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Unbeetable

Jolly Dutch's Unbeetable is a card game about growing vegetables. If you think that means it's a genteel game where the 2-4 players are just pottering around their own garden tableaus, you couldn't be more wrong. In horticultural circles stories abound about growers sabotaging their rivals' crops in order to secure the prize for, for example, the largest marrow. Game designers Nick Eulink and Maikel Leemans have obviously channeled these accounts because Unbeetable is an unbridled 'take that' game where players will be focused on nobbling each other's gardens just as much as on growing their own.



In Unbeetable, you'll be growing plants in a grid, the size of which varies with the number of players. The game is played over seasons representing spring, summer and autumn. When the card is drawn for the next season, it opens up that season's draw pile for players. When the winter card comes up in the slim autumn deck, the game immediately ends.


Players start off with two plants apiece and each turn you'll take a seasonal action and play up to three cards from your hand of five. In spring, the seasonal action is to grow a plant (rotate the card 90º). In summer, you can grow or harvest. In autumn, the seasonal action is to harvest. Cards replicate these actions and you'll want to grow your plants the two stages needed to be able to harvest them for their optimal points score. If you play a compost card on one of your plants, it increases its harvest value by 1 point.



Note tho' that if a plant advances a third stage, it will wither and be worth negative points. That's where the 'take that' element kicks in. You can sabotage another player by overwatering one of their plants (playing a watering can 'grow' card on a plant in their garden that was ready for harvesting). That tho' is only the beginning: a weed card can be played to another player's garden to take up one of the places in their grid. That can be removed with a spade card, but you can also play a spade to dig up one of the plants in a rival's garden. Play a flood card and you remove a full column or row of their plants! Aphids prevent a plant from growing or being harvested, tho' you can play a ladybird card to protect against or get rid of an aphid. Hail reduces a plant's points value by 1.


Even if you're the kindest and least combative of players, you're bound to adversely affect other players' gardens - if only because there will be turns when you only have attack cards in your hand. We've had games of Unbeetable with so many tit-for-tat 'take that' exchanges that none of the players managed to creep far into positive scoring territory. However, we enjoyed the game none the less for that.


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