An Early Look at Floriferous and a Pesky Guest
Take a stroll through a beautiful floral garden illustrated in watercolors alongside a pesky guest in Floriferous.
This is another first for me! Floriferous came in this week, but it’s not a normal new game… This is the very first prototype copy I’ve received ahead of time. So exciting! Technically I’ve been playtesting for a bit, but no one needs to see my homemade print-and-play version. Ha! Follow along for this early preview of a lovely, charming game!
First, please remember that I’m the sales manager for Pencil First Games. The following views are my personal thoughts, but I always bring that up for transparency! Second, this is a prototype copy so none of the components are final. None of these photos should be taken as an accurate representation of what the final product will look like.
There are also makeshift components in play and a print-and-play version of the specific solo mode cards pictured. It should be pretty clear where these appear, but know that the final cards definitely won’t look like my rough printing!
Game Name: Floriferous
Publication Year: Unreleased (2021)
Designers: Eduardo Baraf, Steve Finn, and Keith Matejka
Artists: Clémentine Campardou and Kim Robinson
Publisher: Pencil First Games
Solo Mode: Included in the Base Game
If you’re familiar with the publisher’s previous titles, this one fits right in! There are new concepts, although it feels like it combines Herbaceous and Sunset Over Water into a wonderful experience. The goal is simple: Take a stroll through a floral garden and collect flowers along the way!
February 6, 2021
February 20, 2021
43 (S) and 63 (E)
20" x 20"
15 (S) and 49 (E)
Into the Garden
Artwork isn’t everything, but this selection is lovely! These pieces were originally done in watercolor, which is an interesting technique that isn’t common in games.
There are 5 different flowers available in 5 unique colors. Little bugs can also stop by to visit! I’m not a particular fan of bugs, yet these are adorable and very friendly.
Although colors, types, and bugs are vital, icons make it easy to tell these apart in the lower left and right corners.
Floral or nature-based games often appeal to me visually, and this is no different! Absolutely gorgeous artwork.
A Compact Play Area
With so much variety, it’s wonderful to lay everything out. And the play area isn’t large at all. The goal is to travel across the garden over the course of just 3 rounds.
Public goals exist at the very top, which I’ll touch on shortly! The main garden area consists of 5 columns of garden and desire cards, or private goals.
Note that my pawn here is a stand-in! Movement is simple: Choose a space in the next column. That’s it.
In the solo mode, you generally take a garden card or desire card. Sometimes, though, there are just stones…
The Pesky Guest
Please pardon the rough print-and-play version here! Use this as a general idea of the cards, and not the quality.
The solo mode introduces the pesky guest, otherwise known as a crow who wants to disrupt your peaceful walk. This rude crow steals flowers and tosses stones. Rude!
Crow action cards indicate what to do with the next column. Cards may be replaced by a face-down card or a collection of stones. It’s very unpredictable!
Managing the crow’s stones is vital since too many require you to lose an already collected card. Double rude!
The 3 bounty cards are randomized with every play and represent public goals that are always there.
Each features 3 different icons. Collect the right garden cards early on, and it could mean 5 victory points!
The diminishing returns often mean that a strategy shifts over time. I like to work towards bounty cards on the first couple of days when the payoff is worth it.
However, it all depends on what cards are in the garden. It’s not a simple case of picking the right ones. Remember the pesky guest? Don’t expect things to be all that easy!
The Little Details
Each solo play results in roughly half the deck coming into play, which makes for all sorts of exciting and colorful combinations. You never know what to expect!
Actually, the risk of picking up a face-down card is quite thrilling. There are times when it’s the wrong move… Or it could be the perfect card worth 5+ victory points.
The decisions are challenging but in a lightweight way. I find myself always wanting to play just once more.
Finding the right balance with the desire cards is also an interesting situation. Victory points take some work.
Lastly, there are arrangement cards mixed in with the garden cards. These are rather rare, but can be worth an extra 5 victory points with the right flowers and bugs!
My scores have varied wildly, and I’m never guaranteed to do well. This is just the sort of game I hoped it would be.
If the standard mode isn’t enough, there is also the option to play the extended mode. It’s as simple as it comes… Just add 2 more columns to the garden and play as usual.
Here’s a lovely little arrangement of lilies for anyone in the mood for some tabletop gardening!
Herbaceous or Floriferous?
I’m currently closing in on 1,300 lifetime plays of Herbaceous! It’s my relaxing game I play at least a few times a week, often around bedtime. There’s always been the thought that something might come along to replace it. Is this it?
For me, I see a place for both games! Floriferous is more strategic, though certainly in the lighter category. It’s like a step up in difficulty without making anything overly complicated. What it does have, though, is much less repetition. The variety in the cards ensures that every play, and every round, feels a little different with unique considerations.
It’s hard to play a game for 1,000+ times and not get a little tired of it now and then. My feeling is that I still won’t part with my beloved copy, barely showing any signs of use after all this time! When I’m in the mood for something a bit more challenging, this definitely could be it. The pesky guest might interfere with the relaxing feeling, though. Ha ha!
Play Number: 41-44
Solo Mode: Included in the Base Game
Play Details: Standard Mode
Outcome: 31, 28, 35, and 41 (1 Win and 3 Losses)
This wasn’t a particularly good outing until my final play. Pictured are the ways I scored a lot of victory points. I’ll be back with more details, yet you might notice another unique card that’s simply wonderful: The cup of tea! This can be kept for extra points, or used to scare off the crow once per play. Even though this isn’t the final version, I’m very excited about this game and what is has to offer!
Price & Value
Challenges & Mechanics
Design & Theme
Components & Rules
Achievement & Enjoyment
Distinctness & Randomness
+ Pros (Positives)
- The sequence of play is easy to follow, particularly the way the solo opponent works and requires minimal effort.
- Each card is beautiful with artwork that brightens the tabletop and creates a very cheerful atmosphere.
- Unique icons are used to indicate a card’s flower type, color, and bug so there are no questions about clarity.
- Play time lasts around 10-15 minutes, depending on the mode, and flies by as decisions are quick yet important.
- Multiple ways to score victory points always change the way a play progresses and early risks can pay off.
- There are choices to make, yet the progression through the columns limits the feeling of being overwhelmed.
– Cons (Negatives)
- A certain degree of luck is involved with scoring very well, although this can be mitigated to a certain extent.
- Finding a balance with the desire cards can be difficult and a bit frustrating when the right cards don’t come out.
- The artwork sometimes takes a backseat to the icons when looking for the best ways to earn victory points.
- Managing the crow’s stones is an added task in the solo mode that can add another layer of complexity.
Score 40+ Points (S) or 60+ Points (E)
- Overall Goal Progress 60% 60%
Goals and Milestones
Complete all 3 bounty cards on day 1.
Score at least 40 points in the standard mode.
Score at least 60 points in the extended mode.
Score at least 45 points in the standard mode.
Score at least 65 points in the extended mode.
Continue the Conversation
What are your thoughts about Floriferous? Do you have any questions about the game? I have many more plays ahead, which will go into detail about some other aspects of gameplay and the mechanics. Perhaps I’m terrible at ignoring beautiful artwork, yet this is a game I can see myself playing over and over, often yelling comically at the crow. Ha ha!