Yard Builder is a roll-and-write where everyone draws a yard on their own player sheet from the same die rolls. It’s one of those games where the number of players is limited only by the number of player sheets and everyone’s ability to see the die rolls.
In Yard Builder, you are filling in a five-by-five grid with different landscaping elements. Paths, garden squares, house squares, etc. Someone rolls three twenty-sided dice. Then anyone can pick any of the three dice. There’s a handy table on one side of the player sheet that tells you what yard features the die rolls let you draw in. After the first square, you need to drawn in squares that are touching already drawn in squares (diagonals count) You get points for groups of like things and special unique features that get special scoring.
There is absolutely nothing new in Yard Builder. I’ve seen every element in it literally dozens of times. My files are full of games that use the Take It Easy ‘Bingo with Stategy’ system.
And I’m okay with that.
I tried out this game on a very Monday Monday and it really brightened my mood. Drawing in a yard just felt good. It’s just a very happy little game about landscaping.
The designer stated that the goal for the game was for it to be relaxing. They even included a variation where you ignore the placement restriction to make for an even more casual game. If a casual, no stress game that could by played via video conferencing was the mission statement, they succeeded.
Yard Builder isn’t a game that I’d recommend for a ‘serious’ gaming experience and there are a lot of serious gaming friends I won’t be recommend it to. However, I have already started recommending to non-gaming friends who I think would find it healing.
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