Getting Fluffy with It. Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah.

I recently saw Starla from Our Family Plays Games and Jona from One Pip Wonder share their choices for Top 5 Cute Games. As you might know from an earlier Em Musing—Three F’s for Fun!—I also have a thing for cute games. My term for “cute” is “Fluffy” because 1. I needed a word that meant “cute” that started with “F”, and 2. seriously, fluffy things are usually pretty damn cute—puppies, kittens, ducklings, clouds that look like cotton candy, cotton candy, Wookiees, those giant stuffed animals you win at carnivals if you have way better aim than me. You get the idea.

Here are my favorite Top 5 Cute Games:

5. Cottage Garden: Filling garden plots with pretty pink petals and decorative shrubberies is enough cute to make me think this game’s the cat’s meow, but then it went and actually added “meow!” It has slumbering cats that nestle in those pesky empty spaces remaining in your otherwise blooming garden. There are even eight distinctive looking cats! The game’s not only the cat’s meow but also the bees’ knees, using beehive tokens for bonus markers. The breezy marigold-striped parasol is also a merry helper. And, of course, the three-dimensional wheelbarrow parading its lovely, little body around the board really cements the game’s place on this list—err, I mean firmly plants it.

A game of plotting and potting

4. Gizmos: This game’s red, yellow, blue, and black marbles roll out of what looks like a gumball machine and right into my heart. The marbles represent different kinds of energy used to build a tableau of gizmos. As your tableau grows, actions create great cascading chain reactions, often resulting in your pulling energy gumballs out of the dispenser just hoping you get the right flavor. It’s not just Fluffy; it’s also Festive (another of the Three F’s for Fun).

Don’t try to chew these. Not gumballs.

3. Animal Kingdoms: This might be the prettiest game in our collection. The animal art on the cards mesmerizes with their graceful lines and lavish colors. The menagerie of critter cards even includes red pandas—which makes Jay extra happy. However, what really makes this game’s cuteness roar is its animeeples. Duck? Check! Giraffe? Check! Rhinoceros? Hippo? Velociraptor?! Check! Check! Check?! My personal favorite? The danger carrot! Okay, it’s an alligator, but, at best, it’s a carrot gator. Among the festive variety of animeeple colors is purple. If it’s got purple animeeples, I’m in, yo.

Not pictured: PURPLE. You get the idea though.

2. Takenoko: PANDA! Crunchy, munchy, roly-poly PANDA! Oh, and farmer. Actually, I gotta give some props to the cute-factor of the farmer. The dude’s clearly reached the end of his bamboo rope and is probably making minimum wage. These two characters’ actions add to their charm. The hungry, hungry panda races around the board cruncha-munching on multicolored bamboo. The farmer frantically runs around cultivating the bamboo—interlocking wooden pieces sprouting up pastel pink, green, and yellow, giving off a bit of an Easter Bunny vibe. Takenoko is a tile laying game; each hexagonal tile grows its matching color bamboo. As the flamboyant board grows, so do the columns of bamboo until the panda and farmer are scrambling around the garden in a dance of insatiable munchies and exasperation with one’s career choice.

PANDA. What more do I need to say?

1. Bunny Kingdom: ACK! We have reached the pinnacle of Fluffy! Fluffy and vicious! Those cutthroat bunnies show the wicked can have wiggly noses and fuzzy butts. I love how the cute little plastic meeples multiply like…well, bunnies of course! (Saw that coming, I bet.) They compete to fill fiefs of land and castles on the kingdom board, until ears and turrets fill the air. The cards are pretty and clever; yup, they’ve got looks and brains. Astoundingly, I have not yet played the Kingdom in the Sky expansion, though I own it. (Shoutout time: A dear friend knew I loved the game but longed for the purple bunnies from the expansion and surprised me with it! She’s one of those magic rainbows brightening people’s lives.) Last thing to add, I actually prefer the game as a two-player—for which I will eventually write an explanation article. Some people feel the two-player variant makes the game a bit too back-stabby, but the mechanics are more subtle warfare, rarely feeling like a rabid bunny attack.

Don’t trust the bunnies. They’re hardcore strategists.

I want to add two honorable mentions:

Everdell: Jay and I just got this game a few days before I began writing this and have yet to play it. I am 100% confident just from seeing photos of it being played and looking at the cards that this game will knock something off the list. Nah, I will just make it a Top 6 list; after all, it’s my cute and fluffy column.

Mood when playing Root.

Root: This game is CUTE! Like super-duper-duper cute. Like baby wombat cute. Yeah, that cute. Problem is, I don’t love it as a game. If you’ve perused this site much, you’ll quickly realize that Jay likes Root just about as much as I don’t. I’ve only played it a few times, so, maybe someday, I will play it again, become a fan, and make Jay really happy. On that day, my friends, you might find a new towering mecca of cute and Fluffy on this list. Until then, I’m gonna play Bunny Kingdom.

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