Confession, I haven’t played the computer game DorfRomantik, so you may be wondering why did I buy this game? The answer is it looked cool and it has tile laying with campaign / legacy elements, what’s not to like? So now I have played the game (a lot – spoiler) the question is do I like DorfRomantik? Yes, yes I do, read on anyway to find out why.
Who Needs Theme?
So the theme in this game is…..um…..there isn’t one. But that is ok. Not all games have to have a big back story with reasons why you are doing everything. I would suggest if you are looking for a theme you are redesigning your world trying to please the whims of the residents.
This is a cooperative game where you play a series of short games to achieve the ultimate aim of completing all the achievements, unlocking every new component and scoring the hard to reach target of 400 points.
The game starts simple with very few rules but as you progress further into the game you will be awarded with new tiles that score in lots of different ways but also provide an extra level of complexity. Because of the way the new tiles are introduced it is very easy to take the new rules in and you never feel overwhelmed. In fact the opposite is true, you get really excited to see what you have unlocked next and you immediately start planning your next game.
Is It A Cooperative Game
Ok, so I want to get a negative point out of the way. This isn’t really a cooperative game. Not really. It is more like a solo game that you can play with others. That is fine for me but some people might not like it if they go into the game thinking there will be lots for each player to do on their turn. All you do is turn over the next tile and decide (as a group) where to place it.
For me this game sings at 2 players. You can both discuss where you should place it without too many opinions being thrown around and you can both be nice and close to the table.
I have also written a How To Play here, but essentially on your turn you will reveal a new Landscape tile and place it somewhere so at least one of its sides is touching another tile. There are placement rules for the tracks and stream (they must always lead into themselves) and then more rules as new tiles are revealed but that is basically all you have to consider.
There are also Task tiles and when you complete one (there are always 3 on the go at any one time) your next tile placed must be a new Task tile. The Task tiles will have an icon relating to either village (houses), stream, track (railway), grain, or forests. You take a task marker and place this on the tile. It will indicate how many of the same terrain types you need to complete it. Once you do, this marker is moved to the side to be scored at the end of the game.
You will also score for enclosed flag areas (forest, grain and village) as well as your longest continuous stream and track. These are all the basic scoring objectives that you will use for your first few games but by game 10 you will be having to consider a whole lot more.
But I Want More
Every game you complete is logged with your scores rewarding you with a number of X’s you can mark off in a multi branching campaign trail. I won’t spoil any of the achievements or what they do but I will say it is a wonderful way of keeping you coming back for more and gives you the same feeling of playing an Xbox game when the achievement pings off. The fact that you can choose which way you complete the achievements is very clever.
DorfRomantik is brilliant. Each game only takes between 15 and 20 minutes but one game is never enough. There is so much content included which entices you back for more each play. The tile placement and initial scoring is nothing new and each decision seems simple, but as you progress through the game the amount of scoring options and decisions increases really satisfyingly, so much so that by the end of the campaign you will have to have your best gaming hat on.
You can feel the games DNA from the computer world coming through with the achievements and unlocks, and it has moved across to the board game world really well. I love the fact that the game is completely resettable and can be played as many times as you want. I expect to still be playing this for a long time to come just trying to achieve higher and higher scores.
Be aware that it is a solo game you can play with others and that luck does feature as the tiles can be your friends or enemies (especially if you turn over track after track when you don’t need tracks). But if you are looking for a chilled tile laying experience you can share with maybe one other person you could go a lot more wrong than buying DorfRomantik.
Now I have to go as I need one more go, maybe two.