Based on the universe of Life of a Potato, a comic series about a little potato and its friends, Plantopia is a card game filled with puns and cutesy art. But don’t let that fool you. Designed by Daryl Chow, the game’s framework requires quite a bit of strategic thinking.
The aim of the game is to grow and evolve your plants into punny treevolutions. The first to evolve 4 plants triggers the endgame, and all players begin to tally points to determine who has the most magical leaves and is crowned Champion Gardener.
The game cycle is split into 2 phases – the planting phase, and the weather phase.
When you begin, you have 5 garden plots that you should populate with your baby plants during the planting phase. Grow them and trigger an evolution (when appropriate) to get more unique plan types with greater scoring combos.
The cards in your hand form the currency you need to plant as well as the plants themselves. You’ll need to decide which ones you decide to grow and which you sacrifice as currency.
The weather phase, however, is where the game changes. All players secretly select a weather card and reveal it at the same time. Each plant requires certain weather conditions to grow, so this phase is crucial to growing your plants while trying to stop the other gardeners from getting the conditions they would prefer.
Plantopia is designed with both the casual gamer and hardcore strategist in mind. While the rules are simple it does take a little getting used to.
The cards all have symbols representing what they do and how they eventually score points. They’re easy to decipher once you’ve played a few times, but before that, it was a bit of a struggle and it did feel like information overload.
Once you get a hang of things though, you realize the game really opens and you start to visualize the different possible combos and tactics. Each plant type has its own abilities and the are multiple strategies you can try from game to game.