You could be forgiven for believing Three Sisters board game (view it on Amazon) is a Halloween game, graphically best game considering the enormous pumpkins on the box and the connection between the name and a witch’s coven. It is, in reality, a farming game: The term “Three Sisters” refers to a complementary planting system that has been employed in Mesoamerica since antiquity. The pumpkin plant prevents weeds by covering the ground, and it’s planted with maize and beans, with the latter using the former as a trellis.
This unusual topic serves as the basis for a roll-and-write game in which participants roll and choose dice to fill in sections of their scorecard. Because of its mass-market appeal, Yahtzee is the most well-known game in this category, although Three Sisters is about as different from Yahtzee as you can get.
Three Sisters Board Game Review
What’s in the Box
Three Sisters, like most roll-and-write games, has a large number of score sheets that you may pull off and write on to play. It features two different sheets, unlike other similar games. One keeps track of your flower and veggie garden. Your shed, beehives, a lengthy track for the things you’ll manufacture, and a place to write notes are all on the opposite side. This last modification may seem strange at first, but you’ll quickly see why it’s beneficial.
The painting is lovely, with all the greens and oranges you’d expect in a garden in bloom. The last pieces are some cool orange custom dice with pumpkin symbols where the “1” should be, as well as some wooden components. The first player gets a pumpkin, the cylinder keeps track of the round, and the black wooden farmer token follows the current spot on the rondel.
Rules and How it Plays
A game of Three Sisters has eight rounds, each of which begins with a pool of dice dependent on the number of participants. Following a rondel cycle, you sort dice into groups of the same value and then put each group on a spot on the board. The dice throw restricts the number of actions accessible since each space on the rondel corresponds to an action you may do in the game.
The players then take turns choosing a die and doing the action that corresponds to it. But first, they must tend to their garden. There are six zones of boxes for pumpkins, which provide you products to sell at the market, and maize and beans, which give you points, at the top of one of the score sheets.
You may either generate two new plants or water the zone that matches the die you choose, allowing all of the existing plants to grow a box.
Growing one of numerous fruits, tending to your hive of bees, acquiring a box of products to sell, the market itself, and the shed are among the other actions. This one allows you to check off boxes from a variety of items that grant you exceptional abilities. They range from mason jars, which allow you to sell fruit harvests as a bonus item, to a tractor that does nothing but provide you eighteen points if you fill in all of its boxes.
You may also take a perpetual action by growing two nearby pumpkins to full height, and there are a variety of them, just like fruit. Bonus products are given by hyacinths, whereas bonus fruit-growing acts are given by hydrangeas.
You will also receive perpetual actions for selling products in the market, and the more goods you have, the more such actions you will receive. Filling up your products track also earns you free actions, which you may use to buy fruit, perennials, or hives.
As you might expect from a roll and write game, Three Sisters is rather sophisticated, however it is still simpler than many of its bigger siblings. But there’s another reason we spent so much time on the rules rather to just telling you how it works: you need to know how all of the game aspects interact before you can comprehend what makes it unique.
Let’s imagine you decide to take a free goods action on your turn. To begin, you must water, which will result in the growth of pumpkins, which will boost your products track. This rewards you with a free action, which you use on raspberries to boost your goods track even more.
You earn a second extra action when you combine it with your pumpkin harvest, and you haven’t even started filling in your free products! Even if you only have two unresolved actions, that grown pumpkin brackets a perennial, allowing you to do that action as well: and resolving those three actions might gain you even more.
This is why the scorecard has a notes section: so you can keep track of unresolved acts while you sort out your turn. Three Sisters is all about these massive chains of combinations, and they’re fantastic. It’s difficult to think out and work out in order to maximise their potential, but it’s rewarding to execute, and you can frequently bank significant points swings in the process. There aren’t many other roll-and-write games that follow this approach, and none do it nearly as well as this one.
Three Sisters is all about these massive chains of combinations, and they’re fantastic. Turns can be a touch sluggish since players roll their own dice rather than working from the same roll as in typical games of this type. People, on the other hand, may be allowed to sort out their combination chains while other players have their turns.
It’s all too simple to make a mistake and miss an action or do something that isn’t legally permitted. It also provides for a pretty heads-down game in which you focus solely on your own scorecard and are unconcerned about what other players are doing. The scratching of pencils and the occasional ooh and aah at a particularly large scoring cascade are the only sounds.
The scoresheet’s intricacy, on the other hand, encourages the use of numerous tactics. While collecting a few basic products early on appears to be a no-brainer, you may then thrive in a variety of ways. Your garden, apiary, fruit orchard, market sales, and perennial borders are all excellent sources of points that complement one another in various ways.
While the roll of the dice may affect your early decisions, there are many different strategic options to consider as the game proceeds.
Where to Buy
Get it at Amazon
Get it at Game Nerdz
Three Sisters shares some parallels with a previous roll and write game called Fleet: The Dice Game, which encouraged players to score by stringing together combinations. This takes it to the next level by allowing you to perform extended chains of actions that are both tough and rewarding algorithms used are difficult.
Three Sisters is a terrific addition to the genre, with a lot more complexity and variation than the ordinary roll and write, as long as you’re okay with its insular and occasionally perplexing play style.
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- April 21, 2022