I tried to move a fern in my garden the other day. It was the hottest day of the year and in the midday heat it was quite an effort. If gardening was a wrestling match the fern would’ve claimed a victory after beating me into submission!
So that evening to prove I could win at gardening I played Plotalot. It’s a new game coming to Kickstarter from Moonstone Games. I was lucky enough to get a preview copy in the post from the publisher. It is a card game created by Gemma Newton. According to Mrs Board Game Review, Plotalot has ‘the prettiest artwork in a game’ she has ever seen, Miriam Hull deserves some kudos for that!
Can you tell me more about the game?
Plotalot is a 2-5 player card game themed around growing and harvesting vegetables in your field. The player who has harvested the most points at the end of the game is deemed the Monty Don of the board game world!
At the start of the game, you will be allocated a plot that is 4, 10 or 15 in size. The plot sizes dictates what and how much you can grow before harvesting. On your turn you will choose two actions to play from the five cards in your hand. These will include growing a vegetable in your plot, harvesting your plot, or wreaking havoc on someone else’s plot or veggies. The nastiness mostly comes in the form of bugs and critters. These are quite spiteful and range from a snail that will mean your prize veg is worthless, to a swarm of locusts that decimate every vegetable in your field. The greedy rabbit will even steal an entire plot, plants and all, and set it down in your own field! Who knew that growing a vegetable plot could be this vindictive!
The good news is that there are protective action cards, such as bug sprays to keep annoying insects away and fertiliser to increase your veggies’ value. There is also the best looking card in the game (in my opinion) the helpful hedgehog. This cheerful spikey companion acts as a nope card to other players’ attacks. Finally there are harvest cards that let you reap what you sow and cash in on those vegetables.
Final thoughts on Plotalot
Don’t let the serene box art mislead you. The image would perhaps be more apt if it were old men wearing handkerchiefs for hats and string vests trying to hit each other with spades, forks and hoes on an allotment!
Plotalot feels like it should be a calm card playing game, but instead it’s a mini box of mischief with a double dose of take that. You can certainly draw comparisons with games like Exploding Kittens, but with no player elimination and victories sometimes decided on the final turn, Plotalot has a lot of positives, including more strategic gameplay. I played this with my 9 year old and 12 year old and both enjoyed it. My 9 year old plotted a victory in one of the games and it is this accessibility that makes it a great family option. It’s also good that it can seat up to five players.
Having had a tough day with the immovable fern I certainly enjoyed sitting down and playing Plotalot. The victory that evening sadly wasn’t to be mine so I went to bed defeated by everything gardening related!
Finally I should say that we received a review copy, so some subtle tweaks are likely to be made. With that minor caveat said we can conclude our preview!
The Plotalot Kickstarter campaign is due to be launched soon, follow them on Instagram: @moonstonegamesuk to keep up to date until then!
Please note all images are © Moonstone Games and are used here with kind permission.