Cultivate oysters, buy plants and decorations, and attract colorful fish in order to create the most beautiful undersea garden!
2-4 players, ages 8+
Playing time: 30-45 minutes
Designer: Roberta Taylor
Artwork: Kerri Aitken
Publisher: Maple Games
A game of Octopus’s Garden is played over a number of consecutive rounds, until one of the players manages to fill the last empty space in their garden, which triggers the end of the game.
Players start their turn by collecting income: for every oyster in your garden, you collect one pearl.
These pearls can be used in the next phase, either to attract a new oyster, or to buy 3 new garden tokens from the market board and place them in your garden. Doing this, you’re only allowed to buy a set of three tokens in the same row or column, which can be a gamble as at the end of your turn the market might be refilled with some nicer opportunities for the next player.
You may also opt to pass and not spend any pearls, giving you more options to possibly buy more fancier tiles on your next turn.
By planting coral and anemone tiles, colorful fish and seahorses are attracted to your garden, making it worth more points at the end of the game. You can also buy decorative relics and shells, lobsters or starfish to bring more life into their garden, however you might bring some trash back from your trip to the market, which you’ll also have to place and make you lose points at the end of the game!
Included are 8 ‘expert modules’, which offer more variety once you’re familiar with the base game and want to spice things up a bit.
Octopus’s Garden is an easy-to-grasp game with straightforward mechanics, which has everything that a good gateway game needs: it’s a perfect mix of luck and strategy, comes with wonderful relaxing artwork and gameplay’s very smooth. The market mechanism is a fun puzzle, but my favourite part is figuring out how to place new tokens in the garden optimally to get the most out of it, keeping in mind some of the animals will move and possibly even eat your oysters!
If you’re still on the lookout for a solid gateway game to add to your collection, I’d highly recommend checking this one out!