Taiwanese publisher MoZi Games have come up with a series of inexpensive small-box family games, most of which offer a similar level of challenge to both adults and children. Mini Garden is part of this series. For those who remember the Hector's House (La Maison de Toutou) puppet TV series, the dog on the box looks somewhat reminiscent of Hector but the resemblance is purely coincidental.
In Mini Garden, designed by An-Ping Liu, players each have a set of garden cards displaying various combinations of the five different flowers in the game. At the start of each round, dice corresponding to each plant colour are rolled and players then race to be the first to organise their garden cards so that the number of each flower type corresponds to the numbers on the dice.
Players organise their gardens by overlapping their cards. This therefore becomes a puzzle game with (2–4) players racing to complete the puzzle before their opponents. Each round takes at most a couple of minutes, and the winner is the player with the most victory tokens after 9 rounds. The box indicates that the game takes 1–4 but there are no solitaire rules in the English-language rules leaflet. That said, it becomes a very workable solo game to play against the clock and seek to beat your best time.
Mini Garden is a game at which children can compete with their parents on fairly equal terms and you'll find the game does help to develop younger children's pattern recognition skills. We've also found ourselves playing it with seasoned gamers as a fun filler. So full marks for versatility.