Blooms and rabbit holes

I’ve been playing Blooms on Boardgame Arena, in an asynchronous session where we each play a couple of moves a day. I’m finding it really interesting.

The designer of Blooms, Nick Bentley, describes it as “a bit like the classical game Go, but shorter, easier to learn, and more colorful.” It’s an abstract strategy game, played on a small hex board, and each of the two players controls two colors of pieces.

Last night, instead of doing any of the overdue non-work things I should have been doing, I went looking for articles about Blooms strategy, and fell into a rabbit hole about the history of the game; specifically, I read a bunch of posts on the Boardgame Geek forum where Bentley was discussing the original version of the game with fellow game designers and players. I found it really interesting to see how they talked about it, and to see a player discover a flaw in the design (they happened across a context where both players were motivated to play an infinitely repeating cycle of moves). Bentley then went away and thought about how to fix the problem for a month or two, and ended up completely changing the scoring system, in a way that makes the game a lot easier to learn (and significantly less like go).

The version that I linked to above is the revised version. I doubt that this game is going to become a major part of my life, but I like it enough that I’ve now ordered some hex tiles in different colors (from a company called LITKO; will probably post more about this after the tiles arrive), to be able to play on a physical board. (You can also play with M&Ms or poker chips, of course; the pieces don’t have to be hexagonal just because the board spaces are hexes. But I like the idea of using hexagonal tiles for it.)

So far, Bentley hasn’t marketed a physical version of the game. But there’s a place in the abovelinked page where you can sign up to be notified if he ever does a Kickstarter. I’ve signed up.

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