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  • Writer's pictureJared Neal

Tussie Mussie - Cut the Right Flowers

Updated: May 31, 2021


(The pictured copy of the game is a print and play version I made, from a file I purchased from PNP Arcade. If you want to learn more about my process for making print and play games, check it out here)



Retail Price: $12

Player Count: 1-4 (best at 1-3 in our experience)

Age Range: 8+ (consistent with our experience)

Play Time: 20-30 mins. (consistent with our experience)

Complexity: 2 out of 10 (consistent with our experience)

Mechanisms: Betting and Bluffing, Card Drafting, I Cut You Choose

Designer: Elizabeth Hargrave (Flower Shoppe Solo Expansion: Mike Mullins)

Artist: Loic Biliau, Karolina Jedrzejak, Beth Sobel

Publisher: Button Shy Games


Educational Value:

  • Strategic Thinking

  • Probabilities

  • Math: Addition

  • Math: Subtraction

Flavor Text:


“Tussie mussies exemplified the Victorian custom of assigning meaning to the flowers that friends and lovers exchanged. Inspired by the ideals of elegance and discretion, these bouquets were carefully made to convey subtle messages to their recipients. Now you can choose the right flowers to make a winning tussie mussie of your own!”


Overview:


In Tussie Mussie, over three rounds you are drawing cards, and then offering them to your opponent with one face up and one face down. After they choose one, you take the remaining card, and then your opponents repeat the same process until each player has 4 cards. The cards each have scoring conditions, from color association, icons, and whether you took them face up or face down. At the end of three rounds, the player with the highest cumulative score wins.


Setup:

  • Shuffle all 18 cards, and place them in a face down deck

  • The player that most recently smelled a flower gets to go first

Gameplay:


On each turn, the active player draws two cards, looks at both, and then places them in front of an opponent, with one face up and one face down. That player then selects one of the cards, and then places it into the tableau in front of them, keeping it face up or face down as it was offered, and placing it to the right of the cards already in front of them. In a two player game, you would always be offering them to the one other player. In a 3 or 4 player game, you will be offering them to the player on your left around once, and then back to the right, alternating the direction each time around, until each player has 4 cards in front of them.


The cards that remained face down are referred to as “Keepsakes”, and the face up cards are “Bouquet”. Once each player has 4 cards, you will slide the Keepsakes toward you, keeping the cards in the same order, and flip them face up. You will then score your arrangement from left to right, based on the card text.


Repeat the above sequence through three rounds, and the player with the highest cumulative score wins.


Cards

  • Daisy (white) - +1 point for each of your other cards without a heart

  • Gardenia (white) - +1 point for each of your keepsakes

  • Orchid (white, 1 heart) - this card counts as any one color

  • Amaryllis (red) - +1 point for each card in your bouquet

  • Camellia (red, 1 heart) - no effect

  • Red Rose (red) - +1 point for each of your hearts

  • Red Tulip (red) - +1 point for each of your red cards, including this one

  • Peony (pink, 1 heart) - +2 points if you have exactly two cards in your bouquet

  • Phlox (pink, 2 hearts) - no effect

  • Pink Larkspur (pink) - before scoring, you may draw two cards. If you do, you must replace one of your cards with one of them

  • Pink Rose (pink) - +1 point for each of your pink cards, including this one

  • Carnation (yellow) - +1 point for each of your different color cards

  • Honeysuckle (yellow, 1 heart) - +1 point for each card adjacent to this one in your bouquet (this card can be in either the Bouquet or Keepsake)

  • Marigold (yellow, 2 hearts) - before scoring, you must discard one of your other cards

  • Forget-Me-Not (purple, 1 heart) - +1 point for each heart on your cards adjacent to this one

  • Hyacinth (purple) - +3 points if you have no hearts

  • Snapdragon (purple, 1 heart) - before scoring, you may change up to 2 of your cards, each from Bouquet to Keepsake or Keepsake to Bouquet

  • Violet (purple) - +1 point for each of your purple cards, including this one


Solo Expansion - Flower Shoppe


The solo expansion consists of 6 Flower Shoppe (“turn structure”) cards, which are shuffled and then set in a deck to the side. The rest of the setup for multiplayer Tussie Mussie, remains the same. On each turn, you will deal a turn structure card from the deck, and then draw and place two flower cards based on the instructions from the turn structure card. You then proceed as if you were offered two flower cards in the regular game, by taking one and placing it in the rightmost spot of your arrangement, and then placing the other in the rightmost spot of the AI’s arrangement. You repeat this process, until each of you has 4 cards in your arrangement, and then you score your arrangement. You score just like in Tussie Mussie, with two exceptions:

  • The AI doesn’t take any of the before scoring actions

  • The AI automatically scores 2 points for each card that says you may do something

As in the original game, the player with the highest score wins.


While the solo game doesn’t really retain that same feel from Tussie Mussie for us, where you are trying to read your opponent, and determine what they want you to do versus what you should do, it is still an enjoyable game in it’s own right. With that said, if we want something to play exclusively solo, this probably wouldn’t be the first thing we are going to pull out. At the time of this writing, there are currently four expansions on Kickstarter, one of which is specifically to expand the solo play. So that is definitely something you will want to keep an eye on, if you are specifically looking to play this game solo.


Luck/Strategy:


There is definitely a fair amount of luck, as in a two player game you only see 8 out of 18 cards, which could significantly impact your scoring strategies. However, in our experience, the cards have been well balanced enough, that games are typically pretty close. Games are definitely going to be more tactical than strategic, and there is some meta gaming going on, in trying to determine whether the face down card you are receiving is the better or worse option. Ultimately, the game plays quickly enough, even if you fall to bad luck, you will quickly have an opportunity at redemption.


Artwork:


The artwork is absolutely beautiful, and definitely delivers a very peaceful and enchanting experience. If you aren’t already familiar with the beautiful work of Beth Sobel, then I would highly recommend you check out her other work as well.


Theme:


The theme is really neat, and definitely comes through in the gameplay. Before playing this game, I was completely unfamiliar with the concept of tussie mussies, and how they were used in the Victorian era, in order to convey messages through floral arrangements. There are little messages on each card, that represent these historical meanings, and many of the scoring conditions on the cards are somewhat tied into these messages.


Replayability/Fun Factor:


The base game of Tussie Mussie, with just 18 cards to choose from, doesn’t suffer as much as you might expect from replayability issues. For one, with lower player counts, you are never going to see most of the cards in each game. Additionally, the fact that scoring conditions are contingent upon so many factors, such as placement in your arrangement, adjacency, bouquet or keepsake, color, hearts, and so on, makes the combinations you could achieve almost limitless.


We have always had a lot of fun playing this game, and especially get a kick out of the mind games you can play with one card face up and one face down. It plays so quickly, we almost never play just one game in a session, but usually at least play a best of 3. When we have tried it at 4 players, it loses something, because then there are players involved, who will never directly interact with each other. In our experience, this player interaction is the key to why this game works so well. The one upside at that player count, is you are privy to more information since more cards come out, and are able to make somewhat more strategic decisions.


Conclusion/Audience:


This game isn’t going to blow your mind with depth, but it plays so quickly and smooth, it very much feels like a classic card game. Add to that the beautiful artwork, and the light but fun interaction between players, and we would highly recommend this to everyone. Due to the text on the cards, and having to think through not only your strategy, but counter strategies based on other players revealed cards, this is going to work best for late elementary age and older.


+ Easy to learn and quick to play

+ High replayability

+ Light but fun player interaction


- Relatively high luck


Final Score:


Jared - 7.5

Abigail - 7.5


Other Games You Might Like:


Hanamikoji, Sleeping Queens, Sushi Go, Wingspan


This game was purchased from PNP Arcade, and is available for print and play here or the retail version is available here (this isn't an affiliate link).


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