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Dream Home Board Game Review

WBG Score: 7.5

Player Count: 2-4

You’ll like this if you like: The Networks, Sushi Go

Published by: Rebel Sp. z o.o.

Designed by: Klemens Kalicki

I’ve learned two things in my time with Dream Home so far. 1. I like building my dream home. 2. Apparently my dream home board isn’t sufficient enough to submit as a set of building plans and even if it was, my designs don’t meet building regulations! All I’ll say is that when I’m in my kitchen-less home and I’m laying in my bath, in my bathroom which has been built on top precariously erected scaffolding, we’ll see who has the last laugh then!

Building Regulations

Each player receives a home board and the main board is laid out in the middle of the table. Place the room cards on the bottom of the main board and deal out five face up. Then place out four resource cards above the room cards leaving the left most empty.

On your turn you’re going to draft one column of room and resource cards. Resource cards will either be a roof tile, which will need to go on your home board face down. You can’t look at this pile for the rest of the game so remember what you placed there. Resources cards may also be either special bonuses or give you a decor token which you need to place on your home board if you can. If you choose the leftmost column you only get a room card but you also get the first player marker for the next round.

Room cards need to go, well into your house, but with some restrictions. You can’t build a room on top of an empty space, that’s not only a rule in the game but also how gravity works. So on the first round at least you only have three spaces in which you can place regular rooms or there are two spaces in which you can place basement cards. Aside from basement rooms, you can place any type of room in any space. So yes you can have a luxurious bathroom downstairs, your living room upstairs and no kitchen!

Most rooms are generally worth points on their own. However if you’re able to place the same rooms types next to each other then they will start to score as sets. So one living room is worth one point, get three together though and it could be worth 9 points. However to score the sets the rooms need to be next to each other. So if you place another next to, say that living room card, then you can no longer add to that set. You can always start another of those sets elsewhere though.

Rounds will play out until every player has taken a turn. The remaining cards are discarded and reset for the next round. At the end of the game players will score for the rooms in their house and any decor tokens. This is also where those roof cards will come into play. Four of the same colour will be worth 8 points but four mismatched roofs will be worth 3. The last thing you score for is functionally. Having a bathroom on each floor is worth 3 points and a house with a bathroom, kitchen and bedroom is worth 3 as well.

Theme Home

Dream home is one of those games that will present you with different choices depending on how you play the game. If this is a game you’re playing to win then your strategy is obviously going to be to take the cards and combos that will get you most points. That’s just how you win games (a lesson I still need to learn apparently ) Then there’s games like Dream Home, games that not only present you with point scoring options, but things you just want to have in front of you regardless of how many points it’s worth. There are some of you out there reading this that will want to win (nothing wrong with that) and others who literally just want to build their dream home and if they happen to get enough points to win then all the better. Will that garage with the DeLorean net me points? No, do I really want a garage with a DeLorean in it ? HECK YEAH! It’s a DeLorean!

One of the first things you’ll see when you open the box is those brilliant house player boards. It’s such a simple thing, a player board shaped like a house but it really helps bring out the theme. As rounds continue you’re sure to have discussions like “I’ve put my kitchen right next to the toilet. I know it’s not hygienic but It’s the only space I can put it if I want to extend to put in a double oven” or “well the only space I can put the cat tower is in the bathroom” Games like dream home go to prove that you don’t need to have a big sprawling game with a Kallax shelf full of boxes of components to draw any amount of theme from it. All you need is to give players enough to create talking points and they’ll do all the rest.

Talking of theme, the art on each of these cards is beautiful. Like a particularly nice rug, this really ties the game together. For such small cards there’s a ton of detail on each of them. If any games do take longer than usual it’s because people are spending all their time staring at the art. The last little touch is that all the room art flows together to create continuous rooms no matter which way you organise them and this is so satisfying to look at. It’s nice to look back at the house you’ve created at the end of the game, regardless if you’ve won or not, and be impressed of what you’ve created.

You need planning permission for that!

So the game itself is, rather fitting for a game about building a house, all about planning. Sticking a single point bathroom slap bang in the middle of a row will immediately stop you from building your three card living room. On the other hand leaving the space for that third card could always be a bit ambitious. After all, if you’ve got your eye on that three piece suite then the chances are so does someone else.

Open drafting games like this always come with those tough decisions of which card, out of the inevitable river of good cards you want to take. Dream Home gives you a column of two to pick. A room card is the obvious first card to look out but the other cards could be just as important. Tool/ Helper cards are nearly always helpful. Some will let you rearrange rooms in your home whilst others may let you switch cards on the main board. Considering that some combinations of cards aren’t always great, these cards are important.

Speaking of resource cards, if you think that remembering which colour roof cards you have in your collection is easy then think again. Guaranteed someone will pick their first one and loudly pronounce “I’ve got a red tile” only later in the game to mutter to themselves “wait, was I collecting brown tiles?” it’s actually a small source for celebration as you finally turn over your cards and see that you’ve matched four colours.

At two to three players the first player gets to discard a column of cards before they take their turn. This rule is optional if you're playing with younger players or if you just don’t fancy that sort of play. This rules does make the game a bit more take that in that you can easily see what an opponent wants and take it off of them. It also makes taking that first player space even more valuable. I personally don’t really have a preference between the variants but I like the idea that the game can be tweaked to suit different players and play styles.

Dream Home is a fun, thematic family friendly game that I could easily teach to new gamers but will give you more than enough game to take to a game night. Everyone, at one time or another has talked about what they want in their dream home and this is a good start to seeing this played out. Except I’d have a pool…..and a cinema room…….oooh and a spa…..and, I’ll stop now.

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