One doesn’t generally think of flower stands and business tycoons in the same breath. When I think of mobile florists, I generally picture barefoot peace-loving hippies standing on the corner selling bouquets. This isn’t that type of flower stand – oh, no. It’s a chic urban floral business with some hefty profits to be made. That’s not a surprise after all, since the game is called Flower Stand Tycoon and not Flower Stand Subsistence Farm.
In Flower Stand Tycoon, your Uncle Pott’s has a dream of nurturing a great florist business. Fortunately for you, however, Uncle Pott’s is more of a bioengineer than a businessman, and would rather spend his time inventing new flower cross-breeds than being a salesman. He hands you his van, $700, and an old flower cart to start, and you’re sent out to make your fortune as a budding Flower Stand tycoon.
To start, you’ll need to stock your cart with inventory. Inventory includes both flowers and merchandise. When you open, you will be able to sell daisies, daffodils and ruby roses. The variety of flowers you can sell will increase with further research. Merchandise (like balloons, teddy bears, and wind chimes) is earned as you reach certain objectives, such as taking over competitors territories. There is a click box which allows you to automatically restock the same items each time, or else you must refill your cart before each new day begins. Until you’ve bought the refrigerator upgrade, your daily supplies can not be carried over the next day, so select carefully. While restocking, you can also adjust your prices to meet with customer demand.
Once you’ve gotten your cart stocked, you are ready to select a target neighbourhood. Your flower stand is mobile, and can travel to different neighbourhoods each day. You may purchase more separate carts later in the game, allowing you to visit different neighbourhoods at the same time. The features of each neighbourhood and its customer base are unique, so you’ll find differences in the amount population and customers’ favourite flowers. After selling flowers in a neighbourhood, demand will temporarily go down. It may take several days for demand to replenish, which is why its a good idea to visit different neighbourhoods each turn. You can check current demand by clicking on the neighbourhood before selecting it. Once you’ve decided on where to sell, click "set route" to confirm.
When your route is set and your cart is ready, you are all set to begin the day. As the day is being played, you may observe your customers on one of the four display monitors. The customer’s reactions give you vital feedback on your business strategy. Satisfied customers are market with a happy face. Disgruntled customers may be upset over high prices, long wait times, or lack of flower variety.
At the end of each day, you get a chance to read the newspaper. Sometimes, a news article will hint at something that affects the following day’s sales, and Uncle Potts will put a sticky note on it for you.
Later in the game, you will begin to have competitors. You will notice that each neighbourhood will give you a statistic on your market share, along with theirs. When your market share is higher than all competitors, the neighbourhood will be highlighted in orange. Competitors will also have their own highlighted neighbourhoods. You can take over by getting a higher market share, but they can likewise take over your territories, so its important to keep an eye on market share trends.
As you’d expect, you may buy a variety of upgrades for your carts. Lights attract more customers, and music makes them more patient. Calculators improve your speed, and refrigeration allows you to roll over unused supplies. Larger carts can handle more inventory, plus have a bigger presence and attract more customers.
Allocating more money towards Uncle Pott’s research means you’ll have faster access to new flower types. Advertising means more customers and better market share. You’ll also have regular access to research which can assist you in making strategical choices.
You’ll notice numerous similarities in Flower Stand Tycoon to both Fairy Godmother Tycoon and Ice Cream Tycoon. The concept of market share and competitors is a nice twist that makes the game more interesting. While not unique in mechanics or theme, it is relaxing and never turns the pressure up too high. All things considered, its fairly easy to learn how to play, and most of the rules can be figured out as you go.
However, while tycoon games always have an audience, Flower Stand Tycoon doesn’t seem to offer anything special or interesting to the player. The game play also appears open ended, with no real goals outlined for the player other than becoming a "tycoon" as the title infers. There aren’t any major twists, the plot is rather minimalist, and the game play can be somewhat predictable. In contrast to Fairy Godmother Tycoon, which was full of humor and clever cutscenes, Flower Stand Tycoon is a bit more plain. There are no jokes or interludes or anything of the sort, short from the cute newspaper headlines shown in between each day.
While it’s tough at times to figure out what the main point is, other than earning a daily wage, Flower Stand Tycoon does offer accessible tycoon gaming with a no-pressure attitude.