Best Treehouse Ever
Note: This review is of a prototype version of the game with near final art. The card quality and any minor readability issues or errors do not reflect the final game.
Have your kids been begging to build a treehouse? Have you found your power tools moved around or even missing? Have you found yourself looking longingly at that oak tree in the back yard and seeing blueprints in your mind? Well, it’s time to introduce you to a much safer, less costly, and far more fun way to build that treehouse in the new game from Scott Almes and Green Couch Games called, Best Treehouse Ever.
Best Treehouse Ever is a 2-4 player game. In it, players use a card drafting mechanism to build the best treehouse possible. Players start with 6 room cards in hand, choosing one and passing the rest to the player on their left. Passed cards remain face down until your first room is built. Your treehouse is built one room at a time. Each room must overlap a branch. Trees are built upward in a V pattern, reaching no higher than 5 rows of rooms.
(First Room built on treehouse on the right, balance moves to the right.)
(Second room added and the balance moves back to the middle)
Each room card comes in 6 possible colors. There are Red Activity Rooms, Yellow Education Rooms, Green Outdoor Rooms, Blue Water Rooms, Purple Entertainment Rooms, and Brown Food Rooms. (The card is brown, not the food.) When you build a room for your treehouse the first card of any color may be placed in any valid spot. After that color has been built in the treehouse, any subsequent rooms of the same color must touch a room of that color. Color rooms have to be built in groups.
(Rooms continue to be added. Notice, blue cannot be added to the treehouse again.)
Sound pretty easy right? Well watch out, you can’t let your treehouse become unbalanced. On your tree base, you keep track of your tree house balance. With each addition you move the marker left or right. Spots directly above your tree trunk do not affect the balance. Build a room on the right side and the marker moves to the right. If it is all the way to the right you cannot build another room on that side till you balance out your tree.
(Your tree base at the beginning of the game)
(A little further up the tree, nothing can be added to the left side of the tree until balance is achieved)
After you build the room you drafted, pick up the 5 cards that were passed to you. Pick a new room card, place the remaining four cards face down to the player on your left and build the new room on your treehouse. You do this 5 times each round, thus, one room card per player each round will not be built. (Since you started with 6 cards, one will remain at the end.)
After each round there is a scoring phase. 6 scoring cards are included; one for each color signifying that each room of that color will score you 1 point.
But that would be too easy to score points if that was all there was to it. So, there are 4 scoring modifiers that are used each round as well. Two cards give a bonus point to a color and two cards negate any scoring of two colors per round. In a 4 player game each player picks one modifier, then in reverse turn order that the players picked them, they place their modifier card on whichever color they want to affect.
The game consists of three scoring rounds. After the final scoring round there is a bonus for each color. Whoever has the most rooms of that specific color gets the bonus. Highest final score wins!
That’s it. In 20 minutes or so, you and the other builders at your table have built the treehouse of your dreams, complete with Water Slides, Board Game Rooms and Cargo Nets!
(Finished treehouse, balance marker is off, but I didn’t center it since the game was over)
Best Treehouse Ever is a fantastic, lightweight family game. It’s easy to teach, fun to play and at the end you are left with a feeling of accomplishment. You’ve actually built a treehouse right in front of your eyes! My family are fans of games where you physically build something on the table and this game has been a huge hit. It has not left the table in the last week or so since we received the preview copy. The art from Adam McIver is fantastic, colorful and whimsical. It evokes childlike wonder and further drives home the lightheartedness of the game. The rules are simple and easily taught in a couple minutes. People who have never played a drafting game will be up and building their treehouse in no time.
Look for Best Treehouse Ever on Kickstarter on March 20, 2015!