A bloomin’ lovely game of tulips and windmills, with a tiny hint of destroying your opponents’ plans!
Hill Goat Games
We were lucky enough to play the prototype of Hill Goat Games’ Blooming Industry, a tile laying game where players construct tulip farms among the canal networks surrounding a market. Growing, harvesting and selling these tulips is the aim of the game in order to score points and take victory – but be wary as your opponents will be racing you to the market for the biggest sale. Tactically lay tiles and build windmills while navigating your boats through the various canal networks to win this surprisingly interactive game.
How the game works
The game is played over a series of turns, where players will build farms, grow tulips and transport them to the central markets where they are sold for points! Not only are you aiming to sell the most tulips and build the biggest farms, you also want to sell your tulips the fastest, as the points scored per tulip decreases the more that are sold!
Each player has a starting dock which is placed 3 spaces away from the central market, and 3 starting tiles which they place adjacent to their dock. When placing tiles, players will want to keep in mind they want the quickest possible route to the market whilst also creating farms of tulips that are the same colour. Farms will only start growing tulips once the same colour spans 3 tiles!
On your turn you complete two actions from the following:
1. Lay tile – you take a tile from the three available on display and add it to the canal system. Its touching sides must either join up canals or match the field colour in order to be placed. When a field is placed that creates a farm (3 tiles adjacent with the same colour), it is now possible to harvest. Alternatively if you want to ruin your opponents’ farms, you can overlay your tile over an already placed tile, provided you don’t sever any canal routes (that would be just too mean, right?). This has the effect of breaking up other players’ farms and disrupting their tulip-growing.
2. Harvest – you may place a farmer on to a farm, which grows a tulip. Each time an additional tile is placed with the same colour as the farm, an extra tulip is placed on that tile. There is a bonus at the end for the owner of the largest farm!
3. Move boats – you may move each of your three boats one tile via the canal routes. If your boat travels through a tile with a tulip on it, you can add it to your boat automatically, but each boat can only carry one tulip token, and each tile can only support one boat! If you reach the market with your boat, you sell your tulip and take the top available point token from the matching colour’s pile. The points go down the more are sold, so get in first to earn the most points! You can then move your boat back to any dock, so maybe try sneakily stealing someone else’s tulips?!
4. Build windmill – some of the canal tiles have windmill spaces on them, so as an action you can build a windmill there to improve the speed of your boats. When a boat enters a tile with a windmill, it is blown along an extra space! You can’t build windmills adjacent to each other (to stop you zooming along more than two tiles in a turn).
It’s worth pointing out that the copy we played and I’m reviewing is a prototype so the components aren’t the final versions and there’ll likely be some tweaks to the rules, but nothing too major.
The fact it was a prototype didn’t really enter our thoughts, as the components were very good quality (assuming the points tokens aren’t the final version!). The lovely pastel colours of the tulip tiles give it a beautiful look and the little wooden pieces were lovely too. You’re also going to be drawn in by the box artwork which is as vivid and eye-catching as any in our collection.
So, to the gameplay. At first you might be fooled into thinking this is some kind of serene, relaxing game where you could just as easily be making your way down the Dutch canals in the springtime with the smell of flowers (and hay fever) in the air. And sure, if you prefer games that don’t involve much player interaction, it is possible to experience that by leaving each other’s fields alone.
However, this can be quite the cut-throat game because of the ability to overlay tiles. Provided you can match up the canal connections you can overlay tiles over your opponents farms and render them useless and pointless! It’s a great addition that really lifts the game from being pick up and deliver to sneaky and devious.
It reminded me a little (only a very little) of Ticket to Ride in that sense, because you can royally ruin other people’s games in Ticket to Ride with a well-placed train (I’m looking at you, Mum, for sending me on a ridiculous round trip through Greece just to get back to Vienna!) but generally speaking in the games we play, people only do that if they really have to for their own game. And Blooming Industry is like that. You can screw each other over if you want to, but you can just as easily leave one another be and only destroy them if absolutely necessary.
Although the game is designed for up to 6 players, I would personally prefer playing it between 2 and 4 players to reduce the amount of downtime between turns. Thankfully, the rules force you to do two different actions on your turn which reduces your options a little bit so analysis paralysis isn’t a factor 🙂
It’s also good to mention that the tiles very subtly cater for those with colour blindness which was a lovely detail. There are crop shapes (can’t say crop circles as each colour is a different shape!) on each tile which links with it’s colour, a nice touch!
Obviously Blooming Industry isn’t at the top end of the strategic game scale so if you’re looking for a meaty tactical game then this isn’t for you, but for a light family game with beautiful looks and a nice hit of player interaction then don’t miss out! I can’t wait to see the finished version!
On a personal level Zach who designed the game seems like such a nice guy, so we wish him all the best with Blooming Industry – thanks for letting us review your game!
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