A Fun Day in the Sun with Grove: A 9 Card Solitaire Game

July 18, 2022 | Sessions | 0 comments

Collect a bountiful harvest of delicious fruit through clever overlapping card mechanics in Grove: A 9 Card Solitare Game.

There are plenty of smaller nature-themed solo games in my collection, but not all of them work for me. Notably, overlapping cards tends to be a puzzle that only works in some cases. When Grove: A 9 Card Solitaire Game arrived, I was interested to see if my mind could wrap itself around the visual aspects. Off to a tiny tabletop harvest I went!

Game Overview

Game Name: Grove: A 9 Card Solitaire Game
Publication Year:
2021
Designer:
Mark Tuck
Artist:
Mark Tuck
Publisher: Side Room Games
Solo Mode: Designed for Solo (Included in the Base Game)

By overlapping trees of the same type, each space provides an ever-increasing value. Dice are used as point trackers, while a few other mechanics allow for other options. Each card placement requires careful planning with the different types and amounts of fruit. So colorful, too!

A Lovely Land of Fruit and Dice in Grove
R

First Play

July 16, 2022

Complexity

2

Latest Play

July 17, 2022

Expansions

0

Setup Time

Almost None

Lifetime Plays

10

Play Time

5 Minutes

:

High Score

64

1

Game Area

10" x 10"

;

Low Score

45

Quality Components

What immediately struck me were the bright colors. Absolutely lovely! I was only thrown off by the orange trees, which were the reddest oranges I ever saw. Ha!

The cheeky squirrel looked adorable and could allow for non-matching fruits… Although it was a trap! Negative points had to be planned very carefully to make sense.

I loved the general sense this gave me: The artwork didn’t feature any sweeping panoramas, yet it was perfect.

As would be expected from me, these dice were a tad too tiny for my tastes. But those colors made up for it!

Fun and Quality Components from Grove

Squirrel City

You invite a single squirrel, and the whole neighborhood will inevitably show up! As I was planning when to add the squirrel, some Calico Critters decided to play along.

Not that there was much hiding going on here, but I found one just lounging under a lemon tree. Classic squirrel!

Off to the side are the backs of the cards, which feature unique recipes. These provide ways to earn bonus points, and the combination creates the victory point threshold.

I stuck with the standard game to begin with, but I’m very much looking forward to using these recipes in the future!

Getting Invaded by Adorable Squirrels in Grove

Finding Ways to Score

My scores were underwhelming to start with, but I slowly figured out some of the better strategies. Dice flipped to their 10-point sides, and I earned the wheelbarrow!

There was a lot of thinking going on, especially the way the empty areas could help or hinder certain placements.

Trees featured either 1 or 2 fruit, which actually made a major difference. It wasn’t only about overlapping fruit, but figuring out where those points were worth the most.

Even my worst turns gave me a couple of choices, and I was never cornered. Such a fun little game!

Reaching Higher and Higher with Better Scores in Grove

A Squirrel Outing

I haven’t had my Calico Critters stop by for so much fun in a long time, so enjoy this photo of them enjoying the day!

There were plenty of lemons and oranges to gather. But even the youngest of the bunch was a little leery on what I called a “lime.” It’s fine. It’s green, and it’s close enough!

What the father squirrel interpreted as an adorable hug from his inquisitive son was something else… For there was mischief afoot on top of his head!

I miss doing more of these scenes, so hopefully, I can stage some more with my next games. Always so cute.

A Wonderful Day of Collecting Fruit with the Calico Critters in Grove

Expanding on an Already Successful Game

Those who are familiar with Orchard: A 9 Card Solitaire Game will definitely see the similarities present. Overlapping cards, dice to track victory points, and different kinds of fruit are all pretty common! The squirrel replaces the worms, yet the idea is still the same. So, why own both? I was eager to take a look at how the model could be changed.

Exact fruit stacks added a little more work, but also altered my strategy just a bit. With 1 or 2 fruit on each tree, I had to find a way to maximize what was available. Going above a value of 6 on each dice took a little more precision!

Open areas also introduced extra choices, since they effectively allowed non-matching spaces to overlap. At the same time, that meant I gave up the ability to utilize the fruit underneath. Or, if there was already a die there, I needed to overlap that section again to even claim the points. Another tricky strategy, and that didn’t even count the squirrel!

I didn’t try out the recipes, which add a totally new way to play with a victory point threshold. Although there were definite similarities, both games turned out to be quite different in my mind. And that meant good news… Both earned a place in my collection! I liked each one for different reasons, and appreciated the new concepts this one introduced.

Session Overview

Play Number: 1-10
Solo Mode: Designed for Solo (Included in the Base Game)
Outcome: 47, 45, 49, 48, 48, 48, 54, 52, 64, 55 (2 Wins)

I set my victory threshold very high, which just made each play all the more interesting. After all, I kept playing and playing! In the end, I found the absolute perfect card for about 12 extra victory points on my final turn. Exciting! Seems like the right time to try out the recipes when I next play, which should help provide a little direction and a clear scoring threshold. This one worked wonderfully for me, and I simply love the colorful challenge!

Pulling Off an Exciting Final Few Moves in Grove

%

10 Plays

Affordability

Price & Value

9

Functionality

Challenges & Mechanics

10

Originality

Design & Theme

5

Quality

Components & Rules

10

Reusability

Achievement & Enjoyment

9

Variability

Distinctness & Randomness

7

+ Pros (Positives)

  • There are important considerations with each card’s placement and fruits, which come in values of 1 or 2.
  • Open spaces create new strategies and a way to cover up other trees, yet it’s still important to utilize most fruit.
  • A lot of opportunities exist with the placement of each card, and figuring out the best option is a lot of fun.
  • Play time is very quick and smooth, even when considering a lot of placement possibilities for every card.
  • The rulebook is short and explains the rules well, while the strategies are more complex and require thought.
  • Bright colors bring a cheery atmosphere to the table, and the different fruits are easy to tell apart.

– Cons (Negatives)

  • At first glance, the orange trees don’t quite match up with the orange dice, but this is easy to figure out.
  • Keeping track of the dice values when overlapping cards requires a little more time and effort to stay on track.
  • The yellow dice are almost a little too light, and the white faces can be a tad hard to see with low contrast.
  • Although the cards are very durable, their slippery surface makes neat stacking and overlapping a challenge.

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Victory Conditions

Score 55+ Points

  • Overall Goal Progress 100% 100%

Goals and Milestones

R

Score at least 50 points.

R

Score at least 55 points.

Continue the Conversation

Do you enjoy playing Grove: A 9 Card Solitaire Game? Are there any other games with overlapping cards in your collection? I had some exciting turns when a card lined up perfectly with 4 or 5 dice! For such a simple set of rules, the strategies and thought processes can be quite involved. Definitely an awesome solo game to enjoy during summer!

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