Forever Home – Touching, with a splash of strategy

Forever Home is a board game all about finding homes for dogs that have come to your shelter, but doing so in a way that scores you the most points possible at the end of the game. It’s a mix of strategy and sort of deciding if the odds will more likely be in your favor or not. There are several different types of dogs and you will need to pay close attention to them.

In Forever Home, you have a grid that acts as your dog shelter. This is the area where you can place dogs that are looking for a home. At the start of the game, you will get two dog tiles, from a limited pool of tiles that everyone is taking turns picking. You will also get two cards.

These cards are how you bank dogs and get them into their forever homes. Each card has a green house number, showing how many dogs you will get to give to a home, along with a golden corner number, which will give you bonus points in the future. Some cards allow you to home more dogs than others, and some have more of these golden points than others. This means you will need to work out a strategy when it comes to what points you are after and what dog cards you want to take and complete.

In the middle of the playing space, there is a bank of dog cards face up, a bank of dog tiles face up, and a scoring row that showcases what points you will get for homing dogs. When we played, for example, you got 3 points for every matching pair of dogs that you homed in the suburbs, and one point for every dog you put in the city. Both of these homes could be used multiple times, but there were other areas that could only be used once or had a limit of five dogs for that home.

The scoring system in Forever Home is quite complex, as there is also a small point system for random colored dogs, which is primarily looked at towards the scoring phase. This will give players another bonus if they have the most amount of a color of dog and the like. It’s really hard to tell when playing who is in the lead and who is not in Forever Home.

Despite how complex scoring does sound, everyone is visually available to look at and the gameplay itself is quite easy. On your turn, you can take two of any actions, which are printed on your board. This can be to take a dog tile, take a dog card, or move a dog in your shelter around. You will want to be placing dogs in a way that they match your card, often needing dogs of the same color, as the card will show dogs of the same color or a pattern that you need to replicate in your shelter. At any time, you can complete a dog card and bank it, putting the required number of dogs from that specific pattern into whatever home-type area at the top of your card.

The game continues until one player completes seven training cards, then everyone else gets one last turn and the game is up! It’s not a long game, unless you have some indecisive players, and the quality of the artwork and game pieces are fantastic. It’s easily a game you can play with younger ones, as everything is visually in front of you, and the main way to win seemingly is to just bank as many dogs as possible. 

You can find Forever Home on Amazon.

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