A beautiful game of butterflies spreading their wings across North America…
What a delightful board game! This game was a classic case of “saw it on Instagram enough times I had to buy it!” (we’ve all been there right?), it helped that it was top of the Hotness rating on Board Game Geek for a while so when Sam turned old (30) a few weeks ago I bought him a copy!
As you can tell from the box art (lovely isn’t it?), the game is all about butterflies. They’re spreading out across North America during Spring and Summer, before flying back to Mexico in the Fall (we say Autumn but I’ll forgive it as it’s an American game!). Each player controls a group of butterflies as they set out on this monumental journey, scoring points for completing objectives, spawning more butterflies and collecting sets of lifecycle cards. I loved this game and I think you will too!
The aim of the game is to move your butterflies northwards in Spring, spread out in Summer and return southwards in the Fall, scoring points along the way.
On your turn you play one movement card from your hand – these allow your butterflies to move across the map. They specify how many butterflies can move, and how many spaces. If a card states you can move more than one butterfly, you can move the same butterfly more than once instead! When you land on a flower symbol, you take a matching flower token, and you can use them to reproduce later on in your turn. If you land on a waystation (which are the cities dotted around the map), you flip the token and gain the benefit. These can be lifecycle cards (you collect sets of the same colour to get points and special bonuses), extra movement cards or a flower of their choice, so they’re worth visiting!
When you reproduce, you pay the required flower cost and add your next generation butterfly to the board (you’ll score points depending on how many 4th generation butterflies return to Mexico in Fall so get busy reproducing!). There are objectives to be met each season and once you’ve all taken turns for that season, these are scored.
After the three seasons are over, you count how many 4th generation butterflies you have managed to get back to Mexico and this corresponds to a number of Victory Points to add to your total. On our first game we ended up tying, with Sam winning the tiebreak! It was such a close game we demanded a recount (well it is based in America so…?)!
Mariposas is such a striking game to look at, it is really beautifully illustrated. The map itself is comprised of highly decorated floral hexagons, making their way up to Canada from Mexico. I am an absolute sucker for games with maps! As you can see the butterflies are stunning, as are the objective cards.
It plays really quickly too – we only played as a two (we are mid-lockdown in the UK) so we zipped through it in 40 minutes, it is a very simple game to learn with clear instructions (I feel as though I’ve pretty much explained the whole game in this review!). I really enjoyed the movement mechanism for selecting how many butterflies move and how far, but potentially there could have been more variety in the deck to freshen things up.
That said it didn’t take anything away from our experience of the game, I pushed all the way up to the top of the map to get the end of round bonuses, whilst Sam focused on getting as many butterflies back to Mexico as possible. It’s one of those games where there’s enough going on that you can each go after different strategies.
We’re unsure as to how much replayability there’ll be because whilst the end of round objectives change each game, they all seem reasonably similar in how they work. I can’t wait to introduce this to our friends and family, who I’m sure will all love this game as much as we do.
In summary it’s as pretty as any game we’ve played, it was really fun to play and it’s an awesome theme! I think this game will be hitting the table a lot in the coming months.
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