J. Alex Kevern’s Succulent proposes this: You’re already an amazing gardener. You have no trouble raising perfect little succulents to decorate your garden with, and now you’re testing your title of Master Horticulturist against others looking to prove that they are the community’s “Premiere Succulent Gardener”. By cultivating your greenhouse and providing cuttings of your darling plants, you can impress the judges and protect your place at the top of the gardening hierarchy!
So how do we do that? Well, the game is centered on a large communal garden. The center tiles will display succulents ready for harvesting and on your turn you must do one of two things: Place a flower bed or gain a flower bed.
You start the game with 2 flower beds. When you place a bed on the board you must cover up at least 1 space and claim cutting tokens for each flower you cover. The bigger the flower bed, the more cuttings you get.
Whenever a bed gets placed next to one of yours, you get a small droplet which can be added to your green house. You can also earn big droplets (and big points) from fulfilling projects. If any space on your greenhouse is ever full you can spend those droplets in place of a cutting for that particular plant for completing projects. The smaller droplets will be discarded, but the bigger droplets stay around and make it easier to fill up that plant later, so you want to get as many big droplets as you can.
What do you do with all these cuttings and how do we get new flower beds? Glad you asked! Those projects I mentioned a moment ago are the key. There will be a row of project cards displayed next to the board. On your turn you can claim a card by placing your token on it and then gain the number of flower beds shown on the card. Each project card has a number of cuttings it needs to be completed and when you do you will earn points and possibly a reward of cuttings, droplets, flower beds, or the ability to score extra points at the end of the game.
Having your token on the card doesn’t mean it belongs to you, but it does get you a perk. By having your token on the card that is being completed (no matter who completes it), you gain a bonus large droplet.
Once a player has placed their last flower or someone has completed a number of projects based on the player count, the end game is triggered and everyone has one last round to rack up the points.
Succulent may have a relaxing theme of gardening, but it’s definitely strategic. From knowing where to place your flower beds to anticipating how the cards you can complete will gain you the resources you need for your next project, with some skillful planning and the right projects you can multiply your garden’s value many times over.
I really enjoyed the puzzle-like gameplay of Succulent and the fact that players are all working on the same board, which creates contention for spaces within the garden. The dual-layered flowerbed tiles are smartly designed, allowing you to place a bed, see what you are earning, and then place your flower token securely to mark your bed. The board becomes a beautiful collaborative garden as it fills with player’s flowers! If you’re like me and love to garden, and/or if you’re also like me and you love a good puzzly tile-laying game, then you should absolutely check out Succulent!