Game Review – Dream Home

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At some time during our lives, we’ve all imagined our dream home. For Calvin, it would be an indoor tennis court or movie theater room. For Mandee, it would be a library with wall-to-wall books and a ladder. In Dream Home, you get a chance at design your own dream home. The rooms in the game aren’t very outlandish, but there are some unique choices to help your home stand out from your neighbor’s homes. Are you up to the task of making your dream home a reality?

Designer: Klemens Kalicki
Publisher: 
Asmodee
Genre: Card Drafting, Set Collection
Players: 2-4
Play Time: 20-40 Minutes
Number of Logged Plays: 3

Skip ahead to find out:
Game Overview
Game Play
What He Said
What She Said
Our Pros and Cons
The Verdict

Game Overview

In Dream Home, Every player will have their own home board that has twelve empty spots for players to build rooms. In each of the twelve rounds, there will be five room cards and four resource cards revealed for players to choose. At the end of the game, players will score their houses based on rooms, decor, functionality, and the roof. Whoever creates the best dream home will be declared the winner.

Game Play

img_2443On each player’s turn, they will select a column and take both cards (one resource card and one room card). The player will do whatever the resource card says (four different types of these) and then place their room onto a valid space on their home board. There are some placement restrictions that players must follow when placing a room and they are:

  1. A room card cannot have an empty space directly below it.
  2. Only basement cards can be placed in the two spots on the lowest level of the home.
  3. Rooms cannot be expanded past their maximum size shown on the card.
  4. Finished rooms on the same level cannot be next to a room of the same type (ex. You can’t have two bathrooms next to each other on the second row)

If you are unable to place a room into your home following the rules above, you have to place the card face down (empty room) on a space in your home. Empty rooms count as a room, cannot be replaced (unless you have a helper resource card that allows it), and count for zero points at the end of the game (unless you have the architect).

When players get a Decor resource card, they immediately take the decor token and place it into the room indicated on the card. These decor tokens enhance the room they’re placed in and will give the player additional point(s) at the end of the game. The only caveat to the decor tokens is that once it’s placed into a room, it is considered to be finished and cannot be expanded any further. So you’ll want to plan to utilize the decor tokens in completed rooms, if possible.

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Lastly, every home needs a roof right? Throughout the game, players will be able to collect roof resource cards that will score them points at the end of the game. The only catch with the roof cards is that once you acquire them, you put them face down on the designated space and cannot look at them again until the end of the game. Players will then get points for having a completed roof (four cards) and additional points if all of the cards match.

After the twelfth round is complete, players will total up their scores with the included score pad and the player with the highest score wins. If there is a tie, then the player with the most children in their house breaks the tie.

He Said

Just looking at the cover of Dream Home gives you a warm fuzzy feeling as you imagine yourself standing in front of your very own house like the family on the box. Depending on your expectations, you might walk away from the game a little disappointed. That’s not to say that I didn’t have fun with the game, I just don’t know if it has a lot of staying power for a lot of repeated plays.

img_2434Rocky Foundation
I felt like there weren’t enough unique rooms in the game to choose from. The core rooms present in the game are bedrooms, living rooms, kitchens, play rooms, and bathrooms. This leaves nine cards as unique rooms in the deck, which includes a library, laundry room, or a study. These are nice, but when I think of building a dream home, I imagine more outlandish rooms. It also seemed like most of the time when the unique rooms came out, I’d have to prioritize one of the core rooms over it because of their expandability and potential functionality bonus at the end of the game. Maybe upping the value of the unique rooms to three would make them more tempting and would put them on the same level as a fully completed core room.

So while the theme wants you to build your ideal dream home, you really can’t because of the bonuses in place at the end of the game. You need certain types of rooms in your home on certain floors to get the bonus points at the end of the game. Through the three games we’ve played, the scores have been pretty close and those bonus points make a difference. This kind of forces you into making those rooms in each game. The name of the bonus makes sense, but it feels like it restrains you a bit on making a really unique house.

The last thing that I thought was weird was that you can’t look at your roof cards once you add them to your house. I’m not really sure what the purpose of this rule is because there are only four types of roof cards. So, you could have a good idea on if you’ve completed your set by the end of the game. I guess I’m just having a hard time understanding the thematic or game play reason for not being able to look at your roof cards.

img_2440Quality Materials
So with my wishlist out of the way, I will say that I did have fun with this game. I really enjoyed the colorful and vibrant artwork on all the components. The little details you spot in each room are a very nice touch – like how you don’t even realize there are kids in the rooms unless you look really hard. Even though the core rooms are labeled the same, they all have unique artwork on them. The funniest thing about this is that you’ll be disappointed when you don’t get THE card that you want. Because the living room with the fireplace in it is just way classier than just having a couch against the wall. It’s that kind of detail that makes the rooms in your house feel unique compared to your neighbor’s.

The game is pretty easy to teach and moves along nicely after the first couple of rounds as players get used to the placement rules. Since the game plays so quickly it makes it an ideal filler game to play as you wait for people to arrive or to wrap up a game night. Which falls into the same category as Dingo’s Dreams for us and it’s nice to have a variety of different types of these lighter quick games to choose from. It’s also a very satisfying feeling to just look at your completed house at the end of the game. It gives you time to soak in all the details of your expanded rooms and how nicely they flow into each other.

img_2567Final Thoughts
Overall, I had fun with Dream Home and I think it’s the perfect gateway game to introduce to family members or non-gamers. The variability comes from the random draw of card combinations that the resources and rooms create and since you see all the cards every game, there aren’t any surprises. When you finish a game, you’ll enjoy looking over the home you just created.

For me, the game is a little too light in the decision-making department and each game seems a little too similar to one another for me to bring out on a frequent basis. If you’re looking for a light quick game (with great components) to play with the family this holiday season then I think this one would fit the bill pretty well since it’s also has a very approachable theme too.

She Said

As someone interested in the varying designs of real-life homes, the game Dream Home intrigued me from the beginning. And the theme of this game is fantastic. You essentially build your dream home by drafting cards from the available room and resource cards. You get to draft the top and bottom card together, so you sometimes may not want both and have to decide if it’s worth it to take the cards. So there are some decisions to make, but overall, this game is fairly light and really doesn’t have too much strategy.

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Building Materials
The components of the game are also amazing – you actually place cards into your own cardboard three-story house. The artwork on the cards is bright and colorful, each one unique. The artwork even ties into how you break ties (one with the most kids hidden in the cards wins). Clearly a lot of effort went into making this game look fantastic.

And although the theme and game mechanisms are very successful, I don’t know that they mesh well together. There are elements to this game that made me wanting more. I try to judge a game with one question in mind – is there anything that can make this game better. For Dream Home, there are a few things that I think can be improved.

Home Improvements
First, you draft cards to build your dream home, but some may find that provides little to no direction. There are functionality goals (have a bathroom on each level or have a kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom) that can help guide you.

img_2434However, I find that these actually limit players and pigeonhole them into how to design/build their home. If these goals did not exist, players would be able to build whatever they wanted – like a whole house full of living rooms and kitchens. To be fair, you could ignore these goals, but I found that to be challenging in the games we played. They seem almost essential to win the game.

Second, I agree with Calvin that the rooms really don’t reflect what I’d imagine would be in a dream home. Where’s the lavish movie theater room? An elaborate craft room? Or maybe even showing a regular kitchen vs. a gourmet kitchen? These little touches would really amp up the theme. Differentiating point values within room cards would also help – why  not have some of the rooms have different values to provide more incentive to draft a certain card?

Final Thoughts
Overall, this game is a great family game.  I think this is a great game to play over the holidays with your family. Though the theme is a bit pasted on and doesn’t seem to tie well with the game mechanism, I did enjoy playing this game. But overall, this game needs an improvement in the disconnect between theme and game mechanism.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Great artwork and game components
  • Quick and easy to learn
  • Great gateway/family game
  • Theme has great potential
  • Unique Theme

Cons:

  • Theme seems a bit pasted on
  • Might be on the lighter side for strategic choices
  • Functionality bonuses feel like a requirement

The Verdict

He gives this game 6 Hot Tubs in a Bathroom out of 10.

She gives this game 6 Play Rooms out of 10.

Read More on Board Game Geek

Buy It Here from Cool Stuff or Here at Miniature Market

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