Flowers are power in the freshly-picked dice game Bloom! Roll the dice, choose a color, then circle the number of matching flowers. Each roll offers a bouquet of possibilities: Should you try to snag all of a certain color, or attempt to fill a "mixed dozen" instead? Choose wisely — the dice you pass might score for your opponents! With a little luck and a lot of pluck, you'll be the blooming best!
Designer: Wouter van Strien
Price: $9.99 Amazon.com
Bloom is a colorful roll-and-write game with a slight spatial puzzle to it. In this game, players draft dice from a central pool and circle groupings of matching flowers on their sheets. The game’s competing objectives mean players have to be strategic about where and what they circle—sometimes even taking a slight loss in order to maximize their points. It is a great game for all ages.
Roll-and-write games are all the rage right now. Bloom, the latest one from Gamewright, is about creating beautiful floral bouquets.
Like most games in this genre, Bloom‘s components are minimal. It consists of a rules pamphlet, 6 dice and a pad of 75 double-sided game sheets.
At the start of the game, each player gets a sheet. (The pad actually includes 5 different ones—each with a unique layout of flowers.) The object of the game is to earn the most points, and this is done primarily by circling groups of flowers.
To begin a round, the starting player rolls all the dice. The white die is wild, and can be used as any color.
One at a time, players draft a single die from this pool and circle that number and color of orthogonally-adjacent flowers. As an example:
This player selected the orange die. He circles a group of five adjacent, orange flowers. (White flowers are wild, and can be used as any color.)
The sheets are divided into six sectors called “garden beds.” When circling flowers, players may cross over from one garden bed to another. If a player circles every flower in a garden bed, he checks off the leftmost box on his sheet. Each checked box is worth points at the end of the game, and the values increase each time.
In addition to completing garden beds, if a player circles all the flowers of one color, he may be eligible for a bonus. Suppose a player just circled his last yellow flower. If he is the first to do so, he earns 6 points (recorded on the upper-right section of the sheet) and all opponents cross off the yellow 6 on their sheets. The next player to complete this color will earn 4 points, and the third will earn 2.
Sometimes, a player will not be able to circle the exact-right grouping of flowers. Players can choose to circle less flowers or different flowers than the die requires, but each such flower will cost the player a point at the end of the game. To illustrate:
Here, the player took a yellow 6 and circled the grouping in the lower garden bed. He could have chosen to circle only the 4 adjacent yellow flowers, but doing so would have cost him 2 points, since he would have been 2 flowers short. Instead, he circles the grouping shown, which includes 1 “wrong” flower. By doing it this way, he will only lose 1 point, and he is now that much closer to completing his second garden bed! (Note the tick-mark next to the sad face, signifying the lost point.)
Players are allowed one re-roll each game, but they earn an extra point if they do not use it. The game ends when a player has completed 4 garden beds, or when a player has circled 3 numbers in the color section. At that time, the player with the highest score wins!
Bloom is a neat little game. I expect it will have a very broad appeal thanks to its simplicity, speed, replayability, and portability. Its colorful look is vibrant and attractive—just the kind of game I would like to pull out on a rainy day.
It’s clear that the sheets were designed and arranged very intentionally, so as to create interesting decisions. The flowers are laid out in such a way that the maximum number a player can circle without taking a loss is 5 (4 of a color + 1 white one). Given that players want to circle as many flowers as possible to complete garden beds and colors, a die result of 6 seems optimal, since it lets players cover the most ground. However, they will have to weigh their options to decide if it is worth it to take a slight loss. (Pro tip: If it means you can steal a 6-point color bonus away from someone else, it’s totally worth it.)
I enjoy the spatial aspect of this game. It is a laid-back, tactical puzzle, which really appeals to my tastes. Bloom is a great entry in Gamewright’s catalog, fun for all ages. If you enjoy roll-and-write games, definitely check this one out!
A review copy was provided by Gamewright.
+ Simple ruleset, with interesting tactical decisions
+ Low price point
+ Attractive components
+ Highly portable and replayable
- May start to feel repetitive after many plays