Garden Competition

Abridged Rules for Evaluation Purposes

By Ken Stevens


Ages 10 and up.  3-5 players.

© Toccata Games 2004






Welcome to the Garden Competition where you are a neighbourhood student eager to win this year’s garden competition.  Compete against other players for limited flowers at the nursery and for the favour of your neighbours who give away clippings from their flowers to their favourite students.


Each player knows some of the flowers and colours the Garden Judge is looking for, but no player knows all of the flowers and colours the judge wants.  Players try to guess the flowers and colours they don’t know by watching what the other players are planting.  The judge also has some secret criteria that only she knows, which players can learn by taking her out for coffee.




·        1 Turn Board (12 turns, special event icons, judge card table)

·        1 Red Pawn (Turn Marker)

·        1 Green Pawn (“Green Thumb” indicating the start player each round)

·        5 Player Garden Boards (6 full-shade squares, 10 partial shade squares, 18 full-sun squares)

·        5 Next-Door Neighbour Boards

·        1 Neighbours Down the Street Board

·        60 Player Cubes (12 each in red, blue, green, yellow, and brown)

·        30 Judge Score Cards

·        68 Flower Tiles, 81 Weed Tiles, and 11 Mulch Tiles

·        60 yellow plastic chips (representing $1 each)




Each Next-Door Neighbour Board contains a Garden, an Introduction Area (the picture of the shaking hands), a Sign, and a Greenhouse.  Each house on the Neighbours Down the Street Board contains an Introduction Area, a Sign and a Greenhouse.  The Introduction Areas are where Player Cubes are placed to indicate when players have introduced themselves to those neighbours.  The Signs indicate jobs players can do for those neighbours and what those jobs are worth.  Lastly, the Greenhouses hold flowers of different sizes that the neighbours give away to their “favourite” players on certain turns.  The Gardens on the Next-Door Neighbour Boards are used for spreading weeds.




Flower Tiles come in five different colours (red, yellow, blue, purple, and white) and three different sizes: small (1” x 1”), medium (1” x 2”) and large (2” x 2”).


Each Flower and Weed Tile has a type of sun exposure it requires: full-sun, partial sun, or full-shade.  These correspond to shaded squares in the Player Gardens and Next-Door Neighbour Gardens.  Full-sun tiles may be planted only in full-sun squares (light brown)  in Player Gardens and Next-Door Neighbour Gardens, partial tiles may be planted only in partial shade squares (medium brown), and full-shade tiles only in full-shade squares (dark brown).  The entire tile must fit in the required area.  Mulch may be placed anywhere in the garden regardless of sun exposure provided it fits.


Flower Tiles are different on each side.  The bright-coloured side without the seed is called the “Flower” side.  The other side is either blank, or has a faded flower and a picture of a seed on it.  When placing a Flower Tile in a Garden, the tile is placed with the “Flower” side up.


Weed Tiles are also different on each side.  The side with just a picture of the weed is called the Dormant side.  When a Weed Tile has its Dormant side up, it no longer spreads to other gardens.  The other side of the Weed Tile has a picture of a red seed on it and indicates “Gone to Seed.”  Weed Tiles that have “Gone to Seed” do spread to other gardens.  When placing new Weed Tiles in a Garden, the tile is placed with the “Seed” side up.


Players may rearrange flowers and mulch in their garden at any time during the game.  Players may not rearrange weeds.




See the last page for a diagram of what a 4-player game looks like before the flowers are placed.



·        Place the Turn Board in the centre of the Table and place the Turn Marker on turn 1.

·        Place the Green Thumb Pawn in front of the second-youngest player.

·        Place a Player Garden Board in front of each player.

·        Place a Next-Door Neighbour Board between each pair of adjacent players.  Place 4 $1 tokens on top of each sign on each Next-Door Neighbour Board.

·        Place the Neighbours Down the Street Board beside the Turn Board.  Place 3 $1 tokens on each Small House sign and 5 $1 tokens on the Large House sign.

·        Place the remaining $1 tokens beside the board in the “Bank”.

·        Each player chooses a colour and takes the Player Cubes of that colour.

·        Each player places one of his Player Cubes in the Introduction Area of the Next-Door Neighbour Board to his left.  (The Introduction Area is the icon of the shaking hands above the sign.)

Judge Cards.

·        Sort the Judge Score Cards into 2 piles: flowers and colour.

·        Turn each pile face down, shuffle each pile separately, and secretly draw 2 colour cards and either 7, 9, or 11 flower cards depending on the number of players (7 for 3 players, 9 for 4 players, and 11 for 5 players).  The drawn cards will form the judging criteria for the game.

·        You will now have a deck of Judge Cards containing both flower and colour cards consisting of 9, 11, or 13 cards depending on the number of players.  Shuffle this deck and deal all of the cards out face down as follows.  Deal one to each player, one between each adjacent pair of players, and three beside the turn board.  The three cards beside the Turn Board are called the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Judge Cards.  Each player may view their own card and the card to their left and right but must keep their contents secret.



·        If there are only 3 players, remove 1 flower of each type of small and medium flower that there are exactly 2 flowers of each type.

·        Randomly place small Flower Tiles on each small green square in the Neighbour Greenhouses (draw them from a hat).  Place the Flower Tiles Flower side up (i.e. seed/blank side down).  Do the same for Medium and Large Flowers.

·        Place the remaining Flower Tiles seed-side-up in the “Nursery” (a designated part of the table beside the turn board).  If the flower is blank on one side, place it Flower side up.

·        Place the Weed Tiles in sorted piles beside the Turn Board.




The game lasts for 12 rounds.  The start player (indicated by the Green Thumb Pawn) changes from round to round in clockwise order.  Every round, the following sequence takes place.  Note: This round sequence is also printed on each Player Garden Board.


1.      Special Events

If there are any icons in the square the Turn Marker is in, perform the Special Events for those icons as described in the “SPECIAL EVENTS” section below.

2.      Spread Weeds

If there are any weeds on boards that have Gone to Seed, follow the sequence below to spread those weeds. Note that Dormant Weeds do not spread.


[Details of how weeds spread are omitted]


If the turn square indicates “LEFT NEW WEED” or “RIGHT NEW WEED,” each player places a new Weed Tile of his choice seed side up in the Next-Door Neighbour Garden to his left or right as indicated.


3.      Player Actions

Clockwise from the Green Thumb Pawn, each player chooses two actions to perform on his turn.  Players are allowed to choose the same action twice, only one action, or no action at all if they wish.  Note: An abbreviated list of these actions is printed on the Player Garden Boards.  Below is the list of actions.


·        Introduce.  The player introduces himself to a neighbour by placing one of his cubes in the Introduction Area of that neighbour’s house (the picture of the shaking hands).

·        Work.  The player does a job for a neighbour.  Players are allowed to do a job for a neighbour only if there is money on the neighbour’s house and if the player has introduced himself to that neighbour on a previous turn. 

·        Schmooze.  The player buys the judge a cup of coffee for $2.  The player pays $2 to the bank and secretly views one of the three Judge Cards of his choice.

·        Shop.  Buy one seed, flower, or bag of mulch at the nursery.  The player pays the cost of the item to the bank and plants the flower or mulch in his garden. 

·        Weed.  The player removes one Weed Tile from his Player Garden.  Or, alternatively, if a player has introduced himself to a Next-Door Neighbour on a previous turn, he may remove a Weed Tile from that neighbour’s garden.


4.      Next Turn

Advance the Green Thumb Pawn to the next player clockwise.  Move the Turn Marker one turn forward on the Turn Board.  Replace any money taken from the Neighbour Houses with the amount printed on the sign.




Special Events occur when there is an icon in the current turn square.  If there is more than one Special Event in a single turn, the Special Events occur in the following order.


1.      Judge Speaks

If the turn square indicates Judge Speaks, flip over one Judge Card.

2.      Neighbour Gift

If the turn square indicates Neighbour Gift, each Neighbour House gives one flower to its favourite player.  Start with the Next-Door Neighbour House to the left of the Green Thumb Pawn and proceed clockwise to each Next-Door Neighbour House.  After all the Next-Door Neighbour gifts have been awarded, give away The Joneses’ gift, the Smiths’ gift and Millers’ gift.  The process to determine which player is awarded the flower on a Neighbour House is described below.

[Details of how Neighbour Gifts are awarded are omitted.]


3.      Flip Seeds in Nursery

If the turn square indicates Flip Seeds in Nursery, flip over any Flower Tiles in the Nursery that were Seed side up, so that all of the Flower Tiles are now Flower side up.  It’s now too late in the season to plant flowers from seeds; for the rest of the game, players can only buy flowers from the Nursery as potted plants.

4.      New Weed

The New Weed Special Event is done at the end of the Spread Weeds part of the Round Sequence and not in the Special Events part of the Round.




At the end of the last round, all of the Judge Score Cards are revealed and each garden is scored according to all of the Judge Cards.  Players subtract 1 point for every weed in their garden.  The player whose garden scores the highest wins the competition.  Ties are broken by the total number of flowers in a player’s garden.




Beginner Tips

[Beginner Tips omitted]


Advanced Tips

[Advanced Tips omitted]


Game Set-up for 4 Players



29 Marmaduke St.

Toronto, Ontario


M6R 1T1

Phone: (416) 537 3126



19-Sep-04  Rev 2.7