Full disclosure: A preview copy of The Little Flower Shop Dice Game was provided by Dr. Finn’s Games. Some art, gameplay, or other aspects of the game may change between this preview and the fulfillment of the Kickstarter, should it fund, as this is a preview of a currently unreleased game.
It’s just gonna be a busy month. I’ve been plugging away on a number of games for y’all, and it’s looking to be Kickstarter Season in spades, soon. The big hitters this month are looking to be Ta-Te and Sunrise Tornado, and Dr. Finn. Dr. Finn is doing 4 games this month! I covered another two games for last year’s Kickstarter (Nanga Parbat and Mining Colony), and I’m doing a couple again this time, starting with The Little Flower Shop Dice Game. Let’s dive right in and see what’s up!
You’re building up another flower shop! You’ve gotten pretty good at it, so you’re focusing on your displays and trying to impress the other florists nearby. It’s going to take all of your initiative if you’re going to get things right, but remember to stick the details! Every floral arrangement needs a vase, some flowers, and maybe a ribbon, if you’re really feeling it. Just be careful! You don’t want to put up the same arrangement as someone else, so if another player beats you to it, you’re really just not going to do that. Will you be able to make a display that delights all your visitors?
Each player is going to start by taking their starting supplies. This includes a shop:
It also includes a basket:
Four flower dice, a vase die, and an initiative die:
And $5 in money cards:
Shuffle the arrangement tiles and place X of them face-up in a row. X, here, is the number of players + 1. Leave the arrangement tile stack such that the tiles are face-up.
Shuffle the Task Cards and reveal one:
Place the ribbons and wild tokens in a supply:
Create a supply for the rest of the money, and make a Salary Row depending on your player count:
- 2 players: Place a $3 and a $1 in the Salary Row
- 3 players: Place a $3, $2, and a $1 in the Salary Row
- 4 players: Place a $4, $3, $2, and a $1 in the Salary Row
You should be ready to start!
In The Little Flower Shop Dice Game, you’re making a flower shop! Do that, fulfill some tasks, and have the nicest shop in town.
A game takes six rounds (days) from start to finish, each day having two major phases.
To start, players roll all of their “unlocked” dice. All dice start a day unlocked, and are gradually locked by players during the “Take Turns” Phase. Turns are taken in initiative order, based on the number on their initiative dice. Once all players have rolled, move on to the Take Turns phase.
This phase takes place over 4 steps. Until all of your dice are locked, you can only perform Step 1: Lock Dice. Once you’ve locked all of your dice, you can move on to steps 2 – 4.
Step 1: Lock Dice
During this step, players must place 1 – 2 dice inside of their basket to lock them. Once locked, dice cannot be rerolled until the next day.
There are a few exceptions!
If you want to lock more than 2 dice, you must pay $1 for each die you lock after the second one.
If you would like to skip locking dice, you must pay $1. In that case, none of your dice are locked.
If you have any unlocked dice remaining, at this point, your turn ends. If you have locked all of your dice, you may move on to Step 2. Note that this means that even if you go first, if you haven’t locked all of your dice, you may go after other players.
Step 2: Earn Salary
Take the lowest-value salary card from the salary card row, and move on to Step 3. This is a very easy step!
Step 3: Take Arrangement Tile
Choose any arrangement rile from the row of available tiles and place it on any open spot in your shop, icon side up. This is also an easy step!
Keep in mind that once you place a tile, you cannot move it.
Step 4: Use Dice and Money
Now, you can use those dice and your money! Except the Initiative Die. It’s done what it needed to do; you can set it aside.
You can use each die exactly once, and all spent money is returned to the supply. Here’s what you can do with them! You can do the same action more than once.
- Finish Arrangements: You can spend dice to finish an arrangement, provided you either have all the dice needed to match the flowers and dice on the tile, or you can make up the difference with wild tokens. Once you’ve finished a tile, flip it to its illustrated side.
- Take a Wild Token: You may spend two dice to take a wild token. You can have a maximum of 5.
- Buy a Wild Token: You may spend $3 to take a wild token. You can have a maximum of 5.
- Take Money: You may spend a die to take $1.
- Buy Ribbon: Upon the completion of an arrangement, you can purchase a ribbon for $5. You cannot purchase a ribbon any time other than immediately after completing an arrangement. If you do, place the ribbon on the arrangement. Each ribbon is worth 1 additional point at the end of the game.
If you can’t finish an arrangement, it stays face-down! You can potentially finish it later.
After completing this step, wait until every player has completed Phase 2, and then move on to the end of the round.
End of Round
At the end of the round, discard the remaining arrangement tile. Then, refill the arrangement tile row as you did in setup and then replace the salary cards, again, as you did in setup.
Start a new round! Unless you just finished the sixth round in which case the game ends.
End of Game
At the end of the game, remove any tiles you haven’t finished, and then sum your points!
- Points from finished arrangements.
- Ribbons: Score 1 point per ribbon.
- Task Cards: Score points for completed task card tasks.
The player with the most points wins!
Player Count Differences
Not a ton, frankly. The game itself plays essentially identically, but as the player count increases, you run an increased risk of there just being more players who are vying for the tile you want. That’s kind of the trouble of games where you’re only adding one extra tile as your player count increases; the player-to-tile ratio becomes increasingly unfriendly. At two, you’ve basically got 1.5 tiles per player. At four, you’re looking at 1.25, tops. This may not feel like much, but it’s definitely intense when you’ve got three other players all looking at the tile you need to score bonus points. The nice thing is that the initiative dice are made such that there aren’t ties, so you don’t have to worry about that, but you may have to either get a bit more flexible or rush it if you want to get to a tile before the horde of other players can. That all said, I don’t feel like it’s that much of a problem; it’s just something to be aware of from game to game. I don’t have a huge preference for The Little Flower Shop Dice Game’s various player counts; at every count, it’s a quick, light, and simple dice game without a ton of additional frills.
- Locking in an early high-value Initiative Die seems like the move, since you always get to go first, but it may be worth locking in a lower value to see what your opponents are going to do so you can play reactively. Locking in a high-value die is pretty great if you’re trying to beat your opponent to the punch on a tile, but if you lock it in too early, you might end up giving your opponent an edge. Consider a scenario where you go first but don’t finish locking in your tiles. Now, the advantage goes to the player who goes after you! That player can lock the rest of their dice in now that they’ve seen you’re not going to. It depends on how you lock your dice on your turn.
- Snaking your opponent out of a tile that they need might be key to winning, even if it doesn’t feel great. It’s probably a good idea to take a tile that your opponent is going after. It might be what they need to complete a Task Card, or just one that they’ve already locked a bunch of dice in place for. That should mess up their turn enough that they might have to settle for a much less valuable tile. That’s good for you!
- The tough call is usually deciding if you want to buy a Wild token or a Ribbon on your turn. Ribbons are more points-valuable, but Wild tokens can help you shore up the gap between scoring a tile or not, yeah? Wild tokens just cost less, but they’re pretty useful! You can usually also spend a die or two to buy a Wild token, if need be.
- Try to complete all your tiles so that you can qualify for task bonuses. Any incomplete tiles will render you ineligible for your row or column task bonuses. So you might as well try to make sure you can maximize the small bonuses you can get from this. A small bonus may not seem like much, but, you’re not really getting a huge ton of points in the game anyways, so, the occasional bonus points help.
- It’s honestly not the worst thing to spend money to avoid locking dice. Sometimes your rolls are just terrible. Really, they just suck. That’s how things work. Rather than locking down dice that aren’t very good, just spend the $1 to avoid locking down trash dice. You’ll be able to have new options next turn when you can roll them again. Flexibility is pretty key.
- If you’ve got options, it’s also not a huge problem to wait until the salary cards are more valuable. Making additional money from the salary cards is an obvious good, but sacrificing valuable placement in the turn order might not be worth it. If you’re flexible enough that that’s not a problem for you, however, then feel free to drag your feet a bit so you can get more money.
- Even if you can’t complete them right away, it might be worth taking a tile to lock in your Task Card options, rather than risking them not coming up again. You can get some pretty critical points if you can lock in the appropriate tiles for a task card, and if you aren’t quick to do so, you’ll have to rely on tile luck for them to come up again in the future. That’s … risky. Just make sure you don’t take too many tiles that are unattainable, otherwise you’ll miss out on points and the Task Card.
Pros, Mehs, and Cons
- I kind of love the initiative die? It’s a great conceit, being honest. They do that thing where all of the numbers are unique, and I like that you use that to determine the turn order. Basically everything is dice! So that’s fun. Love that for us.
- The gradual, asymmetric locking of dice is pretty clever. This is, I think, the core of the game. You, the player, have to choose which dice you lock in place, keeping an eye on your flexible turn ordering and the racing mechanic of all the other players trying to get tiles before you can steal the ones they need! It’s a relatively simple and straightforward mechanic for a dice game, but I think it comes together quickly and nicely.
- The actual flower shops are cute and kitschy, which I enjoy. They remind me of places near where I used to grow up. There was a place called the Country Peddler, which was extremely kitschy, but I do have fond memories of that place. This is definitely more floral than that place, but there was a florist basically across the street. I think it’s definitely a cute little game that’s in the same vein as some games like Herbaceous. There’s definitely a good group of wholesome, cute games, and I think that’s solid.
- I appreciate that Finn’s games tend to be easy to learn. You’re not really dealing with a lot more than what you roll each round, which is nice. You can plan a bit by buying wild tokens and ribbons and planning how you get money, but it’s not an especially complex set of rules happening round to round. This is pretty consistent across most of the Dr. Finn’s titles that I’ve tried, and it’s just something that I appreciate.
- The fairly consistent box size is also nice. Makes the games easy to transport. I just really like when box sizes are the same across everything a publishers make. It makes it easy to have one shelf for all of their stuff! Otherwise, I’m just placing all this stuff haphazardly around my board game space. Having a few different sizes is fine, as well, but there are a number of publishers that have a wild number of box sizes and that makes my space hard to organize. I appreciate the consistency!
- The art style is pleasant and inviting. I mentioned how cute and kitschy the shops are, and I think the art helps a lot with that! It’s realistic without being too intense, and it definitely does a good job making you think “ah, yes, this shelf needs more candlesticks or whatever”. It’s an upbeat and bright art style, and, you know, I like it!
- You should likely emphasize that the first player to lock their dice moves into the subsequent phases of the turn, regardless of initiative. It’s easy to miss. It’s not really a problem, more of a “this is something you should specifically call out when you teach the game, as it will eventually be important to someone’s strategy”. It’s a bit weird, since you’d potentially expect that players all roll dice until they’re all locked, but honestly, it makes more sense this way. Give players something to do.
- I was very worried early in the game as to how you keep track of six rounds, and then I realized I’m just stupid. I was very worried about this! There’s no round tracker! And then I realized the tiles work as a round tracker, since when your shop is filled, you’re done. This took me a very long time. Like, this is the last thing I wrote in the review, essentially, because it took me that long to realize it.
- I kind of wish the Task Cards were individual or there were at least multiple to choose (or drafted) than just having one that applies to everyone. The tasks are fairly simple, but it almost feels a bit limiting to only have one to start the game. I tend to be a big fan of personal goals (especially secret goals) since it makes it harder for other players to sneak up on you and clown you. Given that there are only six Task Cards in the whole game, I mean, you probably can’t give too many distinct combinations of Task Cards to every player, but that’s just, you know, my preference.
- If you’re not a big fan of dice games due to the luck component, this isn’t really going to change your mind. It’s a fairly light dice game with some equally-light luck mitigation. You can trade some dice you hate for wild tokens, but if you have a truly bad turn, you kind of just need to make the best of it or hope you can fix it with money. I don’t think this game’s going to turn a dice-hater into a fan of the genre, but it’s a cute and fun little game nonetheless. I just note that there’s a solid luck component here, which may not be for everyone.
Overall: 7 / 10
Overall, I had fun with The Little Flower Shop Dice Game! It’s probably, being honest, a bit simpler than what I’m traditionally looking for in a 30 minute game, but a bit more complex than what I would like from something in the 15 – 20 minute range. And that’s not bad! I think I would love if this split either a bit simpler or a bit deeper, but I’m not mad about where it currently is. It fits quite nicely, as I mentioned earlier, into a classification of games with similar themes. I could see this, Herbaceous, Sunset Over Water, maybe even Chai in a bunch of games that aren’t too tough to learn but have pleasant, relaxing themes. The dice will add an element of luck to the resource collection process, but unless you have a truly tough roll, you’ll generally be able to mitigate things enough that you can get most of what you want (or you’ll just be broke and trying to make things work with … less money). I think that The Little Flower Shop Dice Game does some great work in the asymmetry of locking dice, however! That’s probably my favorite thing about it. I like that players need to smartly manipulate their turn order and strategize around who is ahead of them, who has locked more dice, and who will go next. That bit of strategy is just enough to keep the game pretty consistently pleasant and interesting. This is the right level of game that I’d consider giving as a gift, as well; it’s not so complex that new folks would struggle with it, and the theme is pleasant enough that it would appeal to a lot of folks. Anyways, this is all to say that I found The Little Flower Shop Dice Game to be an overall pleasant experience, and if you’re looking for a light dice game, a game with a cute theme, or just something that’s not especially complex, this one might be right up your alley.
If you enjoyed this review and would like to support What’s Eric Playing? in the future, please check out my Patreon. Thanks for reading!