The Legend of the Cherry Tree That Blossoms Every Ten Years (Brandon Kempf)
The Legend of the Cherry Tree That Blossoms Every Ten Years
Designed by Hinata Origushi
Illustrations by Sylvain Sarrailh
Published by Iello Games
The What Did You Play This Week Podcast was provided with a review copy of The Legend of the Cherry Tree That Blossoms Every Ten Years by the publisher, Iello, in return for a review.
Legend has it that there is a tree, a cherry tree, and this tree is special because of the fact that it only blossoms every ten years. When this legendary cherry tree blossoms, the flowers are so beautiful that people will rush from all around to collect them after they fall to enjoy their beauty before the blossoms wither away.
In the game The Legend of the Cherry Tree That Blossoms Every Ten Years, you are trying to collect as many blossoms as possible to score the most points, but beware, the tree knows when you are being greedy and will punish you.
The Legend of the Cherry Tree That Blossoms Every Ten Years is a push your luck, set collection game. On a player’s turn they are going to reach into a bag filled with flowers and draw at least 1 flower. The player may do this a maximum of three times and they may draw out a maximum of eight flowers total. After each time that you draw, you see if you have failed to successfully collect flowers. There are two ways the player can fail, if they have collected three flowers of the same color, or if you have collected five different colored flowers. If neither of those two fail conditions is met, you can decide to draw again or you can stop and you can go to the display flowers step.
In the Display step, if you failed to collect, never fear, you still get something. First all the black flowers are going to go back into the bag, if your too greedy you don’t get to keep those. Then you get to choose two different colored flowers to keep in front of your player screen. You see, you are collecting sets of flowers in two different ways. In front of your screen you are collecting sets of different colors and they are scored not unlike Lost Cities, where sometimes you are better off not even starting a set since one flower of a color will score you -3 points, 2 flowers will score you -1 point, it’s not until you have 3 of a kind where you will score positively. If you are successful in your collection you do things a bit different. First, you check to see if you activated any of the Mastery Cards that are on display, the game comes with three of them that are double sided, the Blue side is for the “classic” game and the Pink side is for the more “advanced” game. If you trigger one of these take that action and then after, pick one color from your successfully collected flowers and place all of that color behind your screen and the rest will go in front of your screen. Flowers collected behind your screen are scored based on majorities, with the person who collected the most Warm Colored flowers, yellow and pink, scoring a set amount of points and the person who collected the most Cool Colored flowers, Dark Blue and Light Blue, gets a set amount of points. Behind your screen, white flowers and black flowers count as wilds and can be placed with either group. Second place and third place can also score points in the three and four player game.
The game ends at the end of the turn of the player who displays the last of the flowers from the draw bag, whoever has the most points is the winner.
Iello Games has a really good habit of releasing these lighter, almost gateway-ish games and giving them a an absolutely beautiful presentation. As one would imagine, they have done this here with The Legend of the Cherry Tree That Blossoms Every Ten Years. The presentation is absolutely flawless, from the beautiful little plastic flowers to the bag from which you draw the flowers from. My only complaint might be that bag, it’s almost too small for my hands, but it looks wonderful.
Push your luck games aren’t always the most popular games with the “gamer” crowd, but when done right I think people are attracted to them, and this one is done correctly. It’s light, it has some fun decision making going on, when to pull or how many to pull out of the bag. It’s fun to sometimes have the all or nothing attitude and just pull eight flowers all at once and hope against all odds that you pull out the right combination to not bust, but even if you do bust, you always get to keep a couple flowers, so you don’t feel as if you’ve completely wasted your turn and have to go back to zero like some push your luck games like to do. Late in the game you may start to feel a bit behind, so you do your best to remember things that have been saved, but remember, you don’t get to see everything, some information is hidden behind those screens, so you might be forgiven in thinking there were more pink flowers in the bag than there really are when you pull out your third dark blue instead. The mastery cards are fun and depending on what side you use can have some ways to both hide information from your opponents and even interact with your opponents a bit. It’s always fun to give an opponent that first flower of a certain color late in the game. I will admit though that the mastery cards were kind of difficult to remember the first couple plays, but they become second nature pretty quickly.
So, who is The Legend of the Cherry Tree That Blossoms Every Ten Years for? Well, according to the box it’s for players 8 and up and will play in about 20 minutes. I think that’s pretty spot on, with our 4 player games going even faster than that. Once again, this games isn’t going to be the centerpiece to an evening of gaming for a majority of people, but it can be an absolutely delightful filler or evening starter to get everyone in the right mood. The fantastic table appeal will surely draw in gamers of all ages to at least take a look and maybe try to collect the most flowers that fall from this legendary cherry tree.