Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

Get in touch by emailing thegameshelfblog@gmail.com

Monday, 26 February 2018

The Game Shelf Previews:- Dead and Breakfast

Game: Dead and Breakfast

Publisher: Braincrack Games

Designer: Rodrigo Rego

Year: 2018


Welcome to the Dead & Breakfast - a reputable establishment with 24 fine rooms, furnished for the comfort of our guests. Our beautiful mansions is decorated with vines with flowers in four stunning colours - nothing you'd want to touch or eat, of course. Don't mind the name, there's nothing to worry about. Unless, of course, you're afraid of zombies, bats, ghosts, puppets or spiders. You'll be fine!

In Dead & Breakfast, each player constructs a mansion with the goal of scaring as many guests as possible. You'll design rows and columns filled with different monsters and then select the perfect guest to occupy the row or column based on scaring them as much as possible. Can you make your Dead & Breakfast the best of the worst?



Gameplay

Dead & Breakfast set up ready for a two-player game, this is a pre-release copy, so the game is still subject ot change.

Dead & Breakfast is a tile laying game in which you will be making a 5 square by 5 square mansion, its walls covered in twisting vines and it's rooms filled with twisted minds. You will start with a single doorway, indicating player colour and the 2 flower colours that you will get bonus points for collecting. Each turn you will take one of 3 tiles available to you and place it on your mansion, common sense building applies, all windows must be the right way up, and all parts of the building must connect. You will continue to do this until you have finished your 5x5 mansion, at which point the game is scored.

Tiles all have varying designs of vines and flower, at the end of the game each flower, of the two colours you are collecting, that can be connected back to your entrance tiles via vines scores you one point. In addition you can earn a large amount of points from guests, every time you complete a floor (a 5x1 horizontal layer) you may take one of the available guests and replace one of your windows on the completed floor. Each guest fears a certain type of monster, and will reward you 2 points for each monster of that type in their row/column (depending on the guest). In addition guests tend to have 3 flowers and a helpful bundle of vines going in every direction, sometimes you'll need to balance out getting the most points for the guest with connecting your vines up.

On top of all this each game has a random bonus tile, these score you extra points for different objectives, such as for vines that connect to the outside of your building, or guests that are in different vertical columns.

Amy’s Final Thoughts

Dead & Breakfast is a game that gives you hard decisions right from the moment you start playing. Even from your first choice of tile you are forced to choose between convenient vines, good monster placement and flowers of the colour you want to collect. The rules are simple enough to teach anyone, but the game has surprising amounts of strategic depth, combines with just the right amount of luck.

The theme is a simple premise, but works well, making this a nice Halloween-themed game, the monsters are definitely spooky, not scary. Which is convenient as the kickstarter is supposed to deliver in July, giving 3 whole months of delays before the game misses the spookiest of holidays! There could be a little confusion from art style choices, such as someone arguing a witch (guest that score for different monster types) should score for the different colours of ghosts, or different types of haunted dolls, but this shouldn't be a problem past game one.

One thing the game could really use is scoring pads, a simple pad so you can write down the number of points for each of your 5 guests, flowers and the bonus tile. Scores tend to hover around 50, and while it's not terribly hard to work them out in your head, younger players may struggle. The other issue is a lack of player interaction, while you certainly can take tiles or guests that other players want there isn't much more than that, be warned that Dead & Breakfast is essentially a solitaire game where you compare scores at the end, some people may not appreciate that


The first 2 floors of a mansion completed, the guest on the ground floor will score 8 points, 2 for each doll (including the 2 on the guest card), the 2nd floor will also score 8, 2 points from the witch each different monster type

Fi’s Final Thoughts

Dead and Breakfast is a really satisfying tile laying game. There are many ways in which it manages to differentiate itself from other tile laying games I've played. The way of obtaining cards is reminiscent of Patchwork, where you can take the next three cards in the circle, this gives you some opportunity to affect what the next player can take and there's three different scoring elements to balance at once; the guests, the vines and the end game.

For such a small game with a simple set of rules it has really caused some moments of intense overthinking for some players as they try and figure out the spatial puzzle of the vines and weigh this up with the chances of getting the guest their working towards as well as the optimal horizontal and vertical patterns on the board. When we're playing a two player game, the opportunity to think quite hard is fine, but when we introduced the game to new players it did make the game go quite slowly and it was a very quiet table experience for a game with a light-hearted theme and appearance.

I recommend Dead and Breakfast if you enjoy a spatial puzzle and are looking for a new tile laying game to add to your collection. The theme will definitely appeal to a wide range of players and the game is accessible yet interesting for more seasoned players.

A selection of guest and bonus cards. Guests are very useful as they usually have 3 flowers and vines that go in every direction.

The Good
  • Early decisions help to decide your later choices and strategy in the game.
  • A series of 12 really meaningful decisions make for a strong 30-40 minute game.
  • The game feels quite different depending which end game scoring objective you are working towards.

The Bad
  • Some of the art and graphic design choices are a little misleading, but this could be resolved by the final printing.
  • Limited player interaction and very little table talk.
The Verdict
6.5/10 Dead and Breakfast is a surprisingly thinky tile laying game. The rules are simple, but the different scoring mechanics as well as some fun are make for a medium weight tile laying game that could be a great next step into gaming. 

Dead and Breakfast was a preview copy provided to the Board Game Exposure reviewer collective. It's currently live on Kickstarter, so if it sounds interesting, then check it out here.

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