Weekly PnP: Seasons of Rice

  • Designer: Corry Damey
  • Artists: Jerome Damey and Corry Damey
  • Publisher: Button Shy Games
  • Where to Find It: PnP Arcade

Luke: Seasons of Rice is a game that, artistically, I had admired from afar for a year or so. Whenever I saw the brilliant greens of the paddies, I couldn’t help but wonder what could be contained in those 18 cards, each with a gorgeous depiction of one of the town’s inhabitants.

Phil: It’s hard to overstate just how great this game looks in its simplicity.

Luke: And while the game piqued my interest, this is a title that passed me by amidst the hustle and bustle of our day-to-day lives.

Phil: I know that feeling all too well, dude.

Luke: Well, no longer! After having the opportunity to sit down with this little title and not wanting to stop after multiple games, I knew Seasons of Rice was a game we needed to share in some capacity.

Phil: I’m honestly surprised it’s not one of the Button Shy titles that I hear about more often.

Luke: Seasons of Rice is a 2-player title that looks to pit players against one another in making the most profitable paddy farm. Each player will start the game by choosing a farmer to play as, providing a special ability that will shape how they grow their patch of heaven.

Phil: And with 18 different abilities available from the get-go, there’s a lot of replayability in that element alone.

Luke: The game is played in 2 unique drafting phases. In the first, players will draft 2 cards from their hand of 8. One is placed in their paddy while the other will be discarded to the river.

Phil: We’ll get back to that in a little bit.

Luke: You’ll want to build your farm carefully, lining up the dividing paths to allow for fully outlined sections. Each of these will score points based on its size, as well as the number of rice pickers, houses, and oxen contained within.

Phil: It can be easy to leave yourself a little gap here and there, preventing you from finishing certain patches of your farm, which can be rather detrimental.

Luke: After the first draft, players will then draft those cards everyone discarded to the river, starting with the player who has the least points. This continues until everything is drafted, at which point final scores are tallied and a winner is declared.

Phil: There’s plenty of interesting choices to be made here, not just in terms of what to keep or hate-draft. What cards go to the river can make a huge impact on how you’ll approach a match, especially when considering if you’ll be the 1st or 2nd player to draft that round.

Luke: And as we mentioned above, the abilities encourage players to try a bunch of weird and unique ways to tackle the puzzle, prioritizing a specific size of clearing or the types of elements you include in your layout.

Phil: Many of these encourage more player interaction as well, making this already tension-filled game that much more.

Luke: That being said, some abilities that come up are just better than others, but these seem to be a rarity, as most cards will only be as good as you are at the game.

Phil: And let me tell you, Luke is bad at this game.

Luke: … I have yet to win. And yet, I can’t stop myself from playing, a definite sign of a winner in my book.

Phil: This is a game I see myself revisiting time and again, especially once I get my hands on the mini-expansions.

Luke: While I’m unfamiliar with what they add, I’d be curious to see what more is added to this already svelt system.

Verdict: Seasons of Rice is a phenomenal 2-player drafting game that provides the rewarding sensation of building something and the tension of having to work around your opponent’s whims. This is a Button Shy title that deserves much more attention, so please take the time to check it out if you haven’t already.

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