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Yard of the Month: Can You Smash the Competition?

Yard of the Month

Yard of the Month comes to Kickstarter on May 17th!
(All photos of Brain Box Gaming product were taken and edited by KristaG)

Every month in a little neighborhood called Gnome Crossing, a contest is held for the nicest yard. This contest is known as the “Yard of the Month,” and the residents take it quite seriously. Some, however, may take it a little too seriously, if you know what I mean. These are the residents who are so determined to win that they go around smashing their neighbor’s garden gnomes, planting weeds, and use various other means of sewing discord! In a race to earn the coveted title of “Yard of the Month,” what will you do to ensure that your yard is not only pristine, but that you’ve grown enough flowers to win the competition?

Yard of the Month is a 2-6 player card game that launches on Kickstarter May 17th, 2018. The artwork as well as the game design are both done by Shane Tuttle and will be published by Brain Box Gaming Company. This review is based on a prototype copy, so the game may change some after the Kickstarter campaign concludes. Contained within the box is a 108 card deck and the rules, which makes for the easiest set up ever! Simply shuffle the cards and deal each player 5 cards each. The remaining cards are placed face down in the middle of the table with room for a discard pile next to it. Just like that, the game is ready to be played.

Yard of the Month Card Types

There are 7 different types of cards for Yard of the Month. Not only did Shane Tuttle design the game, but he did all of the artwork for these cards too! Check out how adorable these gnomes are!

Yard of the Month is played over a series of turns and can take anywhere from 10 minutes to about 45 with the maximum number of players (the box says 60, but we never hit that mark when we played it with a large group). There are 7 types of cards: Weeds, Fertilizer, Garden Tools, Hammers, Flowers, and 2 different gnomes (Gnick and Gnack). At the very beginning of a player’s turn, they must check their garden for weeds. If anyone has planted Weeds in the player’s garden then any flowers that had been growing are moved to the discard pile. Once the garden is either cleaned out or deemed weed free, the player will draw their hand back up to 5 cards, play as many cards as they’d like from their hand, discard any cards from their hand that they don’t want, and then end their turn. When playing cards, they can be played either on the active player’s garden or that of an opponent; such as Weeds, Gnack the gnome, or a Hammer. Any flower cards that are played must be “planted” (played face down) so they can bloom on the next turn. The first player to successfully grow 10 Flowers is the winner. Included in the rules are a variant for a shorter game (The Short Spring) and one that gives Gnome cards a time limit by having them removed from gardens every time the deck is shuffled (Unapproved Yard Decor).

Yard of the Month is a very cute, “beer and pretzels” kind of game. It works well for playing with the kids or just sitting around having a good time with friends. Though the residents of Gnome Crossing may take the competition very seriously, the game isn’t meant to be that way at all. Yard of the Month provides a variety of outcomes, some of which are quite hilarious. For example, in one of my 2-player games, my opponent placed Gnack the gnome in my garden on his very first turn and I never got a chance to get rid of him! No matter how many cards I discarded in hopes of drawing a hammer on my next turn, I never ever got one! Nor could I smash his eventual Gnick that he placed in his garden, which also prevented me from sabotaging him with weeds. There was nothing we could do but laugh at the fluke as well as my bad luck and shuffle the deck to play again after his landslide of a victory. I really like that the game not only plays well with large or small groups, it is also very different depending on how large your group is. The more players you have, the quicker you go through the deck, the more sabotage and politics you get to play, and the more hilarious and chaotic the game becomes. It is also yet another one that I can take with me literally anywhere if I want to play it. I can just toss it in my bag and we can get in a game while down at the laundromat, while sitting at the coffee shop or my favorite bar, or even while on the plane like I did last weekend! To be fair, I was a little skeptical of the theme at first as gardening isn’t really my thing, but I am incredibly glad I gave it a try (the adorable expressions on the flowers made it hard for me to ignore). I highly recommend checking out their campaign!

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