Tussie Mussie was a real roller coaster for me.
I was super excited to get another Button Shy game. I am a huge fan of small box games and typically carry several Button Shy games in my backpack. Tussie Mussie was created by Elizabeth Hargrave who also created the huge hit Wingspan. And Tussie Mussie's art was done by the one and only Beth Sobel (Viticulture, Arboretum, Circle the Wagons to name a few!).
And then confusion set in with the title...Tussie Mussie??? What the heck? So I hit Google to find it was a Victorian tradition of giving small flower bouquets where the type of flowers conveyed a message.
And then second thoughts....flowers? Cool games are about zombies, space ships, fighting or building something. But I went ahead and opened the Button Shy wallet.
And I was glad I did. Wow. Beth Sobel delivered again. The cards are beautiful.
There are 18 flower cards in the base deck - each of a different flower. There are five different color borders (suits). At the bottom of the card is a clearly worded action that takes place during the scoring phase. Some of the cards also have heart symbols (victory points).
And under the action is the Victorian meaning of that type of flower. My wife was paying special attention to that and trying to recall the last flowers I gave to her!
Game Play is fast and simple but has a surprising amount of decision making and trying to outwit your opponents. Our games typically took 15 minutes. Each game is made up of three rounds. Scores from each round are totaled at the end of the game and the player with the high score wins.
During a round players take turns offering the next player two cards from deck. The active player draws two cards, looks at them then places one card face up and one card face down. The next player must choose one of the cards and moves that card as is (face up or face down) into their collection. The active player adds the remaining card to the active player's collection. The next player becomes the active player.
This sounds deceptively simple. But tension ratchets up as players try to build a good collection for them self and trick the next player into taking a poor card. Lots of fun.
Play continues until all players have four cards in their collection. Then their cards are scored. If any of the cards have an action that action is resolved. Scores are totaled for the round and then the cards are reshuffled and the next round begins.
A card can score simply by just having a heart. Or maybe it gives a bonus if the player has NO cards with hearts. Or maybe it gives a bonus for each heart. Bonuses can also vary by card border color and whether a card is face up or face down. Lots of situations to consider as a player builds their collection.
The solo play of Tussie Mussie adds six turn cards that control how each turn will be played. You are trying to outwit the randomness of the cards. The more of the opponent's hand that you can see the better your decision making becomes. But do you trade off knowing an opponent's card if that means taking an unknown card into your collection? Lots of good decision making!
My Mussie Tussie roller coaster of emotions ended with me really liking the game and artwork.
Game play is smooth and well balanced. Trying to out guess your opponent is fun. I learned that a game about flowers can be cool.
Tussie Mussie's solo play rocks! The solo play alone is worth getting Tussie Mussie.
The Good: Tussie Mussie is a solid addition to Button Shy's wallet game line.
The Bad: Some people might hesitate on a game about flowers...don't!!!
The Dastardly: Tussie Mussie earned a spot in my backpack...a great travel game or light filler game. Fun. Easy to learn and play either against opponents or in solo mode.