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Strawberry Sunset - A Game of Intense Garden Planning

 By Michelle D.

I love gardening. Unfortunately, even though it looks like spring outside, the nighttime temperatures are still hovering around 15*F. This makes it rather difficult to grow things. I also adore card games, especially games that focus on more peaceful themes. One night, I was surfing the internet looking for something to strike my fancy when I suddenly ran across a small game called Strawberry Sunset. It had rather good reviews, what looked like an interesting mechanic, and seemed like it would be a nice relaxing game.

I ordered a copy and decided to give it a shot.

Strawberry Sunset is affordable and extremely portable. The entire game, including the instructions, fits in a standard playing card deck sized box. Visually, this is a stunning card game. The graphics are simply gorgeous and extremely accurate. The cards themselves are printed on fantastic quality cardstock.

The game did require someone with healthy eyes in order to read all the instructions, as they are printed in a rather small font. However, the instructions are also available online at https://stellarfactory.com/pages/how-to-videos in a PDF for free.

The goal of Strawberry Sunset is simple - score the most points to win the game. This is done by growing strawberry plants, building a long walkway, making a massive reflecting pool, attracting birds and bees, and constructing a beautiful statue garden. The means can get rather complex, but in the end the goal is to score the most points while making an aesthetically pleasing garden.

There are three decks, one of root cards, one of flower cards, and one of fruit cards. The decks are all stacked on top of each other at the start of the game. Players have their own garden. Each turn, a player either draws two cards blindly from the deck or draws one card from one of the compost piles (discard piles). They must then play one card in their garden. If the player drew two cards, they discard the extra. Each deck gets its own discard pile, which allows players to draw a card specifically from that deck in the future. Cards are placed down one at a time vertically in the player’s garden. Each card must overlap at least one quadrant (called a plot) of a card already in play. They can overlap more than one plot. They can even cover another card entirely! The card just has to be played vertical and overlap at least one plot.

The game absolutely requires a large flat surface to place the cards down on. The card placement requires precision. The slightest bump of a table can shift everyone’s gardens leading to much frustration. Floors make a great option for a stable playing surface.

Strawberry Sunset is a fantastic game to help improve spatial skills and visualization. It was also far more complex than I originally thought. The first time I played this with my family there were frequent exclamations of:
"This is harder than it looks!"
"This is intense.”
"Shhh! I am thinking."

This is a game of intense garden planning that requires strategic thinking and tactical maneuvering. It is very easy to pick up and play, yet rather hard to master. Scoring can easily become a group event and is a wonderful way to encourage mathematical skills in younger kids. The game is quite replayable.

All in all I recommend Strawberry Sunset to anyone looking for a compact game that is beautiful and wants a chance to flex those brain muscles.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing! I picked up the game off Amazon for my mother’s birthday (65). She loves table games to play with her friends as well as grandkids. I think this is perfect for her! She can take it on trips, toss in her purse for a night out with the gals, play with her many grandkids, many options.