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Seasons of Rice Review

Quick Look:

Designer: Corry Damey
Artists: Jerome Damey, Corry Damey
Publisher: Button Shy Games
Year Published: 2018
No. of Players: 2
Ages: 8+
Playing Time: 10-15 minutes

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com


Button Shy Games has emerged as the leading publisher in wallet sized games. They have currently announced more than 50 of these wallet size games with just under 50 being published and released already. Button Shy is great at replacing components with cards and maximizing everything with just 18 cards.

Getting the Game:
The game comes with 18 cards inside a vinyl wallet case. The cards are double sided. One side has the green paddies and the other side shows different ancestors with its text on the bottom. You might wonder how the game can be played with 18 cards, but you will soon find out.

  • The cards are shuffled
  • Each player is dealt 2 cards
  • Each player chooses 1 card to use as their personal ancestor providing them with an additional  way to score points 
  • The second card is placed in front of the player paddy side up.
  • The remaining cards are dealt out ancestor-side up. Each player should have 7 cards in their hand.

Playing the Game:
To score points, players will be placing their cards down in any orientation that connects paths with each other. Cards can be placed horizontally or vertically. Cards need to be placed so that at least part of the card is touching the side of an adjacent card. Corners touching diagonally do not count. Cards also cannot overlap. The thick brown lines are paths, and thin dark lines are furrows. When you close an area of green with the brown paths, they score points according to how many squares are enclosed in that paddy. If your enclosed paddy has a house inside, the house counts as +1 size when scoring. 

Example:  This paddy has 3 squares and a house.  3 (squares) +1 for the house = 4. We look on the chart and the 4 size scores 7 points.

Farmers want to be working together and score more points when enclosed in the same paddy. 
1 farmer = 1 points
2 farmers = 3 points
3 farmers = 5 points
4 farmers = 8 points

Buffaloes give you straight up 2 points per buffalo in a closed paddy.

Your ancestor card that you chose at the beginning of setup will also score you points when obeying its text and doing what it says. Each ancestor scores completely different.

So now you know that you want to close off your paddies and use the houses, farmers, and buffaloes to increase your points, we can go through the phases of the game.
  • Wet Season (Draft Phase 1)
    • Simultaneously each player will choose 2 paddy cards from their hands.
    • 1 will immediately be placed into their landscape in front of them.
    • the other will be placed into a communal row to use for the dry season (draft phase 2).
    • Players will then exchange hands and repeat this until they have 1 card left in their hand.
    • When they end with 1 card, players with exchange these cards for the last time and place them in front of them in their landscape.

  • Dry Season (Draft Phase 2)
    • The player who has the lowest amount of points starts this phase by selecting 1 card from the dry season row and immediately placing it into their landscape.
    • The second player goes the same. Players alternate turns picking cards and placing them in their landscape till there are no cards left in the dry season row.

  • End Game Scoring
    • 1 point is awarded for each closed paddy in a player's landscape. 
    • -1 point is awarded for each buffalo stranded in an open paddy.
    • Score your ancestor card with any end game scoring at this time.

The player with the most points wins, if there is a tie, the player with the most farmers is the winner. 

Artwork and Components:
The art shows a birds-eye view of rice fields. You can see farmers and buffaloes working in the fields and the farmer's houses throughout each player's created landscape. You can even see the shadows of everything including the shadows of random birds flying around. The cards are standard thickness and the vinyl case does a great job keeping the game thin and portable while also adding protection and durability.

The Good:
The rules are very easy to understand and learn very quickly. For a game the only includes 18 cards, the decisions are interesting every time. You have 18 different ancestor cards that can change the way you play each time. The ancestor cards also keep track of your points. Due to the fact that you will be placing your cards vertical and/or horizontal, the different layouts you will form from game to game will be drastically different. The game achieves exactly what it tries to do. I like how the buffalo ends up being negative points if you don't enclose them in a paddy by the end of the game. This can make it very strategic when choosing which cards to take and which to leave for phase 2. You potentially might take it to score it for yourself in the future, or possibly stick the other player with out who can't finish the enclosure.

The Bad:
The game is a 2-player-only game, I think this type of game would be great with a higher player count  if you had more cards. I would hope to see them package some of these games together, like a 4 pack which would make each game a little less expansive and provide you with more options of wallet sized games.

Final Thoughts:
The game is designed in a way to provide a rich game play with minimal components. You are trying to enclose paddies to score points. The cards provide you to use houses, workers, and buffalo to help you with bonus points. You also weigh your choices with scoring those points versus the points you could score from your ancestor. Although the game plays fast, and components are minimal, the game provides enough depth that the publisher definitely accomplished their goal with this game. An 18-card game with high re-playability, strategic choices, and that can be stored and played in almost any situation.

Check out Seasons of Rice on:


Brody Sheard - Reviewer

Brody Sheard played board games with his large family growing up. He continues with his love of games by teaching his family, local gaming guild, and friends about new and exciting games. Brody believes that board gaming keeps your mind healthy while also having fun interacting with others.

See Brody's reviews HERE.
Seasons of Rice Review Seasons of Rice Review Reviewed by Brody on June 25, 2019 Rating: 5

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