Updated: Jun 8
Designed by Zach White and published by Hill Goat, Blooming Industry is a competitive 2-6 player game set in the Dutch tulip industry. And, no, this isn't another game about the 17th Century Tulip Mania financial crash (for that, see Moaideas' Tulip Bubble).
In Blooming Industry players are competing to cultivate tulips and get them to market. It's first and foremost a tile-laying game. You'll start off with market tiles in the centre of the board and each player's dock equidistant from and initially unconnected to the market. Players will be picking up and laying out tiles representing canal routes and fields of different colours of tulip. Tiles are laid so that there is at least one connection to the neighbouring tile either by canal or colour of field. You'll want to create fields of the same colour that cross several tiles because that's where you can send your meeples to farm and where you'll be able to grow and harvest tulips. You'll want to establish a canal route from your fields to the market because you'll need to pick up tulips on your boats to deliver them to market. Place one of your meeples on a tile with a windmill on it and it'll help to speed your tulips' journey to market. You'll want to get your tulips to market ahead of the competition because the price for each colour drops as more of that colour are sold...
The net result is a light-to-medium weight euro game where players balance the need to establish productive farms with the urgency of getting their product to market ahead of the competition. Tho' the game substitutes brightly coloured plastic cubes for tulips, we were quickly immersed in the theme and Blooming Industry's colourful table presence. You'll ultimately be in a race against other players so you'll need to keep a watchful eye on what they are growing and the position of their boats but this isn't a cutthroat 'take that' game where you'll be hitting out at other players or be overly concerned about their sniping at you. That said, you may well find that as the number of tiles in play increases, the dynamics of Blooming Industry change, with players increasingly competing to claim farms. That's especially the case with higher player counts. You don't actually 'own' the tiles you lay and they only form part of 'your' farms when you have a meeple on them, and you only have a strictly limited number of meeples... Also, subject to certain limitations, the rules allow tiles to be placed on top of others, changing the composition of the fields... Tho' the rules are exactly the same, Blooming Industry feels and plays very differently with five or six players than it does with just two or three.