Scratch House

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  • MD 8
BGG description: The tile-laying game   Scratch House   takes its inspiration... more
Product information "Scratch House"

BGG description:

The tile-laying game Scratch House takes its inspiration from the Winchester Mystery House, a bizarre mansion in San Jose, California owned by Sarah Winchester that was added on to continuously.

User summary:
Scratch House is a multi-player solitaire tile placement game. After your home is destroyed, fairies help you build a new house. But since they will live there too, they walk around the new rooms having a good look.

Players take turns collecting room tiles and spells from the board and then follow a solitaire process of building and scoring. The tiles show four portals, but 0-4 exit arrows which allow the fairies to walk only one way. Players can only build off arrows, so building is always with a mind to the next walk to score points as well as keeping it legal.

Fairies will not walk through unfinished rooms, and rooms don't become available until the build time is spent. All the tiles have a build cost, and players add to this cost how many steps to the nearest bedroom, and how many rooms built this turn to get the final cost. This is marked on the room with tokens.

Then build time is taken off each room according to which season you chose on the board. If you picked Spring, you get only 1 new tile but take 3 off each build time; Summer and Autumn get you 2 tiles and 2 off build times; Winter gives you 3 tiles but only 1 off build times. This means a balance forms between your house expanding quickly, or the rooms opening quickly, but not both together. Get it wrong and you restrict the walk and the chance to score points.

Add to this special effects in rooms to trigger bonus VPs, teleports, repainting and so on, Feng Shui to affect the fairies, spell cards to help you gain, extra steps for reaching bedrooms, and bonuses for seasons and colours, and there's a lot going on.

Production quality is high, the artwork is very good and the theme and the mechanics all work together nicely. Apart from the tile selection each round though, there is zero inter-action and players are really just trying to optimise their own builds and walks each time. The first edition of the game does not include English rules (downloadable though), despite full English on the cards and game box.

Manual: English, Japanese
Language - game: English, Japanese
Country of Origin: Japan
Number of players: 3-4
Playing Time: 50-70 min
Age: 10+
Author: Kuro
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