27 September 2023
Some games thrive on chaos - players shouting at each other, objects flying across the room and a leader board that changes more often than a baby’s nappy. Others love tension - the creeping pressure of a shared objective, or the threat of a rival taking that special item or space you NEED. Dorfromantik, on the other hand, is a game so chill that it makes a sloth look positively energetic. It’s the board game equivalent of a warm bath with candles and relaxing music, followed by a lovely cuddle.
What is Dorfromantik: The Board Game?
Based on the videogame of the same name, Dorfromantik is a co-operative tile-laying game, in which you try to beat your high score by careful placement of tile groups. The different hexagonal tiles include things like forests, grain, villages, streams and railway tracks, all beautifully illustrated with clear, top-down artwork.
How do you play Dorfromantik?
In order to score points, you must complete tasks. At the start of the game, you place three Task tiles and their corresponding Task markers. The Task markers indicate how many corresponding types of a tile must be connected to the initial one. Each time you complete a Task, you draw a new challenge and add that to the playing area.
On your turn, you pick up a landscape tile and choose where to place it. To be honest, there are very few restrictions on where you place the tile, outside of railways and rivers must be connected to other railway lines or river channel. Mostly, you’re left to your own devices, which adds to the relaxed nature. Of course, there’s always the slight pressure of not being able to complete your tasks, but without any real ‘fail’ mechanic, even if you do pull a less than ideal Landscape tile, it’s unlikely to cause a table flipping moment.
Instead, the challenge comes from trying to score as many points as possible to complete different achievements on the campaign sheet, which in turn unlocks new tiles for you to use. This is a really nice touch that borrows heavily from the videogame. Initially, Dorfromantik has fairly basic tiles, but as you finish the increasingly difficult achievements, you can open the TOP SECRET boxes included in the game. These five sealed boxes come with new ways to score, letting you unlock more boxes! It’s such a neat way to keep you coming back for more, because the experience changes with each new box. Of course, you could just open them all from the start - but where’s the fun in that?
What do we think of Dorfromantik?
Talking of fun, it’s likely that Dorfromantik isn’t going to appeal to everyone. If you crave tension and nerve-wracking decision making, then this isn’t the game for you. Instead, it has a gentle pace and easy flow that generates fairly relaxed conversations around the table. It’s also absolutely perfect as a family game, because the lack of a fail-state ensures there are no tears just before bedtime. The achievement mechanic and lightning-fast set-up time keeps you coming back for more so you can unlock new tiles and send your high score soaring.
What’s more, it’s one of the few experiences where it’s just as good, if not better, for solo play than as a group, which arguably goes back to its videogame roots. Anytime you fancy a quick brain teaser, you can pop out Dorfromantik, try to beat your high score and unlock more of those achievements. It’s a great game for playing with kids, or as a quick solo play game, but not so great for players craving high stakes gameplay.
Review by Rob Burman
Should you play Dorfromantik?
Dorfromantik is the perfect game if you want a relaxing, laid-back experience without any competitive pressure or heart-breaking failures.
Try Dorfromantik: The Board Game if you liked:
On the box
Designer: Michael Palm and Lucas Zach
Publisher: Pegasus Spiele
Time: 30-60 minutes
What’s in the box?
- 73 tiles
- 25 task markers
- Campaign pad
- Score pad
- 5 boxes of TOP SECRET COMPONENTS
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