Heading home again…
I, like I imagine the majority of you, have never been able to build my dream home. I don’t have the land, I don’t have the money, but I do have a very good idea of what I would like. I would love a Huf Haus. There’s something truly amazing about someone being able to build you your dream home from scratch in one week, and they look pretty awesome too. Maybe I have become a little inspired (or made insanely jealous) by watching too many episodes of Grand Designs. Still, we all have to dream don’t we?
I have also put quite a lot of thought into “essentials” that would go into my very own dream home. I’d definitely have to have a Cinema/music room (let’s face it, if you can play music loud enough that you think your internal organs are swapping positions then you have made it to where you want to be), a man cave filled to the brim with Deadpool paraphernalia and tonnes of other geeky things, and of course a gaming room to keep all of my board games in (complete with a Geeknson table – made to specification of course). My wife has thought about it too and she waffled something about walk-in wardrobes and proper dressing rooms… pah! Get some cool stuff in there!
Each to their own though, it is YOUR dream home after all.
So, why am I talking about my dream home? Because of recently playing dream home of course!
Dreaming of an Epic Home
Dream home is a 2 to 4 player game from Rebel.pl games and is about… well, building your dream home. You do this by putting your rooms in, making it as functional as possible (including making sure that you have a roof) and having extravagant extras too. These can include an epic tree house, a four poster bed or some really nice paintings, all of which are worth bonus points at the end of the game.
First things first, I have a small confession to make. Having seen the box art, and how cutesy it was, I’m not sure that I’d have gone out of my way to seek dream home out. However, it seemed to speak volumes to my wife so I agreed to “take it for a spin” just for her. See? I am the selfless type… unless it comes to walk-in wardrobes.
Components that dreams are made of?
As far as components go, they are all made really well. All of the cards are of a great stock and have a really nice linen finish which makes them easy to shuffle and a pleasure to handle. The house boards for each player are stiffer than a fashionable 1920’s starched collar and pretty solid to boot (solid enough to do some damage if you rage in another players’ direction). And topping everything off are the punchboard tokens, the scorepad and the house shaped first player marker, which are all pretty standard fare.
Upon opening the box, everything was exceptionally neatly organised which I think is a good indicator of the level of thought which has gone into a game. OK, I’d much rather have a great game in a messy box than a rubbish game in a tidy box, but which one would Dream Home turn out to be?
Let’s begin building Our Dream Home
So how do you start building your own dream home? Very, very easily. You’re supplied with a board to put your cards on which sits between all of the players. At the beginning of each of the 12 rounds you have to draw a line of room cards and a line of resource cards.
Obviously you can’t build a dream home without any rooms, and the resource cards give you some really helpful bonuses while you’re playing, as well as the cards which become your roof. Once you have gained your first few cards, they’re placed on to your house shaped player board which is used to complete your dream home as the game goes along.
The golden rule for placing rooms is that you cannot place a room which has nothing underneath it. Also, if you’re unable to place a room for any reason it needs to be left as an empty room in your dream home… Thematic as well as logical! However, some of the resource cards can actually circumvent these problems. You can gain a scaffolding card which you can prop underneath a room instead of another room and you can swap it out later when it suits you or you can snag an interior designer card which means that your empty rooms score points at the end instead of being worth nothing.
On each players turn, they choose a column of cards, and in doing so, get themselves a resource card and a room card, unless they really really want the first player token in which case they can opt for this and just receive a solitary room card and first player status. Any cards which are left over at the end of the turn are discarded, but as with other helpful (resourceful?) resource cards you can gain one which will allow you to route through the discards to find either a room or a roof tile should you need one.
The kind of rooms you can get are ones you’d expect to be able to fill a real dream home with: Living rooms, bedrooms, play rooms, and garages; as well as not so normal rooms like wine cellars and saunas. Actually, I guess a wine cellar is moderately normal, but not for me. It’d be full of bottles of champagne and Appletise.
Rooms score points depending on how well spread out they are and whether you can have decent sized rooms in your dream home. For example, a single bedroom card will net you a single point, but if you can have 2 together, this will score you 4 points. In the same vain, a single living room will get you one point, but 3 next to each other will score you a dominating 9 points.
In theory, you should have a full complement of rooms to signify the end of the game, but sometimes you can end up some missing if you make some interesting choices during the game.
Other things you can do to improve your points are to collect a uniform roof (all of the roof tiles being the same colour) and also making your home functional by having a bathroom on the top 2 floors of the house. Overall, the winner of the game is the person which has scored the most points for their dream home, either through function or flat out extravagance. (Don’t judge me for having a kitchen on the top floor though)
The rules are really easy to pick up, but they can be found here if you’re unsure on any of the points I have made so far.
A dream to play, or a house from Hell?
How do I feel about Dream Home? Well, I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised by it. As I have mentioned, it’s not something that I would have usually gone for but I am quite glad I did.
Firstly, it’s a very approachable game. There’s no steep learning curves and once you understand the rules you can teach it to virtually anybody else in a matter of minutes (I managed to teach it to my elder son and my mother in-law in less than 5 minutes). The age guidelines on it say that it is for players aged 7 plus, but my 4 year old has been able to play it – if not understanding the finer strategies of it, making it a really good family game.
Secondly, the play time on the box is 20-40 minutes, but with 3 players we managed to get done in around 15 minutes meaning that if I am playing with my kids, they don’t get too bored and if I am playing with adults, we can get in a couple of games as a break from something a little heavier.
On the other side of the coin, as I alluded to near the beginning, I’m not a huge fan of the cutesy art style, and so this was a bit of a turn off for me, and the low level of strategy means that it’s certainly not a game which is going to keep my attention for huge amounts of time. Luckily though, it doesn’t have to. As far as I am concerned, Dream Home is a really good filler game which just happens to come in a “larger than your average filler” game box. It’s somewhat akin to Tsuro in that regard. It’s fun to play, just not for very long.
Dream Home is definitely not a game of great depth or strategy. It’s not a game which you’re going to be able to play for a whole evening. In my humble opinion it’s not even a game which you’d be able to play for upwards of an hour. But, I honestly don’t care. If you have a look at the game from a completely subjective point of view, it is a really good game; even if it is really short. As a game for an evening Dream Home would be a disaster, but for a filler game to unclog your brain from being in deep with a strategy soaked game, it is a fantastic reprieve. For me, also being able to play something with all of my family is an extra bonus too.
I think Dream Home fully deserves 7 extravagantly designed and lavishly decorated bedrooms out of a mansion (10). It’s something I’m likely to keep for family play and for braking up a long gaming session.
If you’re interested in purchasing yourself a copy of this great filler game you can find one here:
If you’re wondering what other games have snuck their way out of the rebel.pl offices then you can also find them out here:
If you’ve played it, and you want to go and rant or rave about it, you can check out the BGG page here:
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I am just a regular guy that fell into board gaming. That's why I am no longer allowed in my local Toys R Us. I'm a huge fan of deckbuilding games and games with unusual themes or mechanics. OK, maybe I'm not that regular after all.