RSS

Tag Archives: Children’s Game

What Your Dream House Looks Like?

pic3176771_mdDream Home Review
Dream Home is a game published by Portal Games and designed by a Polish designer (I think he’s new to game design and this is his first game), Klemens Kalicki and illustrated by Bartlomiej Kordowski. Right from the start of its inception, this game has already gained a spotlight with the cute, bright-colored and beautiful art, thanks to the artist. It’s like a children’s game which I must admit that it is partly if not whole, a children’s game. It can be played with 2-4 players from 20-30 minutes (you can play this under than the time mentioned, trust me, or you are that worse). The game was published last year in 2016 which I just managed to get early in 2017.

The Theme and Artworks
In Dream Home, players are trying to build their dream home by choosing cards from the available options and place it on their boards. The cards are rooms in the home and can be placed in various spots depends on players’ taste and also basic physics. A good home should have its necessary rooms such as bedroom, bathroom and kitchen, the rest are complementary.
For the artworks, I must give a salute for Bartlomiej Kordowski. His works are superb and really succesfully give the game a very appealing soul to convey the purpose of the game. It really clicks and you know it does.

pic2967163_lg

The Components
The game is basically a card game, with a central board and some tiles. It has medium square box and of course cute and beautiful art cover. Inside there’s a plastic insert to hold all the components, and it works well, but the cards and tokens are easily scrambled when transported in many positions, so you need a small foam to cover this issue. The cards are small sized, maybe mini Euro size, placed well in the tray even when sleeved. There also a special first player marker, an over-sized orange house-shaped wooden token. There are 4 player boards and a central board, thick and good enough.

The Game Play
In the game, players get their own board as a foundation of their home. The board consists of a drawn image of a home with spaces to place cards. These spaces are drawn with 3 stories, 5 columns except there’s only 2 columns in the bottom story. So in total there are 12 rounds in the game. After 12 rounds the game ends and players sum up their scores. There are mainly two type of cards in the game, room cards and resource cards. During the game, each round players will take a room card and a resource card or the first player marker.

The fun thing about it (or not) is that players will have to choose the cards they need to get for their home from the available ones that drawn on the central display. The problem is there’s the turn order, yaaay… yeah, the one who pick the first cake always get the best and bigger ones. So each round the cards are drawn and displayed on the board, which there are 5 columns and 2 rows but the the first column only draw 1 room card, where the top row is placed the first marker token, you remember the orange house-shaped token? The first row is for resource cards, while the second row is for room cards. Room cards are obviously placed in the player board to occupy the spaces, while resource cards are more, how to say it? Complicated. The resource cards have different types such as experts, roofs, tools and decorations. These types work differently to help players make their dream homes.

pic2967162_lg

Now let’s take a look into the player board, players have a player board to hold all the room cards they already chose during each round. This player board represent a home with 3 stories (a basement, a level 1 and two stories). The basement only consists of 2 columns, which can accommodate 2 rooms (basement rooms only). Each room must be placed in legal / valid ways, it must have a foundation (a room below it, whether in any type or empty room, not an empty space). So in the first story, at first player can only build three rooms since the 2 right most spaces need basement rooms to be the foundations. Where the second story rooms need foundations from the rooms placed in the first story. Each type or room gives players a certain amount of points that will be scored at the end of the game. Some rooms can be expanded (more than 1 card which expand the room) to get better points. While a fully expanded room cannot be expanded again, so placing the same type of room next to fully expanded / finished room is not valid, hence that room card must be placed in another place or else the room card must be placed face down to show an empty room. Empty rooms will not be scored at the end of the game.

pic3083149_md

Resource cards give players flexibility or better points. For example specialist / expert cards, can help you to manipulate one or more elements in the game, whether they can give you better options or additional points. Tool cards work similar like Specialists but the only different is that they have one-time effect, play-and-discard kind of cards. There are also Decors on the resource cards, this kind of resource give you additional points that can be placed on a specific type of room (not always), when placed, the room is considered finished even though it still can be expanded later. So placing a room expansion later is not a valid move and it must be placed face down as an empty room next to it. The fourth type is roof, where players need to collect at least four roof cards during the game to score at the end of the game. There are four colors in the game, brown, purple, red and orange and some roofs have windows on them that gives an additional point to the roof scoring.
At the end of the game, players tally up their points from the room cards, 3 pts from at least 4 roof cards (if they have at least 4 cards of the same color, they gain additional 5 points) and 1 point per window, Specialists that give them points and also additional points for the home functionality, 3 points if they have at least 1 Bathroom in each story and another 3 points if they have at least a kitchen, a bedroom and a bathroom in their home.

pic3059395

The Replay Value
Honestly, this game lacks replay value. The game is simple, easy to understand, straight-forward and have a decent light decision making that is interesting for casual players or children. But the replay value just on vacation in this game, it never came back and you will have to live with it. So after several plays, the game is beginning to feel samey over and over again (okay honestly, after 2-3 plays). There are no card variations, different setups or random encounters in each play. So there will always be the same cards in one play to another the only difference is just when the cards will come out. So with this as a crucial factor, the game does get fixed after one play and the rest are just obvious choices.

My Thoughts About The Game
I think that game is a sweetheart. Love it, the presentation is so amazingly cute and beautiful. The theme is simple and really targeting children and girls. It’s like when you’re a child and you play houses. You can introduce this game to totally new players and children, it’s very straightforward and simple you can explain the rules in 5 minutes. Players pick a column and take the cards on that column, place the room card on their board and move on. Yes, move on to the next round and do the same thing repeatedly 12 times. Though at first there seems to be a definitive decision making I must admit that it doesn’t really have decision making since most of them are obvious choices. I can picture myself playing this game several times in a row, since it’s very simple and takes about 10 minutes per play, but playing this for 5 times in a row, I could yawn and sleep accidentally. But aside from that, I think this game attracts children to learn good how to make decisions, because of the visual presentation and nature of the game. This one is totally a filler, overpriced one I suppose. After one play I realized that there are two important things in the game, which are the first player and the basement room cards, And others can be sort out later and easily. Getting first pick of the available cards are surely powerful, to be able to sort out the good cards and combinations, and it sucks to be the last player since what you get is basically trash (or not). In my plays I found out that the first player usually got hold by the same person most of the time. And the basement room cards are so damn important that even 9 points living room cards look like shit (pardon my language). But it’s true, the power of basement card is so damn great, because without these two cards on your basement, practically your movement ends halfway of the game. So the first thing to do is get that basement room cards while you can and if you cannot, take the first player marker for next choices. That simple.

pic3054367_lg

Aside from the game play, I think it has nice production quality, good small cards, simple wording on the card effect, thick player board and nice insert. If you have kids (early educational age) this might be a nice choice, or maybe girls, they love beautiful things like this.

Advertisements
 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Better Than Jenga

image

Box cover

Super Rhino Review
Probably everyone of you already know about Jenga, a game of moving blocks to the upper part of block pile. Yes it requires dexterity from players to pick a wooden block from the pile and place on top of the pile without causing the pile to collapse. When the pile is collapsed, the game ends. As simple as that and it’d been quite popular in our childhood.
So Haba published a game with the same mechanic as Jenga but without wooden blocks, instead with cards. It is this game, Super Rhino. It’s positioned as a children game and has funny and cute theme of cartoon-y Rhino who is a super hero. He likes to climb building over building (don’t ask why). As you can see Rhino is a heavy weight animal, so it’s quite dangerous for it to climb buildings, because some buildings might not strong enough to hold his weight. So that is the game all about.

image
As you can see the game consists of one Super Rhino wooden meeple (it has good print of the character), some wall cards, roof cards and also multilingual rules. Note that you need to bend the wall cards first before playing it the first time.
image

Game Play
Before the game starts, players will decide which foundation / base that they will use in the game, standard or advance version. The difference between the standard and the advance version lies only in the number of walls in the ground floor to support the building. Each player then will receive 7 roof cards drawn from the draw pile. Starting from the first player clockwise each player will play one of his roof cards from their hand to the existing walls to form new floor for the building. To do this he/she place it carefully on top of the wall cards on top of the building. And then place some wall cards on top of it based on the pattern listed on the roof card.
The next player then continue to resolve the special card effect (if any) and play a card. This continue until one of the end game conditions are met. The first player to play all his cards would win the game. If the building collapse before that, the player who make the building collapse, lose the game. And the winner is the player with fewest cards, or if there’s any tie, tied player with most special symbols on his cards win the game. Or if all the wall cards used up, the game also ends and the winner is player with the fewest cards.

image

Cards with special symbols adding more surprise and interactive element in the game. Players can play these symbol cards to their benefit or to screw others. The timing of the special symbols really important to support player effort to win the game. But as you know, this is a dexterity game, so no matter how good your plan and cards are, you still need to depend on your hand coordination. It’s a simple game, you can teach new / casual players in 5 minutes and play it around 5-10 minutes. It’s fun and has a very cartoon-y art. The main appeal in the game is how players maintain to keep the building in balance while he/she moves Super Rhino meeple from one place to the next. It’s hilarious and children will highly love the game. And unlike Jenga, this game uses cards instead wooden blocks, which is more subtle, easy to carry, not noisy when it fell through (except the player’s hysteria). And the game is easy to store under small box. Though it is a card game, I don’t think you can sleeve the cards, because it will affecting the game play.
In short this game is way much better than Jenga. Better storage, better travel-friendly, simple components and attractive theme to children. Even the mechanic is more interesting and interactive than Jenga. What’s not to love?
image

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 10, 2015 in Card Games, Reviews

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: