- For ages 8 and up (publisher suggests 12+)
- For 2 to 4 players
- Approximately 30 minutes to complete
- Counting & Math
- Logical & Critical Decision Making
- Pattern/Color Matching
- Strategy & Tactics
- Hand/Resource Management
- Child – Easy
- Adult – Easy
Theme & Narrative:
- What you sow is as important as where you sow
- Gamer Geek rejected!
- Parent Geek approved!
- Child Geek approved!
German theologian, philosopher and mystic, Meister Eckhart said, “What we plant in the soil of contemplation, we shall reap in the harvest of action.” In this game, a player must consider where to put their time, energy, and finances. If done correctly, they will reap points to win the game when the harvest is taken in. The key is to know the difference between effort spent and effort wasted.
3 Seeds, designed by Anthony Buhr and published via the Game Crafter, is comprised of 24 Seed cards (4 sets, 6 cards each), 15 Crop cards, 14 Harvest cards, 17 Event cards, 2 Reference cards, 1 turn marker, 4 Scoring cubes (in 4 different colors), 8 50-Point tokens, and 1 scorecard. The cards are as thick and as durable as your standard playing cards. The tokens and cubes are made of solid plastic.
Preparing for the Planting Season
Note: The following summarizes game set up for 3 or 4 players. See “Game Variant” for information on how to set up the game for 2 players.
To set up the game, first give each player 1 complete set of 6 Seed cards. Use the back of the cards to easily identify the Seed cards and put them in different piles. Any Seed cards not used are returned to the game box. Each player should take their Seed cards, shuffle them, and place them face-down in front of where they are seated. This is the player’s Seed draw deck.
Second, shuffle the Crop cards and deal 1 to each player, face-up. These are left in front of the player and should be visible to all opponents. Place the remaining Crop cards face-down in a pile in the middle of the playing area.
Third, shuffle the Harvest cards and give 1 to each player face-down above their Crop card. No players should look at these cards at this time. Place the remaining Harvest cards face-down in a pile in the middle of the playing area next to the Crop cards.
Fourth, shuffle the Event cards and give 1 to each player face-down. Players should look at their Event cards and then return it to the table in front of them face-down. Place the remaining Event cards face-down in the middle of the playing area next to the Crop and Harvest cards.
Fifth, place the Scorecard, scoring cubes, and 50-point tokens to one side of the game playing area. Assign one player to keep track of points during the game.
That’s it for game set up. Determine who will be the first player, give them the turn marker, and begin.
The Farmer’s Almanac
3 Seeds makes use of several different cards that represent different aspects of planting, growing, and eventually harvesting crops. Each of the cards used in the game are summarized here.
The Seed Cards
Each player starts with the same number and type of Seed cards. These are “Time”, “Money”, and “Labor”. The three essential elements needed to play, grow, and harvest crops. Seed cards are placed on Crop cards to represent what type of activity or resource is being focused on the crop. Seed cards must be spent if the player hopes to harvest a crop, but the Seed cards return to the player once the once the crop is harvested.
The Crop Cards
The Crop cards represent some very odd fruits and vegetables that the player can grow. While their names and descriptions will certainly make a player smirk, the real focus should be on the Crop card’s top most portion that describes the Crop card type, lists the Bonus points, and the number of “Time”, “Money”, and “Labor” Seed cards necessary to reap the crop.
The Harvest Cards
The Harvest cards list a number value 1 through 7 and identity how many points a Crop card is worth when it’s harvested. None of the players know how much Crop cards will be worth when the game first begins, but they will soon learn.
The Event Cards
The Event cards are earned when a player scores points using an opponent’s Crop card. A player can have no more than 3 Event cards at a time during the game. How they are used and how they score points are described on each Event card, making it difficult to determine what events an opponent might or might not have. Players can also discard 2 Event cards on their turn to duplicate the effects of the “Crop Swap” Event card that allows the changing of owners for incomplete Crop cards.
Working in the Fields
3 Seeds is played in turns with no set number of turns per game. A player’s turn is summarized here.
Step 1: Draw or Move Seeds
The first thing a player does on their turn is draw 3 Seed cards from their Seed card draw deck. If the player does not have any Seed cards to draw, they may choose to move of their currently in play Seed cards from one Crop card to any other Crop card.
Step 2: Take A Peek or Swap
The player can now take a look at any face-down Harvest card (making certain that none of their opponents can see the card) and place it back to the table in the same position. Or, if the player likes, they can instead swap the table position of 2 Harvest cards currently in play. Any Event cards currently attached to the Harvest card remain attached when swapped.
Step 3: Use Seeds and Events
The player can now place up to 2 of their Seed cards on any Crop card currently in play, including their opponents’ Crop cards. When played, the Crop cards should be placed face-up and organized so the number of each type can easily be determined by everyone at the table. The Seed cards played can be placed on the same Crop card or played on different Crop cards.
The player can also, if they so choose, play 1 or more Event cards at this time.
Step 4: Score Crops
If the player completed any Crop cards by placing the missing Seed cards necessary to fulfill the Crop card’s scoring condition (the correct number of “Time”, “Money”, and “Labor” Seed cards), they can now be scored. The face-down Harvest card is flipped over and the score is determined. More than 1 player will most likely score points.
The score is the number of Seed cards played multiplied by the revealed Harvest card number. For example, if the player with the yellow Seed cards played 2 out of the required to complete the Crop card and the Harvest card is a “5”, then they would earn 10 points (5 x 2 = 10).
Points are scored and kept track of on the Score card. If a player earns more than 50 points, they are given a 50-point token.
The player who owns the Crop card is given the Crop card to be scored at the end of the game. Every player who assisted is given 1 Event card (no more than 3 Event cards allowed per player). All Seed cards used are returned to their owning players, lightly shuffled, and then placed at the bottom of their Seed draw deck.
Finally, any Event cards and Harvest cards in play on the Crop card are discarded and placed face-up on the bottom of their respective decks. A new Harvest and Crop card are then drawn. If either the Event or the Harvest card draw decks reveal a face-up card, shuffle the discard pile to make a new draw deck.
Step 5: Return Unused Seeds and End of Turn
If the player has any Seed cards still in their hand that they did not play, they are returned face-down to the top of their Seed draw deck. The player’s turn is now over and the Turn marker is passed to the next player in turn order sequence.
The End of the Season
The game comes to an end when a Crop card is scored, but there are no more Crop cards in the draw deck left to replace it. All Crop cards that can be scored are completed. Any Seed cards and Crop cards not completed are left and remain unscored. In addition to the points earned from completing a Crop card, additional points can be scored at this time.
Crop cards have Bonus points. These points are totaled and added to the player’s total score.
Crop Set Bonus Points
If the player has 2 to 3 Crop cards completed in their area of the same type, the total sum of the Bonus points for those cards are multiplied by the number of Crop cards that share the same type. The total is added to the player’s total score.
If playing with 2 players only, game set up and play is the same as a 3 to 4 player game with one exception. During game set up, each player receives an additional Crop, Harvest, and Event card.
To learn more about 3 Seeds, visit the game’s web page on the Game Crafter.
The Child Geeks took right to the game and quickly learned that scattering Seed cards was a good idea, but not to a point where players spread themselves too thin. According to one Child Geek, “Because you can score off others, you have to try to score on those Crop cards that will earn the most points the fastest.” But another Child Geek thought that helping others has a big disadvantage. According to this Child Geek, “You need to help others if you want to get points, but you shouldn’t help too much or too often or you’ll end up giving them lots of Bonus points.” Despite this conundrum, where helping earns points for both the player and their opponent, the Child Geeks all enjoyed themselves and approved 3 Seeds.
The Parent Geeks also enjoyed the game, finding it to be light and casual with just the right level of difficulty to keep things interesting, but never overly complicated. According to one Parent Geek, “I like games like this where the decisions you need to make are important, but don’t feel hard.” Another Parent Geek said, “The best part of this game is spreading your cards around and reaping big points. Feels great when you break 50 points before everyone else!” The only aspect of the game the Parent Geeks didn’t care for was the lack of more chances to move Crop cards around. Regardless, they still enjoyed the game a great deal and voted to approve it.
The Gamer Geeks began to get bored with the game before their first attempt was even over. According to one Gamer Geek, “I can already tell this game is not for me. I like the designer’s idea, but the game isn’t deep enough to keep me interested.” Another Gamer Geek said, “I think this is a great game for casual players or those who don’t play games much. I want games that give me hard choices and provide the means to take big risks. I feel like this game puts me in a safety bubble.” The Gamer Geeks really didn’t care for the swapping of Harvest cards, finding it to be an unnecessary action that just caused eye-rolling. Nor did they like the lack of opportunities to claim another player’s Crop. The end result was the Gamer Geeks rejecting 3 Seeds.
3 Seeds plays well enough and certainly does its job. Its inability to attract and keep the interest of our most elite game players was not surprising, but did manage to gain new fans with the Child and Parent Geeks. While I would not consider 3 Seeds an easy game to win, it does lack a certain level of depth that clearly makes it a lighter game. So light in some respects that what a player should do is most of the time pretty obvious. This is the biggest bone of contention the Gamer Geeks had against 3 Seeds and one I cannot disagree with.
The goal of the game is not to harvest as much as you can, but to be a part of as many harvests as possible. As such, the obvious course of action is to always add to as many Crop cards that you can as quickly as you can so you can get your points and your Seed cards back. Event cards throw a small monkey wrench into the works, but do not have a large enough impact to craft a strategic plan around. The end result is a straight forward game with straight forward game play with little to no surprises.
Which is exactly what the Parent Geeks and the Child Geeks were looking for. Despite the game play feeling obvious most of the time, a player is still allowed and encouraged to make the moves that they want. There is little need to bluff since information is either visible or can be easily learned, leaving players with 2 options. They can either chase the immediate points or attempt to play the long game and get a lot of points at the end. This is what excited the Parent Geeks and the Child Geeks. The immediate sense of satisfaction when points are earned and the knowledge that more points could be earned in the future if cards are collected correctly. Of course, the biggest issues with this tactic is that the Crop card to be won is almost always randomly determined with few opportunities for the player to change it.
As for me, I found 3 Seeds to be enjoyable, but not challenging. Earning points certainly takes work, but the overall game playing experience never really engaged me. What it lacks in depth it makes up for in its ease of play. If you enjoy card games where you piggyback on others to earn points and card timing is slightly less important to card placement, then do sit down for a game of 3 Seeds. You might find that it’s a game you’ll grow fond of.
This game was given to Father Geek as a review copy. Father Geek was not paid, bribed, wined, dined, or threatened in vain hopes of influencing this review. Such is the statuesque and legendary integrity of Father Geek.