Thursday, May 7, 2015

Best Treehouse Ever: 2-4 Players - Ages 8+ - 20 mins.

Game Play: Give each player a base to their tree house place one of their colored tokens in the middle space of the tree house and the other on the scoring track. The deal 6 cards to each player. Players then choose one card from their hand and place it face down in front of them and all players then reveal their choice at the same time and place it on the tree house. Players then pass their remaining hand clockwise and play continues until one card is left that is then discarded allowing five rooms played per round. Three rounds are one game.

The first time a color is played it may be played anywhere. The first level of the tree house supports two rooms, the second three rooms, etc, on up to six levels. The outside rooms can be played on only one supporting card of the lower level but interior rooms must be supported by two cards of a lower level. Any colored cards after the first must touch the same color or it cannot be played. Each time a room is played to the left or right of the center-line, the balance marker is moved to that side. If the balance marker is to one side or the other, you cannot play on that same side.

After the first round, you then randomly draw a "no score" card or a "double score" card. From last place to first, you play your card on a corresponding color scoring card to either double or cancel points. each player then scores their tree at one point for each color unless a modifier is on that card. On the last round you only score if you have the most of a certain color and you score as many points as you have rooms of that color. 

For the kid version, you do not play the score modifier cards and just select a color you want to score and all players score for every color selected by a player.

Review: This game is fast and fun. The simplicity of matching colors and balancing the tree house is great for younger children and fun for adults as well. My daughter and I played this several times and I do not get bored of it. My daughter is almost four and gets the basic concept of the game. Strategy will come with time but after about five plays, my almost four year old can get through a game with the only real help needed when she blocks herself out of a color. Strategy will come with time and the kid rules reduces the strategy and raises the luck but still makes it fun.

The older version adds a level of complexity that is great for older children and adults alike. Memory is needed to remember what color is in each hand and anticipating the next player's moves is exciting as you try and make sure you get the most of a certain color. But if you obviously are winning with a color, other players will just cancel all your points with the "no score" modifier. The game then becomes subtle strategy of trying to anticipate other player's moves, the colors still in each hand, and making sure you don't block yourself out of certain colors while trying to it all.

Since the game is only 20 minutes long, you can play more games and keep the score card running through each one. I supported this game on Kickstarter and when I get the published edition we will revisit the game.