We all have those little quirks in our gaming preferences. Mine happens to be the belief that the more components a game has, the better it will be overall. So when I went looking for a good chilled out solo game for an evening, I figured games more like Nusfjord.
So when Orchard by was originally suggested, I turned my nose up at it like any good mid to mid-heavy weight Euro player should. Pah! 9 cards, what am I to do with 9 cards! The other thing that I don’t really like are puzzles, just don’t get them. For instance, I love the theme of the Zelda games, but my ability to solve puzzles is almost nil, so these games end up a dreary misery for me. I play with a Rubix cube and somehow it ends up more jumbled than when I started (that’s if I don’t pull the stickers off to cheat)
So, I purchased a copy of Orchard, and it’s tiny, like small deck box tiny. Components are pretty standard, except for the dope plastic cards (They smell the same as Chip Theory Games, if that’s like, your thing).
I guess one of the arguments could be that with 9 cards there could be a high degree of ‘sameness’ between games – well have I got news for you! The game comes with 18 cards, 9 of which you will use in a single game. This means there are…(insert maths here)…tons.. of unique combinations of 9 cards from the 18 provided. So when it comes to replayability, this game is going to have tons (also, I don’t see people having the replayability conversation about games like Solitaire).
If I’m totally honest I started out in the hobby to make sure that I engaged with other people about a passion or hobby and to push myself a bit when it comes to social interaction. That didn’t happen so much in the end, with Covid getting in the way, but I did find a real love for solo gaming.
I can get a game of Orchard done in around 5 minutes (great for the stats geek!) and the second game is ready and waiting for you to go again. I love the fact that I can sit in front of the TV and experiment with placements and maximising points, while never actually taking the focus too much off either thing. When I asked for a game that I could play and just chill, I have to admit that I didn’t think that Orchard would hit the spot, but I sure was wrong.