Dream Home review
You can now file board games alongside video game The Sims, TV show MTV Cribs and the Lego creations of children around the world as making your normally lovely abode feel like a hovel thanks to utopian house designing card game Dream Home.
Each players starts out with a home board with 12 spaces – it might seem a little backwards attempting to plug rooms into an already fully-constructed house, but that’s board games for you. Each round – of which there are also 12 – every player takes it in turns to pick up a combination of a resource card and a room card from the central game board. As the cards are arranged in columns, choosing one card means the other comes too, with a fifth column forgoing the resource card in order to nab the first player marker and get first dibs on the cards in the next round.
Room cards are as you’d expect – rooms. They range from kitchens, bathrooms and living rooms to pantries and playrooms and can be built in any of the spaces on your individual board with two main rules – nothing can be built above a currently empty space (it’s really bad for architectural integrity, trust us) and only basement-specific cards such as the garage can be built in the bottom two gaps.
Each room card is worth a number of points on its own, but can earn maximum points when expanded with matching cards next to it. The number of cards required and points on offer varies, while other rooms may require placement next to specific rooms – the pantry next to the kitchen, for example.
Resource cards vary in their usage, offering décor to kit out rooms for extra points – by sticking a hot tub in the bathroom, for instance – tool cards to introduce extra abilities, such as the ability to deploy scaffolding and build on top of empty rooms; helper cards that offer extra points at the end of the game; and roof cards, which are collected facedown at the bottom of your home board and can offer big points depending on how many you have at the end of the 12th round and whether they all match.
Dream Home’s turn-to-turn gameplay is as simple as selecting a column of cards and placing them on your home board, but it’s a delightful time all the same.
The components are all beautifully illustrated with gorgeous images of each room – a nice touch is that all of the room cards are individual, meaning that matching room types played next to each other look like a single connected area. The cards and boards are finished with an impressive level of quality given the game’s simplicity, with even the box’s custom inlay contributing to the production polish.
At the end of the game, scores are added up, with bonus points earned for certain universal objectives – such as having a bathroom on each floor and building at least one kitchen, bathroom and bedroom.
From box opening to packing away it took us under 20 minutes, meaning that the lightweight mechanics never had a chance to grow stale. Instead, the visually exuberant aesthetics and accessible gameplay remained a joy to play throughout.
It’s unlikely to make a regular appearance on game night, but if you have kids and are looking for something to play that’s a genuine delight, Dream Home is a fun, fast and visually charming pick. There should be one in every home.
Genre: Card placement
Time: 20-40 minutes
This review originally appeared in the February issue of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here – or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.