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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Rock Paper Scissor With A Bull

IMG_20160401_191716[1]Rodeo Review
My friend gave me a review copy of the game. It’s not a final copy, still prototype (but the arts are already final). He designed this game for quite some time, never take part in the process but I am quite honored He asked me to review his (first) game. He published it under his own banner, Red Vanilla Games which still has a very small print run. The game is now available only through pre-order with minimum quantity.

The game comes with (mostly) cards, tokens and rule set. It has a compact small box size like the box of Citadel or Red November (small). The art is simple, grunge brush style from Ivan Pratama (also a friend of mine), pretty neat. But sadly I thought the game title could be better in terms of font choices and colors. The rules also suffers the same fate, to crowded and the font for body text is not very easy to read. I think the rule structure can be improved, and it might be better with more examples of the game play. I do believe the rules can be greatly improved to make it more attractive and clear.

dav

Game Contents

How To Play
Each player gets a deck of movement cards and a set of duel cards. One player will starts a the bull (each player will be the bull once in a game). They shuffle these movement cards and draw a number of cards (6 for cowboys, 8 for the bull). The movement cards has 4 directions, UP, DOWN, LEFT and RIGHT. The bull play a card first, then other players must follow the bull movement on the card by playing a card with matching direction. If they cannot, they can discard any card and draw a card from the pile hoping it matches. But if not, they fell down (eliminated from the game) and the bull gets some points for it’s overwhelming effort to knock down the cowboy. But no worry, the player’s out but he can participates again in the next round.

Cowboy’s movement cards have 2 arrow icons to trigger a special action when these arrows match the bull’s two latest movements. With this special action cowboys and the bull can get points by playing a duel card. Before dueling with the bull, the cowboys can even play a matching movement card to add multiplier. Duel is basically a Rock-Paper-Scissor game. Players involve in duel play a duel card (either Rock/Paper/Scissor) and reveal simultaneously.
After the duel, the round continues again with the bull playing another movement card. Each player will take turns as the bull once, if the last player already finished the round as the bull, the game ends. Player with the most points, wins the game.

dav

Playing the game

My Thoughts
This is a very simple, light-hearted game. Basically it’s a RPS game (Rock-Paper-Scissor) inside a hand management game. It plays quick and easy and guess what you don’t even have to think. I have quite some fun with the game, though I must say that it’s not my kind of game. There’s not real decision at all in the game, since everything is about luck and random. When you’re dueling, you choose one card to play, either a Rock, a Paper or a Scissor card. This turns out doesn’t work at all, based on my plays we decided to shuffle the three cards and draw one (yes, that random), the positive thing you can get with this way is that you add a surprise element to the game. When we simultaneously reveal the cards, we have a good laugh over the result. I recommend this game for children or playing with family. It’s simple, easy to learn and also plays fast. So if you’re looking for a 30 minutes game with a lot of fun and easy to learn, this could be it. Why don’t you give it a try.

dav

I love this cute Cowgirl character, kudos to Ivan Pratama

I just thought the game deserves some improvement, in terms of components and design aspects. The VP chips should be in different denominations, in order to keep the supply small. And the rules could do a rework with body copy fonts and more game play examples. Also, different card backs could help a lot.

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2016 in Card Games, Reviews

 

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The Best Game Each One of You Should Have!

Box Cover

Box Cover

Snake Oil Review
Okay, what is the real definition of Snake Oil? Snake Oil is an expression that originally referred to fraudulent health products or unproven medicine but has come to refer to any product with questionable or unverifiable quality or benefit. So how it’s named Snake Oil in the first place? Now that’s when the story comes in. In the past (I mean, long time ago), Real Snake Oil did exist. It was introduced to the US in the 1860’s by Chinese laborers working on the Transcontinental Railroad. After hard physical labor, they would rub some muscles with an ointment made from water snake oil and they shared this ancient remedy with their American co-workers.  As the years went by snake oil was commercialized. In 1917, a sample of Clark Stanley’s Snake Oil Liniment was tested by the US government and found to contain no actual snake oil. As a result of swindlers making false product claim and using misleading labels, the phrase “Snake Oil Salesman” was born! Until today, the term usually refers to used-car salesman, politicians, or anyone who likes to stretch the truth just a little bit to sell something.

Judging from the appearance, with more than 350 cards, can be played with 3-10 players and also within 20-30 minutes it’s safe to say that this game is a party game. It’s published by Out of The Box Publishing, designed by someone not mentioned in the box or even the rules, oh wait they listed the designer’s names on the end of the rules, Jeff Ochs and Patricia Hayes Kaufman. I picked this game during my trip to Singapore last October (when I visited Paradigm Infinitum on Midpoint Orchard), mostly because there were nothing of interest aside this game and its price is quite reachable for me at that moment, though I must say I already interested on the game before (it’s on my wishlist). So I made a blind buy with this game. I wondered this as a party game that might be fun for my gaming group.

The game only contains cards, 336 word cards and 28 customer cards (so yes, it’s a card game). There is a plastic tray to hold the cards inside the box and I think it’s good, they made some kind of holder from card board to hold up the cards inside the tray so they wouldn’t scatter around when the box was moved around. It really works well. The box is a bit of a let down, not a standard box for board games, but it’s made from thin corrugated carton that easily worn off. But other than that, it’s very good.

The Game Play
Okay, anyone can play this game, seriously. When I read the game description on the back of the box, I was immediately understand how to play the game. So, you can jump right in after reading the back of the box without consulting the rules (either way, the rules are only in a sheet of paper). In this game, each player will get 6 cards from the draw pile. The first player will be a customer in one round, draw a random customer card and decide which side of the customers he would like to be. Once he decide, the other players will need to combine two words from their word cards as a product they want to sell to the customer. In a brief of time (estimate 30 seconds, give or take) players turn by turn will try to convince the customer that the product he’s trying to sell is the most perfect choice for the customer to choose. After the customer gives chance to all other players, he needs to decide which product is the best for him. Once he decided, he gives his customer card to the player who sell the product of his choice.
The game ends when each player has been the customer once, the winner is the player with the most customer cards. In case of a tie, play another turn.

Selling your product has never been this hilarious!

Selling your product has never been this hilarious!

My Thought About The Game
This is a game that winning does not matter, the experience is what it really counts. What I mean is, no matter who win the game, as long as players were having fun the game hit the jackpot. Every player will find his two-words combination is not really-really perfect for what the customer wants in reality but with that obscurity players need to find a way to convince the customer, and by this, we often find hilarious things to be laughed at from player’s imagination and creativity. While others find it weird, queer and such, others might find it hilarious, surprising, refreshing and unnaturally perfect. This led to a very memorable experience with friends. How they react to such ideas and how you can outwit those ideas, the product does not matter, what really matter is how you can convince the customer with your words and reasons.
I’ve played the game several times and those plays have been hilarious, lots of laughter and fun moments, exhausting indeed, but worth playing every time. I can understand this game is not for some people, people that cannot tell stories, people that cannot make ideas in a blitz or who doesn’t like to play roles, so if you don’t like Dixit, this might not be a good game for you.

Choose two cards from your hand to create your product!

Choose two cards from your hand to create your product!

The Good
It’s a party game, so you can pack up to 10 players with this game. Never played with 10 players though.
It also plays very quick, 15-30 minutes, and you can easily adjust the challenge, for example how many rounds and such.
It plays very simple and easy to teach, just read the back of the box.
It gives you better knowledge on English vocabulary.
It also fun and hilarious game to play with friends or even family.
There are thousands combinations of words you can find.
It’s easy to setup and clean up.

The Bad
It’s just consists of cards (not sure if this is bad).
It requires good vocabulary skills, because for the wide range of words, some people with low vocabulary skill would find it difficult to understand the definition, but of course it’s easy to mitigate, they can ask to others what the word means, hence new vocabulary to learn.
It exhausts your voice for consecutive plays, I only managed to play twice in a row, after that I’m exhausted and almost lost my voice.

*Images are taken from BGG, all credits are belong to owners.

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2014 in Card Games, Reviews

 

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