Card drafting as a mechanic never seems to wear out its welcome in the Gumbo. From 7 Wonders to Paper Tales to Sushi Geaux and to Terraforming Mars, the pick-and-pass mechanic of looking at a hand of cards and deciding which to keep and which to give to your neighbor seems as fresh as the first time I tried it.
Maybe it is because it harkens back to trick taking games of my youth, where you had to pass a card or two to the person on your left, or maybe because the more you play the particular game, the more you get into the meta of what the other players like to keep versus what you want to play. In any case, it is a mechanic that does not seem to tire me.
Flourish is a new game in the pick-and-pass world, designed by the team of James Wilson and Clarissa Wilson, who brought us Everdell. Flourish was successful on Kickstarter, and we should start seeing copies in the wild. We were fortunate enough to be provided an advance copy of the Signature Edition from Starling Games.
Flourish plays from one to seven players in about twenty-five minutes for the base game, a little longer (probably closer to 45-50 minutes) if you throw in all the additional content. From set up to teach, this is definitely one that fits in the One Hour Wonder or Half Hour Wonder category. It is set for retail release from Starling Games in 2021.
Flourish is also unique from the perspective that the game itself encourages both cooperative and competitive play. I cannot think of many games that come like that in the base box, where players can play against each other for points, or play a variant which allows them to work together to make the best garden. For purposes of this review, we played only the competitive version, because that’s just how we garden: battle arena style.