Review: Mini Garden

The great gardeners should create bright and colorful mini gardens as fast as possible at customers’ requests. Master Scabbers will test his apprentices to assess their abilities. As an apprentice, try your best to win the title of master of gardener!

The Good

Amazing ROI for Time and Box Size (+8)

It’s such a deep game for only a fifteen minute investment and a box that you can hold comfortably in one hand! Easily a great one to keep handy while traveling. Since each game changes with the roll of the dice, it’s difficult to get bored. The time to teach is just as fast so it breaks the barrier on playing with your non-gaming friends. I find that games that I take a long time to teach and/or learn are the most difficult to just start and stop. As long as the table is open to stopping before the end game trigger, it’s not a big deal to break a few rules. It’s also just as good by yourself as it is with a bunch of other people. If you can, full player count is a great opportunity to look around and see everyone frustrated or confident.

More Polyomino Forgiveness (+8)

I love these gardening games coming out with the concept of overlaying! Instead of tiles, you have cards that can be configured to match the customer’s request. The real puzzle is how to cover up some flowers and reveal others to meet the requirements. You’re even allowed to just stack cards if you’ve found a way to only use a few of them. In fact, cards must cover part of another card in order to be considered a valid placement. The end result, as long as it fulfills the request, doesn’t need to look pretty or make any sense.

The Bad

Hard to Confirm Legit Requests (-2)

Like other games that allow for overlaying, it’s difficult to keep the integrity of the final product intact while still checking to see if any rules have or haven’t been broken. There’s a bit of having to get to the table eye level, that person lifting up a card at a time, and then agreeing that the request was made. So, you have to count the flowers first, (okay check). Then, see if the cards were configured correctly (okay, now you get a point). Phew! But we are apprentices and collectively are the Master. The stress is real!

other than that, I couldn’t find anything else wrong with this game.

The Ugly

Slippery Cards (-1)

Going through the options of the cards and testing some drafts on fulfilling the customer requests requires quite a bit of flipping, tilting, stacking, and rotating. Unfortunately, the texture of the cards is slippery so trying to only manipulate one card is not without its difficulties. Arguably, you’re supposed to be so good at this that you wouldn’t need to do something silly like that but… I personally am not that good at this game so this happens often.

You Have it or You Don’t (0)

There are runaway leaders in this game! The skill behind this, which I have yet to identify, is not a skill that a majority of the table possessed compared to the one person that obliterated. The group was a bunch of completionists so while we knew that we didn’t have a chance to catch up, we wanted at least a definitive answer on who was the worst of us. In this sense, I do wish there was a way to access a slightly easier mode so that those of us who want to get better can train to be better. It’s much better than the alternative of just throwing up our hands and admitting we just absolutely suck at this sort of thing.

Difficulty: 3/5 for Expert
Satisfaction Grade: A- (92.5%) for Amazing
Worth Your Money? Yes.

You can purchase Mini Garden directly from the Taiwanese publisher here.