With the rubric Liberty of Thought we intend to share with you our opinion about many contents.
In this edition, we talk about the game Plantopia: The Card Game which is currently with a campaign running on Kickstarter, founded in only three hours.
We had the opportunity to run a playtesting with Daryl Chow, the game designer and part of the publisher, Origame.
Plantopia: The Card Game
Official Image - Plantopia
Game: Plantopia: The Card Game
Designer: Daryl Chow
Time: 20-30 m
Language dependency: No
Official page: https://www.origame.co/plantopia
The story behind the scenes
The action of this game is passed in a planet called Plantopia, where the characters from The Life of a Potato landed and decided to enroll in a mission of helping the locals to plant and grow some special trees to prepare a beautiful garden.
Official Image - Plantopia and Characters
Talking about the components
This time we can't actually talk about the quality of the real components, considering we didn't play with a physical copy of the game. Nevertheless, one thing we can mention about the components, is about the elements of graphical design on the cards - the artwork looks very beautiful and colorful and the characters in there look very funny.
Official Image - LeafBearTree, definitely our style
Disassembling the virtual game play
Together with the game publisher, Origame, we scheduled an online session to playtest Plantopia on Tabletopia, one of the most used platforms to play online internationally with other members of the board gaming community. To be honest, this was the first time we played a board game in online platforms at all.
We enjoy the social aspect of playing board games on a physical table and with physical components that we can set up and touch. However, we admit this is a good way to play when you can't meet with people in person. For us, it was an easy way to set up the game being played both in Portugal and in Singapore, even ignoring the huge timezone difference and the native language.
Baby Cactus - Image captured during the gameplay in Tabletopia
If you want to play the game before the Kickstarter campaign ends, be aware that there is a demo version of it on Tabletopia where you can try it out. In there you also have all you need before playing it for the first time, from the rulebook to video tutorials.
Breaking the rules
In this game you don't play by rounds and turns, there are two sequential game phases which are being alternated until the end game is triggered.
The first phase is the Planting Phase, where you can plant, grow existing plants or add a card to your hand. At first, you want new Baby Plants in your garden, playing them and paying the required cost. Then, you may want to evolve your Baby Plants to Treevolved Plants which are more valuable. No plant is lost, the evolution is a good sign that your plants are growing well in the garden!
Planting Phase - Image captured during the gameplay in Tabletopia
The second phase is the Weather Phase, where your plants will grow depending on the weather conditions by that time. There will always be five weather cards in play, being one chosen secretly by each player and the rest dealt from the deck. All weather cards are revealed and the plants that match the required criteria will grow. Some of them can even grow by more than one level, if the weather is really at their favor.
Weather Phase - Image captured during the gameplay in Tabletopia
End game condition
When one player has four Treevolved Plants in their garden after the Planting Phase, all players proceed to a last Weather Phase and the game ends immediately. Then, players score their points of all Baby Plants and Treevolved Plants to find out who wins the game, being declared the Champion Gardener of Plantopia.
In general, we can state that the game is easy to learn and also easy to play but with some level of strategy required. We think this is a great game to those who enjoy playing light card games with friends and family. It plays well for two players only, but the full game experience is probably encountered by playing it with more players - especially in the Weather Phase that can be more unpredictable in that scenario.
We enjoy games with the theme related with nature elements and this one ticks that box, even being in a foreign planet and with some very uncommon trees with special abilities and magical leaves. Mentioning the existing abilities, each specie has a different one that can give you advantage during the game or when scoring at the end of the game - we liked this kind of asymmetry.
The mechanics behind the game are interesting, from the way you have to decide which card to plant in a specific moment, or having to choose if you want to spend a turn to grow your plants, without having to wait for the Weather Phase but having to discard from the hand to achieve that.
We supported the campaign for Plantopia: The Card Game on Kickstarter and we can't wait for its production to be in progress so we can receive it physically at our home and put it on the table to play with our board gaming buddies. We sure will have a great time playing it with them.
Once again, we would like to thank Origame for the playtest opportunity and also Daryl Chow for being so prompt and for guiding us all the way through our play of Plantopia and also with the features and shortcuts of Tabletopia - you are awesome!
Daryl may have opened a new door for us about online play, at least when the matter is testing a game. We already have some of his board games in our personal collection and we are now waiting for more news on Wok and Roll also being designed by him and published by Origame.