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Did someone say Flowers? How about flowers in your pocket? The Secret Flower Review

When Secret Flower was described to me, it was described as “Guess who, but with plants and its cooperative” and it honestly feels like a fair assessment. Secret flower sees you and upto 4 friends trying to collectively work out which is the secret flower, in this micro game of 16 cards, you’ll need to deduce the identity of the flower to win. What I didn’t realise was that The Secret Flower was originally released as a promotional game at a festival in Singapore. In the secret flower, all cards are dual purpose (there are only 16!), they act as question cards, hidden cards and number cards and one is the Secret Flower.

The Secret Flower takes place over several rounds, in which players take it in turn to play question cards. At the start of the game, each player is given several question and hidden cards, in a two-player game that's 4 question cards each and 3 hidden cards for the 1st player and hidden cards for the second player. Players will then take it in turn to play a question card to any hidden card, which includes your own, what questions can you ask? These are determined by the cards you have, as they will come with prescribed questions “What is the colour of this card”, “Is this Card’s number odd or even” the owner of the hidden card then rotates the question card to the correct answer. E.g. in the case of “Is this card’s number odd or even?”, and the card was a 6, it would be rotated to Even.

The games rules allow for communication, however, only based on what is open information, therefore, meaning you can’t allude to your cards numbers and must work logically to determine the hidden cards, so that they can be revealed. For example, if the cards, 14, 15 and 9 were already revealed, and the question was rotated to “Red”, the hidden card would therefore be 12. And in a two-player game, trying to discuss what cards you think the other player has based purely on open information is a bit strange, because they’ll definitely know if they have for example the 13, but if you think it's a 13 because of the other cards revealed, there’s no real discussion or collaboration. The other player can seemingly only add a “Yes” or a “No”, as its in their interest for the other player to be correct to ensure that all players have more information to all work out what The Secret Flower is.

And I think that is where The Secret Flower is a bit more than “Guess who” it feels more like Guess who Sudoku, with players needing to work through a series of logical understandings to be able to determine the hidden numbers, and the limitation of questions means you need to work carefully through the potentials, as ultimately, if you guess wrongly, that is the game over. The game ‘ends’ when all the question cards have been played, at which point players simultaneously point to a number on the back of a face down card, to guess The Secret Flower. Players win if 2 players correctly guess the number, which means in a two-player game, which is how we usually play we both need to be correct. That feels a little harsh/restrictive, when in higher player counts 2 players only translates to 50% of the players, so I’m not sure why a 50% of the players rule can’t be applied to a two-player game? And as referred to above the “open information only” discussion at two player feels a bit strange, which means this really feels more like a 3 player or more game to allow the open discussion, collaboration and logical thinking.

As much as I love the flower design, the wording leaves a little to be desired, for example the cards that refer to odd or even, don't actually all include all odd or even numbers. So if you were playing it as written, you'd not include some numbers, which I suspect is possible depending in how rules lawyer like someone wants to me. The contents are also not exactly clear, the game says it contains 16 numbered cards, at first I thought oh question cards where are those? Now it's fairly clear after opening the game they are the numbered flowered cards, the game rules also randomly capitalise some words and not others.

As you know, I rate games on a

- Buy or play

- Wait for sale or play if you like game XYZ

- Avoid

The Secret Flower, isn't great, and it isn't awful. It's also only $8.00 (or your regional equivalent). We played it a few times and thought it was kinda interesting, but also slightly frustrating in that there is very limited information available and if you're not a logical thinker, you might struggle. And at two player, if you both don't guess correctly, you both lose. Which, as I've said above seems really harsh considering at higher player counts, only 50% of the players need to guess correctly for everyone to win. The secret flowers closest comparison is probably the button shy wallet games and feels in part due to the theme similar to Tussie Mussie. And it probably fits into that range fairly well. So The Secret Flower gets a wait for sale (although it's $8.00 already!) And play if you game XYZ.

The Secret Flower feels that it could fit into the Cooperative two player experience like FUSE, the Mind and Stew. However, if you don't enjoy number driven cooperative games, The Secret Flower isn't going to fundamentally change your opinion on these and probably won't be for you!

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of The Secret Flower by Origames at UK Games Expo for review. I wasn't paid for this review and all thoughts remain my own.

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1 Comment

Jun 16

I think Button Shy games are over rated. Yes I said it. I like deduction games. Though how you would get four people to do that at the same time baffles me. Great review though

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