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Subject: Impression After First Two Plays... rss

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William Smith
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Love it.

This isn't a full-blown review but just a quick reaction after my family having played this game two times together.

First, a little background...
I've been married to my wife for 25 years(next week!) and she has always loved gardening...she even put in a "cottage garden" in our side yard recently. Only in the last couple of years has her hobby become mine as well(I used to poo poo it but now I enjoy it too). When I was browsing YouTube and I saw reviews for a game called "Cottage Garden", I had to show my wife. Usually she is willing to try a new game here and there with me but this was a theme she was actually enthusiastic about. Our two worlds collided...gardening and boardgames.

The day that the game arrived, we took the game out on the deck next to the actual cottage garden and got ready to play. I didn't even ask our sons(19,13 and 10) if they wanted to play with us because they'd been laughing at the theme ever since they saw us watching YouTube videos about the game. However, watching my wife punch out the cardboard bits, my 13 year old circled around with curiosity and then said "Can I play?". Well, he ended up beating my wife and I in a very tight game and all of us LOVED the game. The "Tetris-ey" nature of the game plus the whimsical theme just came together to make a very unique experience. We enjoyed the many strategic options available on your turn and the "Parasol" mechanism was brilliant...it really sped things up and mitigated the "AP" issue as players could "try out" pieces on their boards during other players' turns.

Well, as we were playing that first game our younger and older son came out to the deck to see what we were up too. At first glance they both said "no thanks" and went back into the house to play videogames. But, sheepishly, they both returned near the end of the game to take another look and although it was almost time for dinner, they begged for a chance at a second game. We agreed to reconvene for a second play in the evening. I sat out the second game but watched the game and brought the two new players up to speed. I noticed that on the second play my middle child and wife were much more thoughtful with their choices, as experience with the game makes you more familiar with the pieces and how to maximize your points. That being said, my 19 year old trounced everyone because he just seems to have a knack for "puzzling out" games like this and seeing opportunities where others(including myself) miss them. One thing we all particularly liked was the choice involved in how your advance your scoring cubes(Orange for Flower Pots, Blue for Plant Covers)...it added a neat little tactical layer to the game.

As a final impression, I have to say that I loved how all five members of my family enjoyed playing the game...even those of us who lost. My wife is pretty competitive(one of the reasons, by her own admission, she doesn't always enjoy competitive games with the family...she prefers cooperative ones), but even she was glad she played in both games after losing. I was not surprised that she loved the theme and, actually, we all did...even our "non-gardening" sons. It was funny to see my sons, usually excited by the likes of League of Legends, Titanfall 2 and Warhammer 40K sit down and actually enjoy a game called "Cottage Garden". Maybe it was the ambience of playing outside next to the garden, maybe it was just the fun of a family conversing around a table...but maybe, just maybe, it was an excellent game with fun mechanisms, a relaxing theme, and overall great design.

So what do you glean from this?
-Well, those who like gardening are going to love this game.
-Also, those who just love solid boardgames but have no love of the theme(gardening)...are also going to love this game. Don't be scared away from it if you're not into gardening...you'll be missing out on a very fun experience.

We've played boardgames together 100's of times as a family...but I think I'll remember this sunny afternoon play whereas most sessions will be forgotten...what a great time it was. We'll be playing again soon.
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Andreu P.
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It's good to see people enjoying Cottage Garden way more than I do. I definitely should play it a few more times to see if something eventually clicks, but even if I liked it the first time, now I just find that CG is "Patchwork without everything that makes Patchwork great". No real interaction in the form of tile denial, no button economy, no turn management, no variable value of the pieces... even the puzzle itself doesn't need to be perfect with so many "wild pieces" (printed/extra flowerpots, cat tokens). It's just too simple when you compare it with its handsome brother, IMO...
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Peter Dringautzki
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Hi William,

I am glad you had such a wonderful experience and thanks for sharing it. Can't agree more as I have given the game to a gardening couple to when they asked for a new game. The enjoyed it a lot.

All the best!
Peat
 
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Peter Dringautzki
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DarkVaati wrote:
It's good to see people enjoying Cottage Garden way more than I do. I definitely should play it a few more times to see if something eventually clicks, but even if I liked it the first time, now I just find that CG is "Patchwork without everything that makes Patchwork great". No real interaction in the form of tile denial, no button economy, no turn management, no variable value of the pieces... even the puzzle itself doesn't need to be perfect with so many "wild pieces" (printed/extra flowerpots, cat tokens). It's just too simple when you compare it with its handsome brother, IMO...


Hi Andreu!

Well that are a lot of points but some that do seem to fit for other people than yourself. Not every game is for everyone. So don't worry I find a bit to light for me too. But if my mother would like to play it I never would say no

Then agen "puzzle itself doesn't need to be perfect" makes it better for people who are just starting right? And the economy effect starts in the final round. Do get more points if you stay in the game? Can I jump one cube to 20 and sacrificing another? Some pieces are more valuable to you as they fit perfectly and if these get denied, to bad. Especially if you look for a piece of the queue and someone uses a cat to get it on the board to grab it himself.

True, these are all small points, but its good for people approaching the hobby.
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daniel balik
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DarkVaati wrote:
It's good to see people enjoying Cottage Garden way more than I do. I definitely should play it a few more times to see if something eventually clicks, but even if I liked it the first time, now I just find that CG is "Patchwork without everything that makes Patchwork great". No real interaction in the form of tile denial, no button economy, no turn management, no variable value of the pieces... even the puzzle itself doesn't need to be perfect with so many "wild pieces" (printed/extra flowerpots, cat tokens). It's just too simple when you compare it with its handsome brother, IMO...


exactly my words. I would like to love this game, but for me it is just meh for same reasons. I am glad, that it has its big fans - maybe I will change to like it later
 
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Marco C
Australia
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Great post!! Thanks for sharing your story

I'm a gardener too, and bought this on the basis of the theme, coupled with my love for Patchwork. A lot of Patchwork fans are disappointed with Cottage Garden, but I think the latter has to be appreciated on its own merits. It's a game I bring out when I feel like something relaxing, rather than cutthroat.

But anyway, we should compare notes about gardening and farming boardgames sometime. I'm building up quite the collection. One little gem you should definitely check out is Garden Dice. And Agricola (family edition) might go down well with your family too I also recently just got a copy of Herbaceous in the mail, and am dying to try it out.
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