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Tussie Mussie Review

Review of: Tussie Mussie
Board Game Review by::
Chris Sacco

Reviewed by:
On Aug 14, 2023
Last modified:Aug 14, 2023


We review Tussie Mussie, a 18-card game published by Button Shy Games. In Tussie Mussie, players are trying to score the most points by arranging the flowers that are given to them.

Tussie MussieI woke up in a cold sweat not long ago. The terror was palpable as I realized I had once again forgotten my wedding anniversary. As always, my first call was to Board Game Quest publisher Tony Mastrangeli. Frenzied, I asked him what options I had to rectify the situation.

“I don’t really see how this is my problem,” he said with his usual high-level of compassion.

“Please. I’m desperate.”

“How about you go get some flowers?” Tony replied with a yawn.

“That’s a decent idea, but what if I’m too lazy to leave the house?”

“You’re unbelievable,” growled Tony, “but I have just the thing for you.”

And that why, a mere two days later, I received a review copy of Tussie Mussie, a two-player micro game about designing bouquets of flowers.

It was just what the doctor ordered for the crisis I had found myself in. Thanks, Tony!

Tussie Mussie is designed by Elizabeth Hargrave for 2-4 players and takes about 15 minutes.

Gameplay Overview:

Tussie Mussie is an 18-card drafting and mini-tableau building game. The entire deck will shuffled to start play. Each turn, the active player will draw two cards and offer them to their neighbor (left or right depending on the round). One of these cards will be offered face up and the other face down. The recipient will chose one of these cards and add it to the Arrangement of flowers in front of them (keeping its face up/down status the same). Players can always look at face-down cards once it’s in their Arrangement; these cards are their Keepsakes. Cards are always added to the rightmost place in the Arrangement. Play continues this way until all players have four cards, which ends the round.

Tussie Mussie Rose
Seems simple, but this is how the decisions are presented every turn.

At the end of the round, players will reveal their Arrangements—being sure to make note of which cards are their Keepsakes because that might matter for some scoring conditions—and trigger the actions on the cards in their Arrangement. These actions can be triggered in any order the player chooses, and can cause a variety of effects like discarding other cards in one’s Arrangement (found on high-scoring cards) or drawing a new card and then replacing one of the Arrangement’s current cards. Players then score for all the hearts in their Arrangement and for any powers present on the cards (things like “one point for each of your other cards without a heart” or one point for each of a certain color type).

After three rounds like this, players tally their scores and whoever has the most points is the winner. (The rule pamphlet doesn’t even attempt to provide any thematic logic for why you’re competing, so let’s just say the winner is the best flowerer.)

Tussie Mussie Gameplay
A look at the cards that comprise the entirety of this game’s components.

Game Experience:

My first reaction after two or so rounds of Tussie Mussie was that it bears strong similarities to Hanamikoji’s action selection system. It’s less robust and doesn’t lead to the area control scoring that Hanamikoji has, but in many ways it scratches the same itch. Do I show the card I really want in hopes my neighbor will go fishing for the face-down card? Or should I assume they will want to control the information they have and hide the card I’d ultimately prefer to get by placing it face down? It’s an interesting push and pull that occurs on every turn, and the better path is never obvious.

Tussie Mussie Cards
A sample of what a players bouquet could look like at the end of the round. Manipulating the order of these cards is the primary way to maximize one’s points.

Ultimately, though, I found that the hide/reveal decision every turn was effectively the only thing players do throughout the game. Once the other players select the card they want, that card gets added to the scoring tableau in a fixed location and the rest of the round is spent pivoting to these cards whether you wanted them or not. And that tableau, while obviously important for scoring purposes, is very difficult to manipulate at that point.

Scoring is fairly straightforward, which means, unfortunately, that it’s also uninteresting. Rounds (and the game as a whole) go by so quickly that there’s very little time to develop any deep scoring strategy or plan nifty combos. They exist, of course, but often it feels like pulling them off is more of a fluke than an impressive manipulation of the face-up or face-down display of the cards you’ve selected.

Final Thoughts:

I’m not sure what I was expecting from Tussie Mussie, but what I ended up feeling after my first play was “well, that was pleasant.” And that’s more or less how I felt after a series of additional plays. There’s just not much going on in this game, which might be a feature of a micro game designed to be a filler or travel item. Earlier in this review, I compared Tussie Mussie to Hanamikoji and I do think both games provide a similar feeling despite their different approaches to scoring. Keeping this in mind, I would almost always prefer the latter, and if I’m looking for a tableau-scoring micro game I’d rather play something like Skulls of Sedlec.

Final score: 3.5 Stars. A pleasant, if mildly uninteresting micro card game that is a good option as a filler but doesn’t offer enough new ideas to make it stand out.

3.5 StarsHits:
• Fun hide/reveal card choice mechanism
• Nice art

• Not much depth
• Difficult to optimize your scoring tableau for combo-rific scoring
• Not a great wedding anniversary gift

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Chris Sacco
Chris played epic games of Monopoly every Saturday night as a child long before he dove into the deeper end of the hobby. Now his tastes lean more toward midweight and above euros, but he often mixes in family-weight games to cleanse his palate. You can even catch him still taking the occasional trip around “Go” if the mood strikes him. He has worked as a local news reporter, columnist and currently hosts a comedy podcast about movies. Chris was born in New York, raised in New Jersey, and now lives in Arizona with his gaming partner (who is incidentally his wife) and their two tiny gamers-in-training.

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