I stumbled across this funny little game a few years ago, back when I tried out all kinds of software in an attempt to find amusing things to play. (Today, I am too concerned about my system configuration to install random programs. Everything works fine, I don't need anything else.) Green Thumb Cards doesn't seem to have much of a following, and that's a shame, because not only is it a lot of fun, but it's multiplayer, and you can play over the internet with just about anybody you like.

So I thought I'd write a few words about Green Thumb Cards, and we'll see who stumbles across this page. Maybe we'll get a little community of GTC fanatics going or something... e-mail me if you'd be interested in that.

1. Download the software. Playful Minds is the official website for GTC. WinSite has a copy on their servers as well. (It's about two and a half megs.)

Green Thumb Cards screenshot 2. Install the software. You already knew that, I bet.

3. Once you have the game started, you'll see a screen that looks a whole lot like this. (Click the image at right for an expanded view.) The large circle at the top left starts the game, and the smaller circles surrounding it set various options. Feel free to poke around a little bit in there, if you want.

4. Clicking "deal" will open a dialog box. Enter your name, then choose "deal" again. This will start you off against three computer opponents. If you're playing online against someone else, you'd choose "advanced", then either click the "get your IP address" button and provide that information to the people you're playing against, or choose the "connect to server" button and enter the IP someone else has given you.

5. If you've chosen to play by yourself, you're up and running already. If not, you're waiting for other people to connect to you, or to connect to another machine. Once everyone's joined up, music will play and the game will begin.

So with Green Thumb Cards, the idea is that you're a gardener who is lining up matching sets of flowers, while fending off the elements and other competing gardeners, who try to steal the flowers you have when they need them to complete their own sets. (Sounds kind of stupid, right? There's a reason I didn't describe the game at the top of the page. Stick with me, though.) You get points based on what flower sets you complete. For instance, if you collect two crocuses, you'll get one point - but if you get four roses, you'll score three points.

Strategy becomes involved in the cards you play and the way you interact with the other gardeners. The majority of cards you play will be flower cards, but you can also use attack cards like bugs and rodents to steal flowers from your competitors. There's also defenses like fences and greenhouses, and natural disasters like too much sun or snowstorms will occasionally ruin everyone's garden.

In short, Green Thumb Cards is a fun little game that more people should be playing. Download it, get to know it, and then go online and find some people to play with.

an over now production