Time to set up the window display in your little flower shop!
What Is The Little Flower Shop Dice Game?
The Little Flower Shop Dice Game is for 1 to 4 players, ages 14 and up, and takes about 30 minutes to play. It’s currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, with a pledge level of $20 for a copy of the game. This is a dice-based version of The Little Flower Shop, a card game published in 2018; it has the same theme, but the mechanics are new.
The Little Flower Shop Dice Game was designed by Stephen Finn and published by Dr. Finn’s Games, with illustrations by Akha Hulzebos.
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The Little Flower Shop Dice Game Components
Note: My review is based on a prototype copy, so it is subject to change and may not reflect final component quality.
Here’s what comes in the box:
- 32 Arrangement tiles
- 16 Flower dice
- 4 Vase dice
- 4 Initiative dice
- 4 Shop boards
- 10 Ribbon tokens
- 20 Wild tokens
- 6 Task cards
- 48 Money cards (12 each in denominations from $1 to $4)
- 4 Basket tiles
Each arrangement tile has a combination of a vase, some number of flowers, and a knickknack (embroidered signs, plush animals, and so on)., and they’re worth 3 to 7 points when completed. The back of the tile is green and has simple icons, and the front shows the illustration of the completed arrangement, ready to be placed in your shop window. There’s a “wild” flower icon that can be fulfilled with any flower, but it can be a little confusing at first because both the icon and the illustration show a multicolored flower. I like the way the finished illustrations look, but the icon side isn’t particularly attractive to me—it’s mostly functional.
There are three different types of flowers and three types of vases—each one shows up twice on their respective dice. The dice use the icons seen on the back of the arrangement tiles. The prototype uses printed dice; I always prefer engraved dice simply because there’s less chance of the images rubbing off, but I’m not sure if there are any plans to use engraved dice in the finished version.
The initiative dice are plain yellow dice with a black number—I’m not sure if these will be changed in appearance at all in the finished version. Each of the initiative dice is unique, so that each player has an equal chance of being first, but there will never be any ties. It’s a clever way to set turn order each round without having re-rolls or tie-breakers.
Each player board is made to look like the empty shop window with a few shelves—there are spaces for 6 arrangements on it, and you can see “into” the shop on the left edge of the board. There are some highlighted spaces on the illustrated portion for storing your wild tokens, though I admit I didn’t even see those until I was taking close-up photos.
The money cards are half-sized cards, in four different colors with their denominations printed on them: simple, but effective.
How to Play The Little Flower Shop Dice Game
The goal of the game is to score the most points by completing arrangements and meeting the task card requirements.
Shuffle the arrangement tiles and make a row of tiles, 1 more than the player count. Below that, place 1 money card per player as the salary cards (the values used will depend on the player count). Put the rest of the money, ribbons, and wild tokens nearby. Randomly draw one task card and place it face-up nearby, returning the rest to the box.
Each player receives a shop board, 4 flower dice, 1 vase die, 1 initiative die, 1 basket, and $5.
The game is played over the course of 6 “days,” and each day players will roll dice to work on arrangements.
First, everyone rolls their dice simultaneously. The initiative dice determines the player turn order, from high to low.
On your turn, you lock 1 or 2 dice for free by placing them into your basket. You may lock more dice by paying $1 per additional die, or you may pay $1 to lock no dice. If you have any remaining unlocked dice after this step, your turn is over.
If you have locked all of your dice (including the initiative die), then you proceed to the other steps. First, you take the lowest salary card available. Then, you must take one arrangement tile from the row and place it in your shop, icon side up. Once placed, you may not move arrangement tiles to other spaces.
Finally, you use your dice, money, and tokens. (Note that your initiative die may not be spent during this part.)
- You may spend 1 die to gain $1.
- You may spend 2 dice or $3 to gain a wild token.
- You may spend dice and tokens to build an arrangement.
- You may spend $5 when you complete an arrangement to add a ribbon to it.
To complete an arrangement, you must have enough dice or tokens to meet all of the vase and flower requirements. You cannot save dice to be used later, so you have to complete the arrangement all at once. Once completed, the arrangement is flipped over to its illustration side.
After each player has had a turn, if any players still have unlocked dice remaining, they go back to the “roll dice” step and roll all of their unlocked dice. This repeats until all players have locked all their dice and spent dice and money, and then the day ends.
At the end of the day, refill the row of arrangement tiles and place new salary cards out and start again.
The game ends at the end of the 6th day. Players get the points shown for each completed arrangement, plus 1 point per ribbon, and they score for the task card.
Each task card has one scoring condition for rows and another for columns. For instance, you might get points for a row that has exactly 1 embroidered sign, or a row that has exactly 10 flowers in it. Columns might want the same knickknack, or different vases, or no plush animals.
The highest score wins, with ties going to the player with more money, and then more wild tokens remaining.
Why You Should Play The Little Flower Shop Dice Game
I haven’t played the card game version so I can’t really do a compare and contrast. The one thing I know is that the card game uses vase cards, and you tuck flower cards behind them to create arrangements. In the dice version, the floral arrangements are preset (including the knickknack), so it’s more about getting your dice to line up so you can match them.
The dice-rolling is a bit like Yahtzee-style: you roll, pick a couple to lock, and then roll some more, hoping to get a nice combination. Unlike Yahtzee, though, once you’ve locked a die, you can’t unlock it. You’re also required to lock one or two unless you spend money, so that changes things up a little. If you have a good roll and several of your dice match an arrangement you want, you could spend the money to lock more of them down. If you roll poorly, you can spend money to lock nothing and keep your options open.
Where it gets tricky is that player turns overlap. If you lock in a blue vase, then everyone knows that you’re hoping to get a particular arrangement. If somebody else spends more money to lock their dice sooner, they could snatch that arrangement out from under you. If you want to hedge your bets and only lock one die at a time, you may be left with only two options by the time all your dice are locked. The salary is also an interesting factor, because the earlier you finish, the less you get paid. That’s a double hit if you spent money to lock more dice—you may get first pick of arrangements, but you’ll be getting the lowest salary, which gives you less flexibility for the following day. Money is pretty tight in the game—you can sell dice for $1, but you can’t buy much for only a dollar.
I really liked that aspect of the game, though, figuring out when to speed up and when to slow down (and how much to risk spending). Just reading the rules, I wasn’t sure why it would cost money to lock more dice and to lock fewer dice, but once we started playing, I could see that sometimes there are advantages to each, and balancing your choice of arrangements with the amount of salary you’ll receive can result in some tough decisions.
Of course, luck still plays a big factor in the game because, after all, it’s a dice game. If you’re almost ready to pick up a flower arrangement and just need to lock in your last two dice, but then you roll poorly for initiative, it gives other players an opportunity to sneak in before you. Or you might pay not to lock dice because you don’t like your roll, only to roll the same thing again—in which case you’re out a dollar and no better off than before.
While you don’t directly interact with the other player’s shops, it pays to keep an eye on what everyone’s doing. Depending on what’s available from the market, you can start narrowing down which arrangements other players are aiming for, and figure out whether your own options are at risk. The tasks will also influence what people want to take, so that’s something else to pay attention to. If the goal is to have different knickknacks and your rival already has a candlestick in each row, then maybe you don’t need to worry too much about them stealing that other arrangement with a candlestick.
The game’s mechanics don’t necessarily tie into the theme very closely—it’s weird that only one flower shop could make any given arrangement, and it’s not clear how the random dice rolls are tied to the vases and flowers you’d be acquiring for your store. Mostly it’s just a light dice game about getting sets of icons, with a bit of theme just to add some color.
Overall, I found The Little Flower Shop Dice Game to be intriguing, with some tricky decisions to make that I liked, but it didn’t click as well with the friends I played it with. I think the theme and mechanics don’t make it immediately intuitive, nor does the concept of paying both to lock more dice or zero dice. But if you like Yahtzee-style dice games, you may enjoy the way this one interweaves player turns, upping the stakes of each roll.
For more information or to make a pledge, visit the Little Flower Shop Dice Game Kickstarter page!
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Disclosure: GeekDad received a prototype of this game for review purposes.