full you'll get paid (usually) a point for every flower pot in the garden and 2 points for every planting bell. You then choose how to allocate your points with various scoring cubes to try and maximise your wage, sorry, points.

In amongst all these relaxing options you can mess abit, a very small bit, with your oponents, by taking a piece they might have wanted from the nursery, options grip. However, at most they may just be a little miffed, then they'll be back to all their lovely options again.

You can even used drugged up cats to fool the garden owner that you've filled a spot in their garden. They're great, drugged up cats! They'll never move, but like the best things in life there's only a limited supply.

Gameplay Feel:

This is really a smooth, pleasant game. You'll have a few decisions to make, but you're never overloaded with paths to take. Generally, you'll be presented with a bad option or two and a good option or two. Usually, the right move will be obvious. Jobs, I mean gardens, will come and go then suddenly you'll realize you've got to finish the last gardens and get home to put you're feet up.

I've never found a game to be won or lost by more than a few points, but this is not a table-flipping candidate by any stretch of the imagination.

Negatives:

Well, you can probably see that this game treads a fine line between calm and soporific, between relaxing and just bland. Sometimes plain chocolate ice cream is great, but sometimes you'd like a bit of marshmallow thrown in, know what I mean?

Interaction is also at a bit of a premium. It happens, in theory, but it feels a bit lacklustre. I guess for some people the fact you can never really damage your oponent is a good thing, but you don't want to forget they're at the table with you. The Royal Horticultural Chelsea Flower Show is more cutthroat than this.

Game is good for:

Gateway game
- yeah, I can see this working for some, but be careful, I can also see this put people off gaming if they're looking for excitement.
Switch brain off game - here it can shine. Switch on the reggae, take some of what you've been slipping the cats and enjoy.

Patchwork for 3-4 players? - Finally the P-word. I adore Patchwork. This is not Patchwork. "Uwe, where did you lose me?" was a question I really pondered over, agonised over, and finally I think I saw the light. It wasn't interactivity, it wasn't excitement, Patchwork isn't filled with either of those. My conclusion, I wish I had my own garden!** Seriously, at the end of Patchwork I have my quilt; I really like Isle of Skye and at the end of that I've built my own kingdom; similarly Suburbia. I've not played Barenpark, but I think it immediately has an advantage coz' at the end you have your own, um, barenpark. I usually find in Cottage Garden I'm heading into endgame with two gardens with 2 or less tiles in each, and that's really part of the game. I didn't accept this should be counted as a negative as I never would have thought of this if it wasn't for Patchwork, but for a game built around bucolic imagery I feel it really missed a beat here.

To sum up, this is a game I wanted to love. It's a good game, an interesting game, and nay you can even have fun playing it, but in a hobby that can ignite passion in people, this feels a bit vanilla. Sorry Cottage Garden, it's not you, it's me.

* https://boardgamegeek.com/image/3315169/cottage-garden Thanks to Spencer C for the image
**copyright SU&SD Food Chain Magnate review (incidentally, one of the best board game reviews ever)

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Wolfram Troeder
Germany
Bruchkoebel
Hessen
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Boardgaming is not a matter of life or death...
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robs42 wrote:
Switch brain off game - here it can shine. Switch on the reggae, take some of what you've been slipping the cats and enjoy.


However if you switch it on you may plan ahead where the jolly green giant is the next times it is your turn, what piece will be available, what piece can not be taken until then, if and when to sacrifice a cat to refill, plan the endgame
Endless possibilties.
For me there is no middle ground with this game, it's either easy listening or brainburning cutthroat.
Best with 3, IMNSHO ;-)
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Dwayne Hendrickson
United States
Oklahoma City
Oklahoma
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Sorry Cottage Garden, it's you. Yeah, it really is you. Adios, Cottage Garden.
 
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