t's a fabulously sunny day - the perfect occasion for folks to visit the new topiary garden on the outskirts of town! Nothing spells a relaxing weekend like enjoying sculptures created with the assistance of nature herself.
The garden can get quite crowded at times, though, so it's up to you to make sure your visitors get the best views of these beautiful botanicals.
- 1 scoreboard
- 32 visitors
- 40 sculpture tiles +4 score markers
Object of the Game
The goal of the game is to earn points by rearranging the topiary garden and positioning your visitors so that they can see as many sculptures as possible. C
reate the best sight lines with smaller sculptures in front of successively larger ones, and get bonus points by having multiple sculptures of a single type visible in the same sight line!
Give each player a set of visitors in their chosen color. The number of visitors each player receives varies according to the number of players in the game (see below). Any unused visitors can be returned to the box.
- 2 players: 8 visitors each
- 3 players: 6 visitors each
- 4 players: 5 visitors each
Shuffle the sculpture tiles together to form a stack, then deal a 5x5 grid of tiles face down to create the garden, making sure to leave some space between tiles. Flip the center tile face up.
Create a 5x5 grid of face-down tiles,
with the center tile face up.
Note: If playing with 2-3 players, remove all 5 sculpture tiles of a single type from the game prior to creating the garden).
The player who has most recently trimmed a real plant is the first player. If nobody has a green thumb, determine the first player randomly.
Deal 3 sculpture tiles from the stack, face down, to each player. These will form the player's hand, which they can view but must keep hidden from their opponents. After player hands are dealt, return all leftover sculpture tiles to the box.
Each player receives a set of visitors (depending on the number of players) and 3 face-down tiles.
Set the scoreboard and 4 score markers aside for now. All scoring occurs at the end of the game, so they will not be needed until then.
In a game of Topiary, players take turns in clockwise order, beginning with the first player (determined during setup). On each turn, the active player will place 1 of their visitors. The game will continue in this manner until every player has placed all of their visitors.
On your turn, there are 2 steps, which occur in order:
- Position a Visitor (mandatory)
- Rearrange Sculptures (optional)
1. Position a Visitor
Place 1 of your unplaced visitors along the outer edge of the garden, in any unoccupied position so that it has a sight line down a row, column, or diagonal of sculptures.
If a position is already occupied by another visitor, you may not place a visitor there - only 1 visitor is allowed per sight line. Make sure you position your visitor such that it is visually clear which sight line the visitor has.
2. Rearrange Sculptures
You may then, but are not required to, pick up 1 face-down sculpture in the sight line of the visitor you just placed, adding the sculpture tile to your hand.
Next, place any sculpture tile (this could even be the tile you just picked up) from your hand back into the empty spot you just created in the garden, face up.
End of the Game
When the last visitor has been placed, the game is over. Use the scoreboard and score markers to help you tally points for each player, 1 at a time. There are 3 scoring categories: visitors, type bonuses, and tiles in hand.
Each visitor scores points equal to the face value of all sculptures visible to them in their sight line. For a sculpture to be visible to a visitor, any sculptures closer to the visitor must be smaller (i.e., a lower number).
A larger sculpture will block the visitor's view of any sculptures of equal or smaller size behind it. Face-down sculpture tiles are considered "0" and never block a view.
Example A: In this green visitor's sight line, the Polyhedron 3, Pom Pom 4, and Spiral 5 are all visible. The visitor sees past the face-down tile, but cannot see the Polyhedron 4 because the Pom Pom 4 is blocking the view.
Each visitor scores bonus points if multiple sculptures of the same type are visible in their sight line.
If the visitor can see 2+ sculptures of a single type, they score 1 bonus point per sculpture of that type. It is possible for a single visitor to score bonuses for 2 separate types of sculptures.
Example B: This blue visitor can see T-Rex 2, T-Rex 3, and T-Rex 5, so blue scores 3 bonus points.
The visitor can also see a Swan 4 but cannot see the Swan 5, which is blocked from view by the T-Rex 5, so blue does not score bonus points for the Swan type.
Tiles in Hand
Reveal all 3 tiles left in your hand. For each tile, score points equal to the face value, as long as a larger sculpture of that type is visible to at least 1 of your visitors somewhere in the garden.
Example C: The red player can score the T-Rex 1 and Whale 2 from her hand because her visitors can see larger sculptures of those types in the garden.
She does not score the Pyramid 5 in her hand, because none of her visitors can see a larger Pyramid. (In fact, that would be impossible, as 5 is the largest size!)
After scoring all 3 categories, the player with the most total points wins!
If there is a tie, the winner is the tied player with the most points scored from tiles in hand. If there is still a tie, the winner is the tied player who was later in turn order.
Example D: In this 4-player game, the red player's visitors score 40 points total (9+12+9+5+5). Combined with the 3 points scored from tiles in her hand (see Example C above), the red player's final score is 43 points.
To reduce the luck of the draw, you can incorporate this variant.
During setup, after dealing 3 sculpture tiles to each player, deal all remaining sculpture tiles to the player who is last in initial turn order (instead of returning them to the box right away).
That player evaluates all the sculpture tiles they have been dealt, then chooses any 3 tiles to keep as their starting hand.
Then they pass the sculpture tiles they didn't keep to the player on their right, who repeats this process. Continue this in reverse turn order until all players have chosen 3 tiles as their starting hand. Then return the leftover tiles to the box