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Garden Geckos Board Game Review – Coming to Kickstarter Soon!

I toyed around with the idea of whether or not Garden Geckos, a game that is yet to be available to the masses, should get a review or a preview. The game was sent over by a fellow Ontarian who created and is publishing the title, and this review is for their upcoming Kickstarter campaign which is set to launch soon! This one from Tin Robot Games is shaping up to be a phenomenal light weight addition to your library. While I wonder how much traction it will get in the hardcore board game space, I cannot think of many better games to introduce to board game novices. Let’s take a look!


How to Play

In Garden Geckos, players are playing tiles from their hand of three onto the table to create at least one patter along an edge. Then they place, or move if all their geckos have been placed, a gecko straddling the two tiles on any one side that matches. Each tile has a number of different patterns printed on them, and a single bug in the middle. For the most part, players are attempting to place geckos in order to fulfill face up goal cards on the table. You might need a certain number of your geckos straddling specific patterns on the table, or you need to have geckos connecting various different bugs in a very specific order. Once you’ve completed an objective by laying a tile and placing a gecko that adds to the requirement, you get to take the cards.

Ultimately, every physical bug token you have at the end of the game, and every bug icon printed on a card, are worth one point each. Whoever has the most points wins!



Last year we had the privilege of reviewing another Tin Robots Games titles called Cities of Venus, and in that review I remarked about how impressive I was with the quality of the game – and that was just a prototype with a few noted issues. Once again, this team has knocked it out of the park. The pattern tiles you lay out on the table are made of nice and thick cardboard that was easy to punch out. The cards as well are really great, and even though you don’t really handle them often, the quality level speaks to what Tin Robot Games is trying to do with their releases. I honestly think they could have gotten away with a lesser quality card material, but they opted to not do that.

More impressively, all the tokens in the game – whether the geckos you are placing or the bugs you can collect – are screen printed wooden pieces. Once again, had this been cardboard chits instead of wood pieces, I’m not sure anyone would have complained. It again speaks to what this company is looking to do with their game releases – high quality and consistence seems to be a benchmark of what they are doing. As an accessibility feature, each gecko has a different design printed on them that helps those who are colour blind – they thought of everything!


Is it good?

You can have the best components in the industry, but if your games sucks, it sucks. Fortunately, Garden Geckos is a very competent, easy to learn experience. I think the decision space is huge, trying to decide how to best lay your tiles so that a) you don’t prop up your opponent for an easy goal card score; and b) you make sure to optimize every tile placement. With experienced board game players, there isn’t a lot of room for error. The end game can sneak up on you quickly, so making sure you are optimizing almost every turn is probably key to victory. You cannot be placing too many tiles without some purpose – I learned that the hard way.

This will be a game that is fun for everyone – it might be the centre piece of a beginners board game night, and a filler title for those who are more experienced in the hobby. As a gateway game, though, I think it’s phenomenal, and one that I would easily recommend for anyone to have in their collection.

The game isn’t without it’s issues. I don’t think it particularity plays well at lower player counts, especially two players. Does it work? Of course it does, and ultimately it isn’t bad. But after playing with more players, the decision space becomes even harder to figure out and more complex, which I really enjoyed as a veteran board game player. I find the experience very light with two players, and much deeper when you move towards the games maximum.


Garden Geckos is easy to learn, provides an incredibly deep decision space, and yet maintains accessibility for almost anyone. This game works in different ways for different people. More experienced gamers aren’t going to find enough of a challenge if they can only make 2 or 3 player games work, but at higher player counts, they are going to enjoy the competitive nature of the experience. Still, it is easy to recommend this title – fantastic components coupled with easy to learn gameplay makes this an ideal game for a wide range of people.


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blank Adam Roffel has only been writing about video games for a short time, but has honed his skills completing a Master's Degree. He loves Nintendo, and almost anything they have released...even Tomodachi Life.

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Twitter: @AdamRoffel