Full Disclosure: A demo copy of Orchard was provided to me by Sideroom Games, then sent on to another previewer.
What is Orchard about?
Orchard is a small box puzzle game designed by Mark Tuck. With only nine cards and some colorful dice, players will work to build the most bountiful orchard. Each turn, you will choose where to lay down a new card in the orchard, with the goal of overlapping several fruit trees of the same type. The more trees you overlap, the better your harvest. But be careful: You can't just go piling up trees of different types. In fact, you can only do this twice, using one of the two "rotten fruit" cubes—and it will lose you three points each time you do. Orchard is a lightning fast game that is finished in under ten minutes. It's designed for solo play, and seems like it would be best that way. Technically, it's possible to play multiplayer if you have multiple sets.
Things I like about Orchard
Orchard is exactly the sort of game I like to have on the go. It's easy to set up, plays super quickly, and is a snap to reset and play again. The rules are very simple, but you'll get a lot of play out of it, and you have just enough interesting choices to make you want to play a few times in a row every time you pull it out. This is exactly the sort of light, charming solo game I'm looking for when I'm on the go and don't want to burn my brain out on something like Sprawlopolis.
Possible Concerns about Orchard
I have only one complaint about Orchard: It's a little difficult to deal with the dice. When you are tracking your score, you put dice on top of overlapped trees and change their values. This means that if you make a big play with multiple overlapping trees, you have to remove multiple dice, then put them back. The game is so small—only nine cards are involved—that it's possible to work around this. But it is definitely a possible annoyance.
Should I back it?
I'm personally very charmed by Orchard and want a copy of my own. It's worth looking into if you want a super quick solo puzzle that is easy to transport.