Get your produce at the ‘Downtown Farmers Market’

Visit the Farmer’s Market and select the freshest ingredients – choose wisely, because everyone has very special requests!

What is Downtown Farmer’s Market?

Downtown Farmer’s Market is a game for 2 to 4 players, ages 7 and up, and lasts about 20 minutes. It retails for $17.99 and is available at game stores and the Blue Orange Games store. The game is easy to learn and family-friendly, and young children can practice a little simple addition and multiplication with it.

Downtown Farmer’s Market was designed by Johan Benvenuto and Alexandre Droit and published by Blue Orange Games.

Components of the Downtown Farmers Market. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Downtown Farmer’s Market Components

Here’s what comes in the box:

  • First Player Token
  • 65 Food tiles
  • 44 Challenge tiles
Downtown Farmers Market Food Tiles
There are 6 different ingredients, and each food tile has a combination of up to 3 ingredients. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

The first player’s token is a round disc with a tractor on it, and the rest of the tiles are all 2-inch squares. Food tiles have a green grass background with 1, 2 or 3 ingredients on them. The challenge tiles show a crate with some sort of scoring criteria and point value – each is double-sided, with an easier side and a harder side. The game’s illustrations are icon-like: simple and easy to read, which gives it a kid-friendly feel, but can obscure the tricky puzzle a bit.

Downtown Farmer's Market Box
A compact box with a magnetic flap. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Everything comes in a small box, just big enough to hold the tiles (and a small removable cardboard spacer to make it easier to take the tiles out). The box has a magnetic flap and a nice cheerful cover.

How to play Downtown Farmer’s Market

The goal

The object of the game is to score the most points by completing your challenge tiles.

Installation of the downtown farmer's market
Starting configuration for a player. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Install

Shuffle the challenge tiles and deal four to each player. Players choose which side of each tile they want to use and place them in a line in front of them. Then each player takes four more tiles and places them in a column, so the challenge tiles create a “frame” for a 4×4 grid.

Shuffle the food tiles face down and form a pile. Flip 5 food tiles to create a row.

The player who most recently went to a farmer’s market goes first.

Partial Grid of Downtown Farmers Market Tiles
Start filling in the grid. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Gameplay

On your turn, you select a food tile from the row and place it in your 4×4 grid. Once placed, a tile cannot be moved. Depending on the number of players, some players will take a tile and discard a tile, but the last player will still have a choice of 2 tiles, leaving one behind.

After everyone has taken a tile, the last player will become the next first player, taking the token. Fill the row with four more tiles from the supply.

Each challenge tile has different scoring criteria and is tied to the row or column the tile touches. Some require a particular number of ingredients across the row; some give you points for a set of ingredients; some require a specific number of certain ingredients (but you can have any number of others).

Downtown Farmers Market Grid Completed
A completed grid. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

End of Game

The game ends when everyone has filled their grid with 16 tiles, in which case there will be no more tiles in the supply.

You score points for each challenge tile whose conditions are met. The player with the highest score wins, with ties going to the player who met the most conditions, then to the player with the highest single challenge tile score.

Young Shopper Variant

For younger kids, you can simplify the game and play without the challenge tiles. In this mode, you draw tiles from a row of 3 and place them in a 4×4 grid (always filling the row with 3 immediately). At the end of the game, each row and column scores points for the majority type of ingredient in that row or column, with each such ingredient worth 1 point.

Downtown Farmer’s Market is GeekDad approved!

why should you play Downtown Farmer’s Market

The rules for Downtown Farmer’s Market are so simple – the rules sheet is only 6 small pages – but that belies the challenging puzzle of the game itself.

Each turn, you take a Food tile and place it in your grid. Pretty easy, right? But very quickly you realize that you’ve backed into a corner: I want an egg herebut that means i can’t put eggs youhere, but this row won’t have enough eggs to go with my bread! It can be a bit like playing Sudoku, as each tile you place should (ideally) help you score points for both row and column.

Some challenge tiles are child’s play: 1 point per egg? No problem. I’m just going to put as many eggs as possible in this column. But what happens when it intersects with a row that only counts if it has no eggs? Well, then I guess you have 3 spaces left to put in as many eggs as possible. Oh, but don’t forget there’s also a row that wants 5 ingredients in total, so you’ll need at most 2 eggs in that space. And all of that is assuming your opponents even drop egg-laden tiles for you.

Many challenge tiles ask for specific numbers of specific ingredients: 7 points if you get exactly 4 milks and 2 corns in that row. Do you take this 3 milk from the start? Well, now you can only have one more milk in this whole row. Others want a majority of a particular ingredient, or a number of the same ingredient but you can choose, or at least one of each ingredient.

Downtown Farmers Market Challenge Tiles
Challenge tiles have two different difficulty levels, with higher scores for more difficult challenges. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

If you choose the higher value side of each challenge tile, your scoring potential is much higher, but it’s also much more difficult. After playing a few times, you begin to realize that your initial choice of setup is also part of the strategy, as some intersections are much more difficult than others.

If you are playing with less than 4 players, some players may discard a tile after choosing one for themselves. This introduces another element of strategy as you can discard any tile an opponent wants without having to take it yourself. Of course, that assumes you’re able to pay attention to what other people are doing while solving your own puzzle.

I like that there’s a family variant included for younger children, although I just dipped into the full game with my 9-year-old and she was able to figure it out just fine. That said, I also played it with my teenager and a few adult friends, and we all thoroughly enjoyed the game as well. I think the simple rules, cute illustrations, and brain-tickling puzzle make Downtown Farmer’s Market a new choice for the whole family. It is a game that players with different levels of gaming experience can play together, as long as they enjoy solving puzzles.

To order a copy of Downtown Farmer’s Marketvisit the Blue Orange Games website or check your local game store!

Downtown Farmers Market Food Tiles
A variety of ingredients. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

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Disclosure: GeekDad has received a copy of this game for review.

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James V. Payne