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It’s Tea Time with the Prosperitea Board Game by Mentha Designs!

I’m more of a coffee guy, but I was certainly drawn to the box for the Prosperitea board game, which is designed to such an artisanal degree that you’d expect to find it in a high-end boutique somewhere. The game is all about gathering ingredients for teas and fulfilling orders for your finished products.

Prosperitea board game
Board Game Cover for Prosperitea by Mentha Designs

Prosperitea is designed by Al Gonzalez III, and it really makes me question how little I actually know about tea. Sure, there are some words that I recognize – like chamomile – but by-and-large I was out of my depth when it came to knowing things about tea ingredients. I’m sure that people who are big into tea culture will appreciate the illustrations and nods to some of their favorite teas while playing this game.

Let’s dive into the Prosperitea board game and see if this brew has fully steeped into a fun and lasting game!

Prosperitea Gameplay and Review

I’ve already talked about the presentation of the Prosperitea board game, which clearly has been the recipient of a ton of care and attention. There’s some wonderful gilding on the exterior of the box, a decorative box cover sleeve, and chunky cardboard components to accompany the exceptional illustrations on the Ingredient cards. There are four types of Ingredient categories in the game, and you’ll be drawing from their respective decks to fill out standard, evergreen, or premium tea orders.

As good as the presentation of the game is, the rulebook and reference cards seem to have been neglected from the star treatment that the rest of the game received. There are solely in black and white, and there are plenty of errors and omissions in both that leave some questions into how the game is actually played. I’m really not sure why these weren’t printed in color at a bare minimum, and I’m actually a bit perplexed as to how the game was finalized with the rules in this state.

The setup is straightforward, with Ingredient decks shuffled and arranged in a row, followed by the standard and premium tea order cards below them. On your turn, you’ll first need to declare how much money you’ll be spending, which determines how many cards you will be drawing from the Ingredient decks. In the setup, there is just this squiggly M symbol that is never defined as money, leaving the reader to infer it from the tokens.

After gathering ingredients, it’s time for that player to fill an order. They can ask nearby players for ingredients to assist in fulfilling their secret order, which is a weird caveat because usually you can tell which order they’re working towards. If the other player agrees, anybody who contributed an ingredient besides the active player gets an Ingredient token that is redeemable for points at the end of the game or for any Ingredient when fulfilling an order themselves.

Fulfilling an order also yields the choice between redeeming the order for money instantly, or to count it towards prestige (read: victory) points at the end of the game. Leftover Ingredient tokens and money get converted to prestige at the end of the game, but the primary source of points will be these orders.

If you can’t fulfill one of the standard or premium orders, then you can also hand in Ingredients for evergreen orders for money as well. Or, if you needed money in the Ingredient phase, you could have forgone a purchase and just cleared out an order to gain 2 money.

Once one of the order decks is out of cards, the game ends and prestige is added up. Highest prestige wins.

There are a few other errors in the rulebook that soured the experience for me. The first is that each Ingredient card has a number of stars on it that is never really explained, but some deduction leads me to believe that it’s indicative of rarity. The more stars that a card has, the less frequently you could expect to see it in the deck.

Prosperitea board game

The other gripe that I have is that there is a hand-size limit of 7 cards, which is somehow not in the rulebook but only listed on the player reference card. What isn’t explained is when this rule comes into play; can you never have 7+ cards in hand or do you discard down at the end of your turn? I played in what I perceived as logical, by discarding down to 7 at the end of the turn so that you could gather an abundance of Ingredients and use them up before your turn was over. That was much more fun than the alternative, which felt unnecessarily restrictive.

There is also a single ingredient that has a special effect, allowing it be used as any one ingredient matching two types. This is also never addressed in the rules or the reference card, and none of the other ingredients have such a power. It just feels like an afterthought and disconnected from the rest of the game.

Overall, I found that the Prosperitea board game had me going through the motions of collecting Ingredients and trying to cache them in for orders. I can see how requesting Ingredients for others might seem good in theory, but it also felt like people only really wanted to give up common Ingredients, essentially trading them for a wild one.

Maybe if I was into the tea scene a little bit more, I could have made a better connection to this game thematically. It’s set-collection at its most basic, with an element of wheeling and dealing to make the Prosperitea board game not just a solitaire experience. When you add in the rulebook errors and omissions, I just wish that as much aesthetic care that went into the game had been put into the rules and gameplay as well.

Prosperitea: Steep and Stew!

Even if the Prosperitea board game wasn’t a game that directly appeals to me, people who are into tea or board games as art might find something to enjoy here. It would be an acceptable intro-level set-collection game to those new to the hobby as well. What I hope for most of all, however, is an updated version that fixes the mistakes made with the first.

You can find the Prosperitea board game in the USA through Mentha Designs, or try to find it at your FLGS!

Disclaimer: Nerds on Earth was provided a copy of Prosperitea from Flat River Group in exchange for an honest review.

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