If you are a fellow box art tart, your eyes will be fulfilled just looking at the box lid of the prototype of Hill Goat Games’ second board game, Blooming Industry. I love beautiful board game artwork and if board games were real estate, Blooming Industry’s curb appeal would be high. I would also be a property magnate with an impressive portfolio, but that is beside the point! What’s behind the front door, or in this case under the beautiful box lid, is more important. So let me tell you about that!
Before I do, I should just reinforce that I am playing a prototype of the game, not the finished version. Components are not finalised and all sorts of things, including some of the rules, might and probably will change before the production copies land through letterboxes. It’s for these reasons I only ever preview Kickstarter games rather than review them and my thoughts are based on the copy provided to me.
How it plays
Blooming Industry is a tile laying, pick up and deliver board game with a spattering of take that.
The idea of the game is to deliver tulips to the market gaining victory points for each delivery. These points diminish for each colour with every delivery until the supply of victory points is exhausted.
On their turn, players can perform two different actions from the following options:
- Plant or replant a field, by laying a tile.
- Once a field is three or more squares in size a tulip is grown, you can also claim the field by placing a meeple on it, growing an additional tulip.
- Place a windmill on an appropriate tile, this propels boats along the canal faster.
- Move up to three of your barges along the canals one space each. Picking up any one tulip token on the way.
The tile-laying puzzle element is very enjoyable, tiles must match either the canal route or a field colour. The fields of tulips growing on the tabletop in front of you is attractive. Creating a good network of canals is essential as barges cannot pass one another. Farming tiles is important too as it allows a steady stream of tulips to market. Reseeding is necessary when the tulips’ value are dropping low and switching colour production can be useful.
The game also offers a way to scupper your opponent. Not only can you block canals with a boat, but you can also reseed tiles that might affect their beautifully built canal or massive field. These tactics can be mitigated against as tiles with boats, farmers or windmills on cannot be reseeded. Also, from experience, being overtly mean will be to the detriment of your own game. You will be so consumed by mucking up your opponents, making it tricky to plan your own circuits and deliveries. This naturally mitigates the take that element in a good way.
Can you tell me more about the game?
Designer Zach White chose to pull the game from Kickstarter last year on its first launch. You see, playtesters suggested valuable feedback from the print and play version of the game. Credit to Zach, he listened, and instead of displaying board game designer bravado, he pulled the campaign and revisited the game that I am previewing, tweaking it further before the games relaunch on Kickstarter.
I was impressed that the different colours of the fields had symbols, looking a bit like crop circles, hidden within them to aid those with colour vision deficiency. Anything that helps a game be more accessible deserves applauding. I can’t really talk about the rest of the components as it feels like they are in their prototype phase.
Final thoughts on Blooming Industry
This game won’t be for everyone, no game ever is. In particular, most people have a love/hate relationship with take that in board games. Those that enjoy throwing the odd piece of manure at their opponents, will enjoy this game considerably more than those that don’t like forking their opponents off. For me, this game had a showier bloom at two and three player counts, as it allowed for a bit more planning and less down time between turns.
Blooming Industry propagates a lot of mechanisms. With the additional time Zach has spent with the game, these mechanics germinate well together. Creating a game that is much more likely to be a hardy perennial than a tender biennial. I’m looking forward to see the final bunch of components that are delivered if this game gets funded via Kickstarter on its relaunch – it has the potential to be bloomin’ marvellous!
Want to follow along, visit the Hill Goat Games website here.