Petrichor from APE Games is… well, first “petrichor” is the smell of warm spring rain on dry ground. The game is all about managing drops of water to score points by growing and harvesting crops.
The basics are simple. You’ll play cards that allow you to take actions like add raindrops to clouds or dump the raindrops on crops below that cloud, or move the clouds to other crops. Then you’ll vote on the weather, which creates effects across the entire board, crops and clouds and drops and all. Come the harvest, you’ll count up each player’s raindrops (represented by glass beads of different colors) to see who scores how many points. At the end of the game (4 rounds for the short game and 6 for the long), the player with the most points wins.
It seems simple enough, but there are a number of fun wrinkles in the game. First, when harvests happen depends on the weather voting, allowing players to push for either sooner or later harvests. Second, each crop type scores differently. With some, the player with the most drops on the harvest gets the most points, but that’s not always the case. Wheat, for instance, gives the most points to the player with the second highest number of drops. However, the player with the most drops gets a wheat token and if you have the most wheat tokens at the end of the game, that’s worth a lot of points.
The result is an amazingly layered strategy game where you’re trying to get clouds with just the right number of drops in the right locations at the right times to maximize your point totals, all while trying to thwart the other players from doing the same. Some players will opt for slow and steady dominance of basic crops while others will try for the big win with mechanics like the wheat tokens. For a more complex challenge, there’s a mode that allows you to draft the action cards rather than just draw them randomly.
Petrichor can be played by one to four players (yes, there is a solo mode where you play against a wind trying to push your clouds off the board). The game takes about 20 minutes per player to play. The layers of complexity, and the options players have to simplify or complicate the game as they wish, make Petrichor a game that can give you a very different experience depending on what options you choose and which strategies you pursue. Ask about pre-ordering the game today at your local Dragon’s Lair Comics and Fantasy®.