Designed by Kevin Wilson | Published by Mondo Games
1 Player | 15 Minutes
A Gentle Rain is engineered to create a peaceful and calming experience full of simple choices and pleasant surprises. Working to match a variety of blossoms, you’ll piece together titles forming a rain-pattered pond. When two-halves of a blossom come together, floating lilies sprout up revealing unique flowers and earning you points. With a little luck and careful planning, you’ll be able to enjoy a lili-dressed pond full of color.
HOW TO PLAY THE GAME
While the goal of A Gentle Rain is to build the most colorful pond, the real beauty behind the game might just be its simplicity.
To begin, players will place the stack of pond titles facedown and turn one over to serve as their starting title.
Each title features half of a blossomed flower on each edge of the title. As you play titles, one next to another, you’ll match blossoms together. Each tile in the game has a unique combination of flowers on it creating a puzzle of trying to match up each half flower with its pair.
When you’re able to match 4 titles together, a circle is created out of the beveled corners. This is where the flower tokens will “spout” up out of the water. You’ll choose one of the 4 completed flower symbols and place that flower’s token in the middle. It’s so simple, that as I type this, I feel like I’m over-complicating it. You’re essentially forming circles out of matching tiles and scoring points for filling in completed circles with tokens.
The game has 8 unique flowers and your goal is to sprout as many as possible until the stack of 28 tiles is exhausted. You’ll score points for any successfully played flower tokens and any tiles remaining, if you’re able to play all 8 tokens.
This is an incredibly small box game, but it does feature 28 tiles and 8 flower tokens. The tiles are decently thick and have a nice, soft touch with an embossed flower design on the backside. The tokens are wooden and fairly simple. Overall, the game’s limited components feel solid.
The game’s artwork isn’t overly stimulating. Each tile has a relatively simple design. The artwork is a little dark, but nothing here detracts from the experience. Overall, the artwork does a fair job and seems fine.
A Gentle Rain has a mission and it’s clearly stated in the rulebook: to help you relax and unwind. The simple mechanics seem to echo that agenda. While I enjoy tile-laying games like Carcassonne, I was initially very skeptical. How is a small-box game with very limited components and minimal mechanics going to relax me? I suppose if it put me to sleep – I could at least appreciate that. And don’t get me started on the name…
Boy, I couldn’t have been more wrong!
While incredibly simple, A Gentle Rain is full of easy-going, yet interesting decisions. Drawing and placing a tile is way more strategic than at first glance. As you draw a tile, you’ll place them domino-style off any of the 4 tile sides. To an extent you’re at the mercy of the draw, but carefully cascading the tiles can increase your odds of making a match.
We’re not talking brain surgery here. You’re welcome to put as much effort into your tile progression as you choose. But taking a more strategic approach can create your own luck, building more frequent opportunities to sprout a flower… and that is strangely satisfying.
Every time I’m able to score a lili-token, I feel like I’ve accomplished something amazing. Wow – look what I did there! You never see it coming and it’s incredibly pleasing to see the exact tile you need to show its face.
In addition, I love that this is a game of efficiency. Play less tiles… score more points. Again, you’re at the mercy of a pile of random tiles, but taking advantage of a little luck can get momentum moving in your favor creating a calming, yet equally thrilling experience.
The setup and learning curve are nearly non-existent pushing the accessibility rating through the roof with this one.
It is a solo game, but taking turns with a friend creates a cooperative experience.
Kevin Wilson has done something really interesting here: He created a game with super simple mechanics that can be played in a short amount of time and completely works! Paring this with a theme that will appeal to almost anyone irregardless of age (or cynicism). The quick play and satisfying scoring system creates a strange addiction forcing you to play it over and over. It’s also fairly portable, so you can almost take this anywhere. This was completely unexpected and I ended up really loving this. I’m still not sold on the name, but I can see many future games with this small box of pond tiles and flower tokens.