As head of a local dog rescue shelter, you'll need to rescue a variety of dogs, train them up and graduate them into their forever homes. It's not quite that simple though, as you'll need to arrange the different breeds on your player board to meet the training criteria from the everchanging pool of dogs in need of help.
I'll be the first to admit, we're a family of dog lovers here, with Titus helping us out with the business as well as keeping up moral, we really can't get enough of them! So to combine our love of both board games and dogs into 1 with Forever Home was certainly a game we couldn't resist!
The artwork on the box felt really homely and intrigued me as to what the game was about and how it would play. As the second birdwood games board game we have picked up, it was of no surprise to me that the quality of the components was excellent, with linen finish on the cards and a decent thickness to the punch boards, player boards and central board. The artwork is yet again of a beautiful design and style with some nice brightly coloured dog tokens and meeples. The rules were well written and easy to follow in an easily digestible format that made the game easy to set up and quick to get started with playing the game.
Game Play Overview
There are 3 actions you can take on your turn; rescuing a dog, obtaining a new training technique or moving your dogs around your player board. You get 2 actions per turn and can take any combination of the 3 actions available, including the
possibility of taking the same action twice. Each training card has it's own formation of dogs on, for one or two different breeds. Completing training scenarios is free to do and must be done as soon as the formation has been made. Each of these cards will enable you to earn points and graduate dogs, as shown on the card. When graduating dogs, you will choose which of the 4 possible forever home locations they will go to. Each home has it's own scoring mechanism at the end of the game and will therefore require you to think carefully about which home they will be best suited to. The end of the game is triggered when a player completes their 7th training card, the round is completed and then final scoring will take place. Along with scoring points from the trainings that you have successfully achieved and the forever homes that you've placed dogs into, there are also points given out for having the most dogs of certain breeds in your shelter, in forever homes and spread between the different types of homes. The player with the most points is the winner.
Pros and Cons
This game is relatively straight forward in it's mechanisms, but requires clever planning and careful placement to achieve the best score and is therefore reasonably hard to master. We did come across 1 rule which wasn't well explained, where the training cards you complete must be in your hand for them to be awarded. This was inferred through a couple of rules, but never clearly stated. However, this was the only rule we had any query over. Forever Home plays nice and quickly without being over before you've started, and we felt the end was satisfying regardless of whether you won or not (although we were rather competitive over who won and how close we could get to each other scorewise!)
Overall, it was a simple, yet fun and engaging game that got all of our puzzlers puzzling without getting to complicated or heavy. Once we'd established the one minor ruling query we had, the rulebook was not checked again until scoring in our first game or at all in our second game. We really enjoyed playing Forever Home and look forward to playing it again.
In conclusion, we would rate this game a 9.3/10