- Designer: Uwe Rosenberg
- Publisher: Amigo
- Players: 1-4
- Age: 8+
- Time: 30 minutes
- Played with review copy provided by Amigo
Uwe Rosenberg is one of my favorite game designers. I like complex games about farming. I like beans. I like family growth. That pretty much sums up the whole Roseberg oeuvre. I was quite interested to see that Amigo had a Rosenberg game slated for SPIEL 2021. The theme is still farming-ish, but in this case, players are growing tulips of different colors in their fields.
Each player gets a board representing their tulip fields, and each starts the game with a few tulip tiles placed on it. The goal of the game is to fill up your fields – and there are three ways to instantly win the game:
- Completely fill all seven spaces of your fourth row
- Fill three adjacent spaces in the fifth row
- Fill any four spaces in the fifth row
Turns go clockwise around the board until one of the game ending conditions is met. On your turn, you take your allotment of dice and roll them. At the start of the game, you have only four dice, but it will be possible to get more as the game progresses. In any event, grab your dice and roll them. You can then re-roll up to two more times, freely choosing which dice to re-roll. After the third roll, your dice would normally be fixed. However, it is possible to buy up to two more dice rolls, each requiring you to turn two tulip tiles on your board over to the moneybag side.
Once you are done with all your rolls, it’s time to plant tulips. You get exactly one tulip tile from the supply, and you put it on any empty space on your board that matches the final result of your die roll. You do not need to use all the dice in your roll; you just need to have enough in the roll to match the pattern on the board space. Most of the spaces require you to have matching sets (pairs, 3 of a kinds, 4 of a kinds, 5 of a kinds), but the center column wants consecutive numbers instead. As a wildcard, if you roll six or seven dice with the same number, you can put your tulips in ANY empty space on your board. Finally, if you cannot legally place a tulip tile on your board, you still take the tile and place it near your board – it can at least be flipped over on a later turn to pay for half of a re-roll…
As you fill your board, you will have the opportunity to get some special actions and more dice. If you cover diagonally or vertically adjacent spaces in the top three rows, you get an extra die – giving you 5 total. LIkewise, if you cover diagonally or vertically adjacent spaces in the top four rows, you get one more die bringing your total to 6. And guess what – if you cover diagonally or vertically adjacent spaces in the top five rows, you get the seventh and final die.
You could also earn a bonus tile – which gives you the chance to turn a die to any face. To gain a bonus tile, you must have covered a 3×2 or 2×3 rectangle of spaces on your board. You can then choose to cover them up with a bonus tile – it doesn’t matter whether the tiles are tulip side up or moneybag side up. Note that once you cover the tulips with the bonus tile, you won’t be able to flip them over any more. On every further turn, before rolling the die, place one of your dice onto the wheelbarrow shown on the bonus tile on the face of your choice. Then roll the rest of your dice like normal. After the first roll, you could choose to remove the die from the wheelbarrow and re-roll it.
After you have taken a tulip tile and placed it, the next player clockwise takes their turn. The game continues until one of the three game ending conditions is met. Obviously, as it is a sudden death victory condition, there is no tiebreak.
My thoughts on the game
I have played a number of games with a tulip theme, and this one is by far the most accessible.
(Tulip Bubble is the least). This one will definitely feel familiar, as it is really a Yahtzee variation – so most everyone will get the roll three times and do something with the final result mechanism. While it is familiar, in the end, it is also just a Yahtzee variant…
At the start of the game, you only have 4 dice, and you are forced to go for combos in the first 3 rows. There is a bit of choice on strategy early on – do you go for extra dice from the start, or do you prefer to try for a wheelbarrow to get the ability to set a die each round? You can plan all you want, but in the end, sometimes you’re just left to work with whatever roll you get at the end of your turn!
The starting position of the boards is well done to handicap the turn order issue. The boards later in turn order have locations for the starting tulips which make it a bit easier to get extra dice sooner, and in our games so far, we have not really detected an advantage for any particular starting spot.
There is a bit of downtime between turns, but it can’t be helped. Luckily, the individual turns go fast, so there isn’t too much time spent waiting to get the dice back in your hands… Hopefully you roll well, as with Yahtzee – I have found that this is the most reliable strategy for the game.
The components are fine. The graphics are decent – and while you can arrange your tulip chits to make interesting patterns, in the end, the colors on the chits are irrelevant. The spaces on your board are either covered or they are not…
If you love Yahtzee (Kniffel), this may be an interesting diversion for you. If not, this may be a bit long for what you get out of it – 30 minutes is maybe a bit more than I want to roll and hope and then wait a bit before I get a chance to do it again. I personally don’t see myself playing this one again.
Until your next appointment
The Gaming Doctor