Thar’s gold in them thar hills. Wait, what’s that you say? It’s Bloom Town, not Boom Town? Oh, one second then… Thar’s flowers in them thar hills. Is that better? All puns aside, Bloom Town by Sidekick Games, is all about building the best town. The way you do it, is unlike most tile placement games I’ve ever played. So, what makes it so unique?
What is Bloom Town like?
Bloom Town is a tile placement, city building game that uses simple turns and an interesting scoring mechanism to drive decisions.
Each turn players will choose one of the two tiles in their hand to place into their city. Each type of tile (shops, offices, parks, subways and homes) scores immediately when placed and potentially later as well. Before players place the tile anywhere all willy-nilly like, they must consider the location. Not only do they want to place the tile in such a way that it scores a lot of points, but they also will be selecting a new tile based on that location. Whatever floral symbol they cover up determines what tile will go into their hand. Players must take the face-up tile from the town square board and then flip over a new tile.
Sometimes, instead of building tile, a community tile (2 for each of the 5 building types) will flip over. If that is the first of that type of community tile then it is placed above the Town Square board and a new tile is placed into the empty space. If it is the second community tile of the same type then all players score for that type of building on their player board.
Play continues in this way until 2 or 3 of the stacks of tiles are depleted, depending on player count. In addition to the points players accumulate during the game, they also get points for one of the two tiles they have in their hand at game end. The end game scoring works the same as the rescoring (when the second community of a type is revealed). The player with the most points wins.
I really enjoy Bloom Town as it is a unique take on both tile placement and city building games. It doesn’t try to be more than it is; a 30-40 minute game. Overall, it is a solid and fun game where you have to balance the best place to place a tile for scoring and keep in mind what tile you really want to get. Since the two are linked, sometimes the best placement for points is not the best placement for grabbing a new tile. So, do you sacrifice a few points now for a few points later, or do you grab what you can while the grabbing is good?
One of the best parts of the game is the bonus tile and bonus actions that everyone gets throughout the game. Every player starts with a bonus tile that allows them to either take an extra turn, score the placed tile twice or rescore a type of building as if the second community tile had been drawn. Additionally, when players place a tile on a Blooming square then they can choose to score double for that tile or take another turn. These simple additions add the ability to take a pretty powerful turn which is always a good feeling.
On a somewhat negative point, the rescoring mechanism didn’t always sit well with me. Don’t get me wrong, I really like the game and if it was longer this probably would bother me a lot more, but since it is a 30 minute game it is only a slight annoyance. Since the tiles are randomly distributed into stacks to begin the game sometimes the community tiles are revealed really early in the game potentially leading to a rescore before many buildings are placed. That is always a bit disappointing when that happens. However, as soon as one community tile is revealed that helps the players decide which buildings to try to place since it could score quickly. So, I like it and I don’t, hence the slight annoyance comment.
The only major negatives I have for Bloom Town would be the coloring of the blue and purple buildings which cause some confusion around the table. The colors are just too easily confused for one another. The other complaint that I’ve heard is that players want to completely fill the 5×5 city. I’m sure there is a good reason for it, but that was one of the major complaints around the table.
- Unique take on tile placement and city building
- Appropriate depth for a 30-minute game
- Bonus tiles and actions add a good decision point for potentially big turns
- Unique artwork for each building tile
- The rescoring mechanism can lead to frustrations around the table
- The building colors are very similar for blue and purple
- I’ve never seen a city completely built
- Players: 2 – 4
- Playing time: 30-40 minutes
- Suggested age: 8+
A review copy of Bloom Town was supplied by Sidekick Games