Orchard Ocean – analog lunchbox – Review

But in this game, simple colors have led to the game just really looking great on the table. The box art is very reminiscent of material design. I just cannot say enough, how much I really enjoy looking at this game, and the box. Home run.

Josh Hale

MeepleGamers

9/10

Theme and What is it?

10/10

Did you ever see Waterworld? Yeah, no one else did either. 

But, if you had, you would have immediately recognized that you and all the people you know would not simply have allowed the world to “end”. You would have built floating farms, to feed the masses, because that is how you do. 

We humans are ingenuitive. We will use the knowledge of the past to make a better circumstance now. That is the theme of Orchard Ocean. You are building water based floating farms and markets. Whoever does it best, wins.

Gameplay Mechanics

8/10

Each round you are drafting three things, a direction, a player order, and an island card. 

You do this 12 times. THAT is the game generally. You have to worry about how you place the tiles, and there is a reason you need to pay attention to that. Some farms can only send their fruit or food in one of a few directions to market. 

The market will give you victory points or money each round. The most points win the game. 

Initial Impressions

9.3/10

I love the simple styling of Orchard Ocean. It is a beautiful game because of its simplicity. I always tend to enjoy games that have boiled out all the extraneous mechanics that don’t make the games better. That is exactly what this game has done. 

Therefore, I knew I had to play it. I had to know it. I had to have it. My precious.

Game Build Quality

8.7/10

Cardboard, and lots of it. There is nothing wrong with that, but as games become more complex, I like to see the fit and finish of games that do not have the traces of having been part of a larger piece of cardboard. 

This is obviously just a preference thing, but it is something that some companies are now focusing on. It makes their games stand a step higher in terms of component quality.

Artistic Direction

10/10

This is an area this game REALLY shines. Whether the choices were inspired by the development team, or if they were entirely the choices of the artist, we may never know. 

But in this game, simple colors have led to the game just really looking great on the table. The box art is very reminiscent of material design. I just cannot say enough, how much I really enjoy looking at this game, and the box. Home run.

Fun Factor

7.9/10

The game slows down a bit due to repetition, but that is also where it shines. I do not want to “dock” the designer due to this slowdown, as adding more complexity would have also slowed the game down in a different manner. 

Once you have played it several times, the drafting goes much quicker. The slowdown happens mostly to determine what is the best choice under the circumstances. For people with AP, this could be an issue.

Age Range & Weight

8.5/10

14+. I think this may be a bit high. My daughter could play this, she is now 8, with a few playthroughs. 

The complexity of the build patterns could be hard for her age, but the actual mechanics would not be.

Conclusions

8.9/10

This has been one of my favorite gems from 2019. I will play this most of 2020, as I am quite certain nothing else will scratch the same itch. 

This game is good, and if you can find it, you should pick up a copy. The company is Japanese, and it may be hard to find, so if you do find it, I could say you should pick it up without much hesitation. (I never make judgment calls as to the price of games, only content.)