Toy Corner

Review of the Award Winning Dorfromantik

May 28, 2024

dorfromantik board game

Today we will take a look at the world of peaceful village creation with Dorfromantik, the Spiel des Jahres 2023 winner! This cooperative board game, designed for 1-6 players, offers a serene escape into a realm of tile laying and strategic planning. From crafting idyllic forests and rivers to constructing bustling train tracks, Dorfromantik is all about creating the perfect landscape.

Unboxing Dorfromantik

Unboxing any new board game always excites me, but I was particularly eager to open Dorfromantik. As you lift the cover of the box, you're greeted by multiple boards and components neatly arranged and packaged. The Dorfromantik board game includes a wealth of elements:

  • 25 Task Tiles

  • 48 Landscape Tiles

  • 25 Task Markers

Then there are the modern gaming must-haves like a Campaign Sheet Pad with 20 sheets and a Score Pad with another 50 sheets, all one-sided and two-sided respectively. All of this, and we haven't even mentioned the rule book yet. But there's still more. The pièce de résistance--5 boxes of additional components hidden away to be unlocked during the campaign play.

I know this sounds like a lot, especially if you're new to board games. But don't worry, the way these elements are organized and deployed in the game is a delight, not a chore. Flagging tasks using Task Tiles and Markers, and expanding the game board with Landscape Tiles, all provide strategic choices that make Dorfromantik such a rewarding experience.

One of the main highlights of Dorfromantik is its high-quality components. This might seem like a minor thing, but in a game where the landscape grows and changes with each turn, the durability of the tiles is key.

As I examined each Landscape Tile, I appreciated the artwork that illustrates various terrain types like forests, fields, rivers, and villages which all add to the overall aesthetic appeal of the game.

The Task Tiles and Markers are sturdy too, capable of withstanding frequent use without showing signs of wear and tear.

Being an award-winning game, I expected nothing less from Dorfromantik in terms of quality. However, it surpassed my expectations and reinforced my belief about the importance of good components in board games. Not only do they aid in gameplay, but they can also enhance the whole experience, creating a world that you want to revisit again and again.

dorfromantik board game components

Game Setup

Exploring this component is vital in cooperative games and award-winning titles like Dorfromantik aren't any different. But why is the game setup meaningful? It's the foundation that drives the whole gameplay experience. A well-structured setup process works like a smooth engine start, paving the way for a more enjoyable ride ahead.

Setting up Dorfromantik for the first time feels like preparing the ingredients for a complex but delightful recipe. You begin with the 48 Landscape Tiles, which need to be shuffled and placed face down, forming a draw pile. Keep aside 3 random Landscape Tiles from the game. These might seem like minor steps, but they influence the randomness and unpredictability Dorfromantik thrives on.

You then have the Task Tiles, 25 of them, demanding another thorough shuffle. The Task Markers are a little more finicky; you need to separate them into 5 piles based on their terrain type, including forest, grain, village, track, and stream. Does the terrain classification seem intimidating? Believe me, it's not. It's just like sorting your laundry, only more fun.

Lastly, place the Campaign Sheet Pad, Score Pad, and Rulebook within easy reach. The 5 additional boxes containing unlockable components should be set aside for later, adding a dash of intrigue to the game.

Once you've covered the initial setup, a recurring pattern emerges for every round. To start the game, each player takes turns placing one of the three initial Task Tiles. Of course, you also need to place the corresponding Task Marker on the play area.

After the initial Task Tiles are in place, the fun truly begins. Players can start placing Landscape Tiles, and building the game board as they go along. If the initial setup was all about getting the engine ready, this recurring placement of Landscape Tiles feels like putting the pedal to the metal.

And that's the essence of Dorfromantik's setup. It's not just a mechanical process; it's a crucial part of the cooperative gaming experience, building suspense and excitement even before the gameplay has truly begun. So, are we ready to explore the game in full swing now?

Gameplay Mechanics

As we proceed into the heart of Dorfromantik, let's dissect its unique gameplay mechanics. Keeping in mind the immersive setup we've previously discussed, let's plunge deeper into understanding how each turn unwinds and how victory is grasped in this award-winning cooperative game.

Let me paint a picture here; in Dorfromantik, each player's turn revolves predominantly around two main actions: drawing and placing hexagonal Landscape Tiles. Now, don't underestimate the simplicity of this process. The nuance lies in strategically placing these tiles adjacent to their kin on the board, hence weaving an ever-expanding landscape unmatched in its abstract beauty.

Each tile showcases one or many of five different terrain types — forest, grain, village, track, or stream. Place them thoughtfully, my friends, because fitting them together like an intricate jigsaw helps smash through the Task Tiles' objectives, which require a specific number of connections within these terrain types.

But what happens when you smash these objectives, you may ask? That's when the corresponding Task Marker is swept off the board, boosting your score. It's almost like a melodious duet, where one action harmoniously chimes into the next, culminating in a sweet symphony of points!

Let's address the burning question: how do you fill your points coffers in Dorfromantik? As players, we're called to strike the perfect balance between efficiently completing Tasks and building extended, uninterrupted features like rivers and train tracks. Think of it as a game of chess, where each move, each tile placed, is a strategic step towards victory.

But here's where Dorfromantik stands out. Those little flags decorating your tiles aren't just for show. They’re power-packed tokens granting additional points when you enclose areas. Picture it—encircling a forest of green tiles, a cluster of village tiles—unleashing a flood of extra points!

The thrill of Dorfromantik isn’t confined to single-play sessions. Remember when we talked about the game's replayable campaign? More than just an intriguing narrative element, it works overtime rewarding your high score by unlocking new tiles in hidden boxes. These tiles, eagerly awaiting discovery, harness yet more challenges and avenues to ramp up your score in subsequent plays.

Final Verdict of Dorfromantik

I've found Dorfromantik to be a refreshing addition to the board game scene. It's a unique blend of strategy and creativity, where the joy of crafting a picturesque landscape is as rewarding as achieving the game's objectives. The high-quality components, intriguing setup process, and the element of surprise in the campaign mode all contribute to a rich and engaging gaming experience. The scoring system cleverly incentivises strategic tile-laying and the cooperative play aspect fosters a sense of shared accomplishment. This Spiel des Jahres 2023 winner is a must-try for any board game enthusiast. It's clear that Dorfromantik has set a new standard in cooperative board games, offering a gameplay experience that's both challenging and enjoyable.