Bloom is a game by Wouter van Strien, published by Gamewright Games. It is for 1-5 players. In this game, players take on the roll of flower shop owner. They’ll be trying to make the best bouquets for their customers by collecting similar flowers and placing them together. Of course great planning is key. Too many bad choices can spoil the bunch costing them points. In the end, the best floral arranger will be declared the winner.
To begin, each player is given a random sheet from the pad of game sheets along with a pen or pencil. Each sheet is marked with a letter in the bottom right corner from A to E. Each player should have a different letter. The 6 dice are placed in the middle of the play area. The first player is chosen and play now begins.
The game is played over several rounds. Each round is divided into 3 steps. The first step is to roll the 6 dice. The first player takes all 6 of the dice and rolls them to create a shared pool of customer dice.
For the second step, the players will take turns choosing customers and making bouquets. To do this, the players will take turns choosing 1 of the customer dice from the pool, starting with the first player and continuing in turn order. Once a player has chosen a die, they will remove it from the pool and then circle the exact number of flowers equal to the value of their chosen die. It should be noted, players are allowed to only circle flowers that are horizontally or vertically adjacent to each other. They may also circle flowers in adjacent garden beds. They are also able to circle fewer flowers than the value of their die, but this will result in unhappy customers, more on them in a bit. Instead of using one of the colored dice, the player has the option of using the clear die, which is the wild die. When choosing this die, the player choose the color of the customer that they wish to use and then circles that many flowers of that color. Players may notice that some sheets have white flowers on them. These may be used as any color and can be combined with flowers of any color. Earlier I mentioned unhappy customers, customers become unhappy when the player circles flowers in a different color than the chosen die or when there are less flowers circled than the number on the die. A tick mark is added to the unhappy customer section of the player’s sheet fore each unwanted or missing flower. At the end of the game, these tick marks subtract 1 point from the player’s score. If a player is ever able to circle all the flowers of the same color, they can shout, “Bouquet!” This allows them to circle the highest available number in the scoring section for that particular color. The other players must then cross this number off their sheet. Earlier I mentioned garden beds, these are the 6 sections of flowers that are divided off on a player’s sheet. If a player is able to circle all 12 flowers in a garden bed, they may then circle the first available number in the “garden beds” section of their sheet. One last thing should be noted, once per game players have the option to re-roll all the remaining dice that are available to them on their turn. Once this power has been used, the players must cross off the re-roll icon on their sheet. If their re-roll is not used, it gives them 1 point at the end of the game.
The third and final step is the end of a round. Once all players have taken a die and circled flowers, the round ends. The 6 dice are collected and then given to the next player in turn order. That player becomes the new first player and a new round begins.
The game continues until either one player has circled 3 numbers in their color section or one player has circled the fourth number in their garden bed section of their sheet. If either of these happens, the round should be finished so that every player has had the same number of turns. Final scoring will then occur. Players score points for all the circled numbers in their color section, for all the circled numbers in their garden bed section, for not using their re-roll ability. Points are subtracted for each tick mark in the unhappy customer section. Players add up all their points and the player with the most points is the winner.
There’s not really a lot to this game as far as components go. There are 6 brightly colored dice. Each of these is almost a pastel color, except for the clear one which is more frosted than actually clear. The corners of these dice are rounded and they are very high quality. The other thing that comes with the game is the pad of score sheets. This is a pretty thick pad of colored paper. Each sheet is double sided and there are 5 different sheet types from A to E, noted in the bottom right corner. I will note that several of my sheets were already coming off the pad and some had started rolling up on the end. Not the greatest thing in the world but it’s thin paper so what’re you gonna do? The box that the game comes in is one of those magnetic close lid boxes. It’s a little larger than your hand, unless you’re Andre the Giant. In that case, it’s pocket sized. The one thing that I’m not really understanding is that there’s nothing to write with in the box. You have to provide your own writing utensils. There could have at least been a little golf pencil or two in there. There would have been plenty of room in the box, even with the rules. That I don’t get, but maybe that’s just how these types of games are done. I’ll be honest, I had never played a roll and write game before this one, so I don’t know what to expect from other games like this. I will say that I like the dice but honestly the box and the sheets are a little meh for me. I’m really not that impressed overall. However, I will say that it’s a small little game that can be carried anywhere so there’s that. Maybe I’m just too spoiled with large box miniature games with wooden components and metal coins. That’s probably true. In any event, the simplicity of this is one that I’m sure roll and write gamers will like. For me, it’s just ok.
7 out of 10
The rules for this game come on a double sided glossy sheet of folded paper. The paper is fairly thick and durable. There are lots of pictures and examples on the sheet and everything is super simple to read through and understand. Each step of the game is explained in great detail. The rules even come with instructions for playing the game solo. I’m very appreciative of that. To be honest, there’s not really much that I can complain about as far as the rules go. After reading over everything in just a couple of minutes, you’re pretty much ready to go. I don’t really remember having to look back at any of the rules while playing the game so apparently the rules are easy to remember too. At least this part of the game, I’m impressed with. Very well done.
9 out of 10
Over the years I’ve played a lot of different games and learned a lot of different mechanics. This game was my first foray into Roll and Write games. I can’t say that I’d ever been interested in this particular mechanic before. Of course that was before I gave this game a go. The simplicity and ease of play of this little game is quite nice. It’s pretty fun and isn’t all that hard to play. That said, there’s still plenty of challenge to the game. Lots of choices from picking your customer die to how to use that die on your own sheet. The fact that there are several different sheet types so that no 2 players will have the same layout is pretty smart. The game is really quick and simple and is one that even the younger players can join in on, making it a great little family game. I’ve played this one several times with my daughter and she really enjoyed choosing dice and picking flowers. I think the bright colors really helped hold her attention a little longer than normal. Thankfully the game is so quick that we were finished each time before she started getting tired of playing. Another thing that I found helpful was that she could draw on her own sheet. Most games are simply move here, do this, play this card, etc… but with this one she felt like she was actually a part of the game. Granted the graphics and the production value aren’t over the top, this is still a great little filler game that the whole family can enjoy. I think fans of roll and write games will enjoy this one. As a complete newbie to the mechanic, I can say that I really enjoyed playing this one. This is one that I would recommend.
8 out of 10
Bloom is a light weight filler roll and write style dice game that has players collecting bouquets of flowers to earn points. The game is simple and doesn’t take long at all. Most game sessions are done in around 20 minutes or so. The components are bright and colorful but aren’t over the top in terms of quality. They’re pretty simplistic but functional. The rulebook is very well written and is easy to understand. A few minutes reading over everything and you’ll be ready to go with no trouble. The game itself is fairly simply and easy to play while being enjoyable at the same time. This is one that the whole family can enjoy, even the younger kids. The size of the box makes this one easy to carry around. The small table presence makes it possible to be played virtually anywhere. The game is cute and fun without too much complex strategy involved. Fans of roll and write games should enjoy this one, as well as players that are looking for a quick and easy filler game. This is one that I would recommend. If you don’t think that you’ll like this one, try it….it’ll grow on you.
8 out of 10
For more information about this and other great games, please check out Gamewright at their site.