Tulips are a thing of beauty and my wifes flower of choice when I want to surprise her. Gift of Tulips from designer Sara Perry is a competitive flower game that revolves around a festival of these gorgeous flowers. The game sets itself apart with a giving mechanic that can be very lucrative.
A Festival of Color
Up to 6 players are competing to create a point-filled bouquet of tulips. In the center of the table is a market that gives each of the 4 tulip colors their value. Each game starts with 2 flowers being added to the display, setting an initial value for those two colors.
Gift of Tulips gives players 3 options on their turn when picking a card off the top of the deck.
Keep a Tulip: Add the new tulip card to your bouquet of flowers in front of you. If you keep a tulip that is ranked 3rd or 4th, you’ll receive points for keeping this less than desirable card.
Add to the Festival: Take the drawn card and add it to the festival display in the center of the table. You can add the card publicly, possibly adjusting the tulip market. Or you can add it to the secret festival. This is a facedown stack of cards that will influence the tulip values at the end of the game.
Give a Tulip: Gift the drawn card to another player at the table. If you give a tulip that is ranked high in the market, you’ll earn extra points on top of the value that is listed on that tulips card.
On a turn, a player will draw one card and take one of these actions, then draw a second card and choose a different action. This gameplay loop is so easy to teach and quick to pick up. It’s deciding what to do with that beautiful tulip that can be tough.
Tis’ Better to Give?
Gift of Tulips places players in an interesting predicament. At the end of the game, players will earn points for having the most flowers in the 4 different colors. The flower colors in 1st and 2nd place are worth the most while the last place flower is worth nothing.
But, gifting the flowers that are at the top of the market is an immediate boost to your score. Could these gifted flowers put your opponents in a position to take a massive amount of end game points?
I love the psychology behind Gift of Tulips as the game unfolds. Players are looking for ways to gift flowers to their least likely competition as they earn points. The market can easily shift with one or two turns around the table depending on the choices of the other players. I really enjoy playing the game with players who understand the effects of their actions. Each turn is methodical and everyone is making sure they don’t hand a win to another player.
The secret festival stack is a really clever way for players to influence the tulip market before points are awarded. This pile of facedown cards that players can add to gets shuffled at the end of the game. 5 cards are pulled off the top and added to the flower market. I’ve seen flowers go from last to first place during this reveal, totally disrupting some players strategy.
Tulips for Everyone
At the end of the game, players count the number of cards in each tulip color in their bouquet. Players are awarded points for having the most flowers in the leading tulip colors. Depending on the player count, points are awarded to 2nd and 3rd place players also.
Gift of Tulips is an excellent card game to break out with the family. The artwork pops off the cards with their brightly colored petals. It’s easy to teach which makes it totally accessible to new or young gamers. There’s a definitely strategy here as you chose your actions and decide how to influence the secret festival deck. It’s a big plus that it’s deep enough to keep seasoned gamers engaged around the table.
While the game plays 6 players, I honestly think that it shines at 3 to 4. Turns move quick, the downtime is minimal and you feel like theirs enough time to earn a solid number of points. Anytime we’ve played this game at 6, it has felt like the game drags. It could be a single indecisive player at the table or maybe too long in between turns. It looses some of the snap of a clever card game when you max out the player count.
Gift of Tulips is a game that hits the table after a night of games or a delicious dessert with friends. It’s a thoughtful design that keeps everyone paying attention to the card play from player to player. The giving mechanic feels both kind and manipulative as you smile at your opponent, handing them the most valuable tulip at the festival.
Gift of Tulips is available in your local game store or can be purchased online through Amazon.
This game was provided to us by the publisher for review. Read more about our review policies at One Board Family.
- Gifting mechanic is clever and fits the theme well
- Don’t neglect contributing to the secret festival deck
- Great illustrations and incorporation of Dutch art style
- The game drags at the highest player count
- Player score cards are very small and feel constricted