Review – Downtown Farmers Market

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Designer Johan Benvenuto, Alexandre Droit

Publisher Blue Orange Games

Category Tile-Laying

Length 15-20 minutes

Release Date 2022

Player Count 2-4

Downtown Farmers Market is a new tile-drafting game in which players each create a 4×4 grid of tiles, strategically placed to fulfill objectives. In classic Blue Orange style, this game features a highly accessible ruleset, a lightweight but engaging decision space, and a lovely aesthetic. Let’s see how it works!

Review

Downtown Farmers Market has 2-4 players enjoying a weekend outing to get fresh, local produce. In this tile-laying game, players take turns drafting tiles and adding them to their own personal, 4×4 tableau. The goal of the game is to earn the most points, and points come from placing tiles to fulfill objectives.

To begin the game, each player creates the X and Y axes of their tableau using 8 objective tiles. Then, 5 food tiles are turned up to create a central market display.

As tiles are chosen, they get placed at the intersection of a row and column.

Each turn, players draft from these food tiles, choosing 1 tile each to place into their tableau. Tiles must be placed at the intersection of a row and column and cannot be moved once placed. In games with fewer than 4 players, turns may also involve discarding tiles from the market; whatever the player count, 1 tile always carries over from round to round.

Players continue drafting and placing tiles until all tableaus are completed (16 turns). At that time, the game ends and scores are calculated. Each objective tile awards points if certain conditions are met in its row/column. As a few examples:

  • Have exactly X amount of 2 types of food in this row/column (e.g. 2 corn and 1 egg)
  • Have 6 different kinds of food in this row/column
  • Have more of X food than any other type of food in this row/column
  • Earn X points per set of Y resources in this row/column (e.g. 2 points for each egg and carrot pair)
  • Have exactly X total food in this row/column

The player with the most points wins!


Downtown Farmers Market is classic Blue Orange fare. It is incredibly simple to learn, it plays quickly, and it works well with mixed age groups. It’s also quite compact—though I haven’t tried this yet, I suspect I will use it as a “tray table game” the next time my wife and I are on an airplane.

As the game progresses, players’ tableaus will start to look like this.

Like most family games from this publisher, Downtown Farmers Market manages to walk the line of being accessible to kids but also interesting for adults. The drafting choices are straightforward, but not always easy or obvious. The fun of this game comes from balancing the row and column objectives, trying to grab food tiles that work toward both scoring conditions. The discarding of tiles in 2-3 player games can also lead to a little hate-drafting, which I enjoy.

The production of this game is minimal—it’s literally just tiles—but I really like the art style. A vibrant color scheme and clean graphic design make Downtown Farmers Market quite appealing. I also appreciate the small box size; it is exactly as big as it needs to be, no bigger.

This game fits right alongside other Blue Orange releases like Kingdomino and Block Ness. Simple, accessible, and fun. If you’re looking for a breezy tile-laying game for the whole family, check out Downtown Farmers Market.

A review copy was provided by Blue Orange Games.

The Bottom Line

Downtown Farmers Market is classic Blue Orange fare—light on rules, quick to play, and enjoyable for mixed age groups. It is laid-back and relaxing, just like a famers market should be.

 

7.5

Stephen Hall

My geek roots run deep. I have been a gamer and comic book reader since I was a kid, but tabletop games are my #1 hobby.