Each country has it’s own unique cultures and interesting places of interest and scenic spots. One of the most beautiful scenic spots our country the Netherlands has to offer, are the tulip fields. At least once a year we try to visit one of the biggest tulip fields to just enjoy the view and every year we are very much looking forward to it. With the Netherlands being known for one of those scenic spots, we couldn’t overlook this game and it immediately drew our attention since in Blooming Industry you create a big shared tulip field yourself. We couldn’t wait to play this small colorful game. Note that this is still a prototype and the final product might look and play different.
How to Play.
The setup is quick and easy. Place the market tiles (amount of market tiles depends on amount of players) in the middle of the play area and sort the colored tokens by colors. Stack each color from low to high with the highest on top. Place all the tulip tokens close by and give each player a dock tile to place three tiles away from the market tile. Each player also receives six farmers to place close by and three boats to place on their dock. Then separate all the field tiles and windmill tiles in two piles and shuffle them. Each player receives two tiles from the field stack and one from the windmill stack. Lastly, shuffle both stacks together to one pile and place three cards face up next to the stack.
Once every player has their starting tiles, reveal them. Then simultaneously place the three tiles in a straight line from your dock to the market. You can choose what tile goes where, as long as they connect. Tiles connect with each other if the canals connect, or when a tulip field of the same color touches the tulip field on the other card. If you want to place a field tile with purple tulips, next to a field tile that also has purple tulips and those fields would connect, it can be placed next to each other even if the canal wouldn’t connect for example. The rulebook also shows examples of this in pictures. On your turn, start with taking a field tile from one of the face up tiles, or from the top of the deck and decide what you want to do with it. You can seed, meaning you place the tile according to the placement rules (a canal of tulip field or both must connect), or you reseed. If you reseed you can cover an existing tile with the one you took from the reserve. You may not cover a tile that has workers or boats on it and you may only match or add to the canal route. If you cover any tulips, they are automatically destroyed. Lastly you can also choose to take two tiles from the reserve instead of one and keep them until the end of the game, this will progress the game faster.
After placing, stacking or keeping tiles, it’s time to farm. You can choose to harvest, which means you can place a farmer from your supply on an available farm. A farm consists of a minimum of three connected tiles that have matching tulip fields. Only one worker may occupy a field. When you place a farmer, also place a tulip token in the same color. Every time when the field expands with more matching tulip fields, place another tulip token. Each tile can only have one tulip. You can also move your boat choosing the transport action. You can move up to three of your boats one tile. Lastly, you can choose to build. If you build, you place a worker on an available windmill. The next time your boat passes trough the tile with this windmill, it will move one additional tile.
When your boat is on a tile with a tulip, you may place the tulip on the boat. If you manage to reach the market with the tulip, grab the top token from the matching color pile and place the tulip close by. Your boat resets to your dock. If you collide with another boat or move off any tiles, the tulips in your boat is lost and your boat is reset to your dock. Each boat can hold one tulip. The game ends immediately if three token piles are gone or when the last tile has been drawn. Then the players add up all the token point values. Each tulip still in your boat or tulips you have already delivered is also worth one point per two tulips. The player with that has a worker on the largest field also receives the five point token. The player with the most points wins the game.
Playthrough of the game.
When we started playing, we realized that this game was much more strategic then we initially thought. We figured we would just match some colors and canals and that would be that. But even though this game is small and easy to learn, it has more depth. Tomasz was the first to create a field, but instead of placing a farmer, he chose to move his boats for the round. What he didn’t think through was that everyone now could place a farmer on that field. So that is exactly what I did. Not only did I claim that farm, I could also place a tulip on one of the tiles. And one of my boats happened to be pretty close by. But Tomasz was to fast as before I could reach the tulip, he managed to replace one of the tiles with another one which not only made the tulip disappear, but also made me lose my field. This is just one of the examples of the ongoing battle in getting the most blooming business.
We really like the art in this game but there was one pretty big frustration, the boats. The boats are supposed to be able to hold one tulip at the time. They can, if you are very careful and gentle, carry one tulip. Which in reality means every time when you try to move your boat, the tulip falls off. Now we do realize this is still a prototype and we hope in the final product the boats will be a little bigger or have a different design which makes them carry the tulips better. Other then this Blooming industry is rich of colors, but the designer also thought of a way to show the differences between each tulip field to people who have trouble seeing colors. On each different colored tulip field, there is a small matching icon to show the differences in colors. We also noticed that the pack of cards you draw is big enough with two people or even three, but when you play with more, there are not enough cards to even use all of your farmers and components. The game also doesn’t lasts less long. We also hope that in the final product, there will be more cards. Another small detail we wish to be added is a different art on the back of the market cards and dock tiles. This would make the setup even more easy.
Blooming Industry is a strategic tile placement game where you have to score the most point by selling tulips and having the biggest tulip farm. We really love the colors in this game and when you start placing tiles, you create the most beautiful tulip fields on your own kitchen table. This game is easy to learn but has more depth then we initially thought depending on the choices you make. There are some changes we would like to see in the final product, but since this is still a prototype, anything is possible.