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Standard Rules v12.01
last revised May 29, 2013
Winning the Game
Using a combination of brains, guts, and trickery, players must build and protect healthy, diverse, and beautiful landscapes.The winner of the game is the first player to collect twelve or more victory points. Victory points come from Plant Cards, and the point value of a Plant Card is given by the number of stars in the upper-right corner of the card. Thus, the winner of the game is the first player to have a landscape with twelve or more stars worth of plants.
Note: You can adjust the length of a game by changing the number of points needed to win the game. For reference, a twelve-point game takes around 30 minutes per player, so a three-player game to 12 points takes about 90 minutes.
Each player begins the game with two Land Cards, and a small pile of coins. Each turn, your Land Cards will produce income in the form of coins and Resources. You can use your coins to buy more Land Cards, most of which come with Plants. You can also use your coins to buy Resources, which you can use to reshape landscapes, or to frustrate your opponents. With Resources, you can make you landscape better, block your opponent’s actions, or make your opponent’s landscape worse.
Plant Cards: Plant cards are the heart of the game. There are eleven different types. Each type is based on a real-world plant species, and has its own personality. Some species are native to California (the good guys) while others are invasive (the bad guys). Every Plant Card has two sides. One side represents a small plant, while the other represents a big plant. This means that Plant Cards can grow and change over time, just like real plants.
Land Cards: Land Cards come in two different types: Parcels and Buildings. Parcels are pieces of the landscape. Each Parcel can hold either one Plant or one Building. Parcels also provide income in the form of coins or Resource Cards, or give special abilities to their owner. Buildings are, well, buildings. While buildings are not worth any points, they give special benefits to their owner, and can be a big help in winning the game.
Resource Cards: You can use Resource Cards in many different ways: to change landscapes, to block your opponent’s actions, or to sell for coins. For example, you could use a Water Resource to make your native plants grow (increasing your score), to block the effect of a Fire Resource (frustrate your opponents) , or to make your opponent’s invasive plants grow (lowering their score).
Event Cards: Events are random happenings that may affect plants, lands, and players. At the beginning of each turn, the active player must draw and play the top Event Card. The effect of each Event is explained on the card.
Coins: Coins are money. You can use them to buy Land Cards, to buy Resource Cards, or to trade with other players.
- Look through the Land Cards. Find the four Headquarters cards, and the four Empty Field cards. Give one Headquarters and one Empty Field to each player. If there are less than four players, put the extra Headquarters cards, and the extra Empty Field cards, back with the rest of the Land Cards.
- Shuffle the remaining Land Cards, and put them face down in the middle of the table. This is now the Land Deck.
- Draw the top six cards from the Land Deck, and lay them out face-up, in a row, in the middle of the table. This is the starting Property Market.
- Shuffle the Resource Cards, and put them face down in the middle of the table. This is now the Resource Deck.
- Look through all the Event Cards, and remove any cards where the number at the bottom of the card is larger than the number of players at the table. For example, in a two-player game, you should pull out any cards that say “3+” or “4+” and just play with the cards that say “1+”, or “2+”. If you have four players, you can skip this step.
- Shuffle the remaining Event Cards, and put them face-down in the middle of the table. This is now the Event Deck.
- Give 10 coins to each player.
- Decide who will be going first. Note: One easy way to do this is to have each player draw one card from the Land Deck. The player with the most expensive card goes first. Afterwards, put the cards back in the Land Deck, and reshuffle the Land Deck.
- If there are four players, give the top Resource Card to the fourth player. This is a consolation prize for going fourth.
This illustration shows the proper table layout:
Playing the Game
Starting with the first player, take turns, one at a time, moving clockwise around the table.
Each turn has four parts. During your turn, you must:
- Draw and play the top Event Card. Players must do whatever is described on the card. Afterwards, put the card face-up in the Event discard pile.
- Draw the top card from the Land Deck, and add it to the Property Market.
- Count the number of Resource Cards produced by your lands, and draw that number of Resource Cards. Then, count the number of Coins produced by your lands, and take that number of coins from the Bank.
- Take action. In any order, you may:
- Buy one Land Card from the Property Market.
- Play any number of Resource Cards.
- Buy cards from the top of the Resource Deck for two coins per card.
- Sell Resource Cards to the Bank for one coin per card.
- Initiate any number of trades.
Note: You may only buy one Land Card per turn. However, you may take any other actions as many times as you like in each turn. For example, in one turn, you could play a Resource Card, buy one Land, trade with another player, then play another Resource Card.
More about plants
Big and Small
Every Plant Card has two sides. One side represents a large or full-grown plant. We’ll call this the ‘big-side.’ The big-side has a large picture and a dark-green background. The other side represents a small, young, or damaged plant. We’ll call this the ‘small-side.’ The small-side has a small picture and a light-green background. During the game, you will often flip Plant Cards back-and-forth, from small-to-big or big-to-small, as plants grow up or take damage.
Note: Big-sized plants often have a different personality than small-sized plants.
Natives and Invasives
Plant Cards with a green border represent species that are native to California. These are the ‘good guys’, and will give you victory points. Plant Cards with a red or yellow border represent invasive species. These are the ‘bad guys.’ These species are not native to California, and do not give you any points. Rather, they take up space that could be filled with native plants. Even worse, when encouraged by fires or by your opponents, these invasives can spread, pushing out nearby native plants and reducing your score!
Hint: Try to grow and multiply your native plants while damaging or killing your invasive plants. At the same time, try to do the reverse to your opponents: grow and multiply their invasive plants, while damaging or killing their native plants.
Woody and non-woody
Understanding Plant Cards:
Each plant card has three key pieces of information: a name, a point value, and a personality. Of these, the personality section is the most important.
Each line in the personality section describes a cause and an effect. For example, a fire icon followed by the word “Damage” means that if the plant is burned by fire, it is damaged, and you must flip the card from big-to-small. If there are two icons on the same line, the both of those resources must be played at the same time in order to trigger the effect.
There are five different plant actions that can be triggered by Events and Resources:
- Grow: A plant grows up. Flip the card so that the big-side is face-up.
- Damage: A plant shrinks. Flip the card so that the small-side is face-up.
- Kill: Return the plant to the Species Pool (a.k.a. the pile of unused plant cards).
- Propagate: A full-grown plant makes a child, and that child may go on any open space within the same landscape. More specifically, the owner of the parent plant must search the Species Pool for cards of the same species as the parent, and take one. That person must then choose an open land that they own, and place the new card on that open land, small-side up. An “open land” is a land that does not already have either a building or a plant. If the owner of the parent does not have any open lands, then the action fizzles, and nothing happens.
- Invade: A full-grown plant makes a child, and that child may either go on an open space within the same landscape OR replace a non-woody plant within the same landscape. Again, more specifically, the owner of the parent plant must search the Species Pool for cards of the same species as the parent, and take one. That person may then do one of the following:
- Choose an open land that they own, and place the new card on that open land, small-side up, just as for Propagation.
- If the parent plant is a native, choose a non-woody invasive plant from their landscape, and replace it with the new card, making sure that the new card (the child) is small-side up. Put the displaced invasive back in the Species Pool.
- If the parent plant is an invasive, choose a non-woody native plant from their landscape, and replace it with the new card, making sure that the new card (the child) is small-side up. Put the displaced native back in the Species Pool.
On dispersal: In the standard rules, Plants cannot spread from one player to another. In the advanced rules, this is different.
Limited Cards: If a Resource or Event causes a Plant to try to Propagate or Invade, but there are no more cards of that species in the Species Pool, then the action fizzles, and nothing happens. Any Resources that were used to try to make this happen should be returned to the hand of their owner.
The following illustrations give examples of each of the five possible actions: Grow, Damage, Kill, Propagate, and Invade.
When you play a water card on a Small Sagebrush, it makes the plant grow up into a Big Sagebrush.
When a Big Sagebrush is burned by fire, it takes damage, and goes back to being a Small Sagebrush.
When a Small Sagebrush is burned by fire, it is killed and goes back into the Species pool (the stack of unused plant cards).
Congratulations! Did you notice that your new Sagebrush has a star in the top-right corner? This means it’s worth a point. So you’ve increased your score by one point!
While you likely love your little Sagebrush, you opponents may not. If one of them were to play a Water card on your Big Mustard, they could make it Invade! When someone makes one of your plants invade, if there is a place that you could put the child, then you must do so, even if you don’t like it. Here, since you don’t have any open lands, you would have to replace the Small Sagebrush, with the Small Mustard.
More about Land
Buildings and Parcels:
There are two kinds of cards in the Land Deck: buildings and parcels. Buildings are, well, buildings. While they do not give you any points, they do give you special abilities, and those abilities can be a big help in winning the game. However, in order to have a building, you must have a place to put it.
This brings us to Parcels. Parcels are pieces of the landscape. Each Parcel can hold either one Plant or one Building. Parcels also provide income in the form of coins ( ) or Resource Cards ( ), or give special abilities to their owner.
At the beginning of the game, each player gets one Empty Field, and one Headquarters. The rest of the Land Cards are shuffled together into the Land Deck. The top 6 cards from this deck are then laid out, face-up, in the middle of the table. These cards are on the Property Market. At the beginning of each turn, the active player will draw the top Land Card, and add it to the Property Market. The cards in the Market are on sale, and can be bought. Each turn, you may buy one card from the Market. To buy a card, pay the cost of the card to the bank, then add the card to the right-hand side of your landscape. If the newly-purchased card has a plant listed under ‘Starting Flora’, the buyer must then take a plant of that type from the Species Pool, and put it on the new Land Card.
Note: When you buy a land that comes with a plant, make sure you put the plant on the land with the right side facing up. For example, if the card says, “Big Sagebrush,” you should put a Sagebrush card on the land, big-side up.
More about Resources
Types of resources
There are five types of resources:
Fire: You can use fire resources to start or spread fires. As plants have such a wide range of responses to fire, when you use a fire resource, you’ll need to be careful. You can also use fire resources to block the effect of water resources.
Nefarious: Remember the villains in old-fashioned western movies? You could always tell a villain from his mustache. You can use nefarious resources to steal from other players, to plant invasives on their landscapes, or to block the effect of labor resources.
More about Events
Overview of Events:
Events are random happenings that may affect plants, lands, and players. At the beginning of each turn, the active player must draw and play the top card from the Event Deck. All players must then do as the card describes, and then put the card face-up in the Event discard pile. The effect of each Event is explained on the card.
Depending on the situation, burning plants in different orders can lead to different results. For this reason, it’s important to burn plants in the right order.
Start with the leftmost Land of the active player (the person who drew the Fire Event), then move counter-clockwise around the table, and consider each land in turn. If a land is in the affected part of California (in the region shown on the die), and that land has a plant, then apply one fire () to that plant. If a land is not in the affected part of California, then skip to the next land. Continue on around the table until you’ve considered each land in play.
The figure on the following page shows an example: The active player drew a Fire Event, rolled the die, and it came up showing southern California. Starting with that player’s leftmost land, fire moved around the table, burning all of the player-owned lands in southern California, and skipping over lands in central California.
During your turn, you may propose trades. You may trade any combination of Resources, Coins, and Lands, as long as both sides agree to the trade. For example, if you happen to have too many time resources, and not enough water resources, you could offer to trade time for water.
The only limitation is that plants and buildings must stay with their parcels. You can sell or trade land cards with other players, but any plants and buildings must stay with the parcel.
For information, questions, or comments:
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