Recently I was given the opportunity to check out an upcoming new game. I received a play test copy of the game along with rules for play. These are my thoughts and opinions on the presented materials. Enjoy!
Best Treehouse Ever is a game by Scott Almes, published by Green Couch Games. It is for 2-4 players. In this game, players will be competing to make their childhood dreams of having the best treehouse ever come true. The player that can build the best while paying attention to balance will be declared the winner.
To begin, each player is given a starting tree card, a scoring marker and a balance marker. The balance marker is placed in the center circle of the players tree card which is placed in front of the player. The scoring cards and game changer cards are all placed face up in the middle of the table. The scoretrack cards are placed together on the table with the player’s scoring markers placed on or near the 0 spot. All of the treehouse room cards are shuffled together and placed facedown in a stack. Play now begins.
The game takes place over 3 rounds which is divided into 3 phases; deal, build and score. The first phase is the deal phase. In this phase, each player is dealt 6 room cards from the deck. Players then simultaneously choose one of the cards they were dealt to build onto their treehouse.
The next phase is the build phase. In this phase, players will reveal which card that they chose during the last phase. The room card is then added to the player’s treehouse. To add the room card, it must meet a few rules. Each room must be supported by 2 branches unless it is an edge room on the outer edge of the tree. These only require 1 room support. Another rule is that the first card of a particular color can be placed anywhere that is valid. However, the next rooms of that color must touch a room of that same color. The tree can not reach more than 6 levels high including the starting tree.
The last rule deals with balance. Let me explain. As a room card is added to the tree, the balance marker moves to the left or right depending on which side of the tree the room is placed. Placing rooms on the center line above the starting tree card do not move the marker. As the marker moves it will keep you from adding rooms to that side of the tree. If the balance marker can not move, you can’t add a card to that side. You will have to add a card to the opposite side to balance the tree out. If the player is unable to place a room card then they simply discard the card face down. Once all players have added their room card to their tree, they will pass the remaining cards in their hand clockwise. The process of building is then repeated. This continues until only 2 cards remain in the player’s hand. Once this happens the player chooses one and discards the other.
The last phase is the score phase. In this phase, players choose one of the game changer cards in turn order until each player has one, then in reverse turn order they will place the chosen card on one of the face up scoring cards that does not have a game changer card on it. Once everyone has placed a card, players score their treehouse. Colors that have no game changer cards on them score 1 point per room while those with game changers on them score 2. The ones that have the card with the crossed out circle score 0 points. The player’s score it tracked on the scoretrack card by moving the player’s colored scoring marker. This ends the round. The remaining 2 rounds play out exactly the same by repeating the above processes.
Once the third round ends, the game is over. Final scoring then takes place with players collecting extra bonus points for having the most room cards of a color. Players then add up their points and the player with the most points wins.
The game consists of lots of cards. There are the starting tree cards, scoretrack cards, score cards and game changer cards. These are all brightly colored and look really nice. However, the stars of the show are the treehouse cards. These are definitely the cutest cards that I’ve seen. I love the light and fun artwork on them. My daughter loved the art as well. I also like that each colored category has a certain theme type. For instance, all the blue cards are water rooms. There are also wooden tokens that are used on the starting tree and score card. Sturdiness wasn’t a problem either as they stood up to my daughter quite well. All in all, this is a really cute game that has some really well designed and sturdy cards.
8 out of 10
The rulebook that I received was more of a copy machine print out. However, I’ve seen the final draft of the rules and find them to be really well done. There are a lot of pictures and some great examples. Everything is laid out really well and easily explained. There are also special rules for playing a 2 player game as well as games for younger players. I like the look of the finished product and think it really fits well with the game. My print out, while good at explaining the rules didn’t reach the same quality in art. In this case, I will go with the finalized rulebook and consider that my score.
8 out of 10
This is a really light and fun card game. The concept is to score the most points by placing the best available choices from the cards that you are dealt in a drafting style mechanic. I really enjoy drafting games like Sushi Go and 7 Wonders. This one is no different. It’s simply about making the right choices and choosing the right colored cards. There’s really nothing difficult about it at all. Scoring is all about making sure that you can capitalize on those colors that you have the most of and making sure that the colors that your opponent has doesn’t score them any points. There’s not really a lot of strategy as everything relies on what cards you receive each go round. You definitely don’t want to be forced to discard because you were unable to place a room card. Doing that a couple of times will certainly put you behind the rest of the players. This is a game that my daughter really enjoys playing. It’s one of her most requested games to play. The rest of the gaming group enjoy it as well. They seem to like the quick set up and fast gameplay. It’s not a really deep game but for 20 minutes it’s a really great filler.
8 out of 10
Best Treehouse Ever is a light weight card game of drafting the best available rooms for your treehouse. It’s a fairly short game with most sessions lasting no more than 20 minutes. That makes this a great filler game. The artwork is light and cute and really gives a great feel to the game. My daughter and I really love the art. The games lacks a lot of strategy but the fun factor makes up for it. I really like that there are rules for younger players included. Fans of games like Sushi Go or Fairy Tale will probably enjoy this one as well. Serious gamers might dislike this due to it’s simple nature and lack of depth of strategy. For me, I like the simplicity and fast playing game style. Younger players like my daughter will love the look and feel of the game. As for the older players, it really depends on their gameplay preferences. For me, I enjoy it. I would recommend it for the young players and suggest giving it a try first with the older ones. You just may enjoy this one as much as we do.
8 out of 10
For more information about this and other great games, please check out Green Couch Games at their Facebook page.
Also, you can check out the current Kickstarter page for the game here.