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Updated: Apr 3, 2023

Gardeners is a new cooperative game by Kasper Lapp - who you may recall had a hit with Magic Maze five years ago, also published by Sit Down! Gardeners is like Magic Maze in that it's also a real-time cooperative game where the players can’t speak to each other. To add further stress, players need to operate within a set of rules each of which are known to only one player. These are conditions like 'don’t put flowers next to trees' or 'have a long connected path covering x tiles' and you'll have to try to deduce what other players' hidden rules might be...

The game plays by placing tiles representing garden features into a virtual grid (up to 6 by 6). Players can place a tile and/or remove a tile from the grid and give it to another player. They can’t take and replace the same tile. If the grid is completed then each player checks their hidden rules and declares if the grid passes or not. If so, score one point and remove the oldest hidden rule. Then draw a new hidden rule and start adjusting tiles to meet the new requirement. If a rule is not met, then players start removing tiles and recast the grid again.

The game is a race to score as many points as possible in 15 minutes. Score well enough and you can add harder content to the game. This is quite a neat way of learning the game and seeing progress, although I confess that I've yet to manage to do well enough to get to the hardest level.

Gardeners can be played with 2 to 4 players and in solo mode. For me, it’s better as a cooperative game as the solo game is a real brain burner. Overall my main feeling when playing the game was one of stress: you don’t want to let your team mates down but sometimes you can’t work out what you need to do. It’s also possible to draw mutually exclusive rules which you can discard but which cost you a point, which seems unfair.

I would have liked to have seen a more attractive garden: with art by Anthony Moulins, the tiles are functional but nothing to write home about in my view. Overall, Gardeners is a game that I can respect the design of and wouldn’t say no to play but don’t feel compelled to get it out of the box. Personally, I’d rather crack out Magic Maze, which is just more appealingly themed and fun!

(Review by Paul Moorshead)

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1 Kommentar

Sophie SitDown
Sophie SitDown
16. Jan. 2023

Hello, many thanks for this review :-) Just a precision: Anthony Moulins mainly did the illustrations of the rulebook not the illustrations of the tiles. He works as Graphic Designer for the game itself (with Marie Ooms).

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