I enjoy having light filler games available for those times when I need to start or finish off a night with elevated fare for my heavy strategy gamer friends. Splendor doesn’t work for most of them, but something with even the slightest amount of meat on the bone works wonders.
Floor Plan, from designer Marek Tury and Deep Water Games, is just thinky enough for this type of player. A 20-minute roll-and-write with a mix of polyomino building and a shared series of public goals used to score sheets during the game, Floor Plan places everyone in the role of an architect tasked with designing some of the most unwieldy houses you have ever seen.
Well, at least that’s what happens when I play, and I’m drawing one of the ugliest homes in history. But as long as it aligns with what these crazy clients want, Floor Plan can be a blast when everyone compares their cosmic creations at the end of a game.
Pool View, Wraparound Deck, Shaded Porch, Rock Garden
Turns in Floor Plan are pretty simple. Someone rolls 2 normal 6-sided dice. Based on the result, you can do only one of two things:
- Draw a room. On your building sheet, you have a key showing what each pip result lets you draw; if you rolled a 3 and a 4, you can draw either a bedroom or a kitchen anywhere on your sheet, 3 columns by 4 rows or 4 columns by 3 rows. Draw that, and draw a letter in any single space inside the room to call out what it is.
- Draw 2 sets of features. That same 3 and 4 could instead be used to draw exactly 3 windows and 4 furnishings.
All the while, you are working on the requests of 3 different clients: one each for the house’s Build, Layout and Design requirements. Each of these public goals are listed on cards for all players to see, and each card has 2 scoring conditions, for a total of 6 scoring conditions in the game. Each of these can be scored multiple times, as long as you have the space in your blueprint.
Each time you meet one of the goals, you score it on one of the 6 Post-It notes on your score sheet. That also grants an extra bonus; maybe a chance to double the amount of features on a single turn, or turning a die into whatever face is needed to draw a different room/features than what was rolled.
When any player completes their 6th goal, they get a 3-point bonus then each other player shares one final turn to finish out their score sheet. Tally ‘em up to find a winner!
Diversity, Inclusion, Accessibility
It’s very subtle, but so simple: I applaud Deep Water Games for finding ways to ensure players see the importance of pronouns, diversity and accessibility in Floor Plan.
All 15 of the clients featured in Floor Plan have a picture, a name, pronouns, and an ask that might align with their imagined personal situation. One woman is looking for mobility scooter access, so she needs double doors wide enough to fit the scooter in her home. There are Asian clients. Black clients. A blind woman. Middle Eastern characters in traditional clothing. All of these figures are placed in a modern setting, standing outside of what look like houses under construction.
Whenever I hear people pining for ways to include more characters like this in games, I always ask, out loud, to no one in particular: are you kidding me? This is so easy, my friends. Just use your imagination. In the real world, all kinds of people need a house. So, Deep Water Games took the major, dramatic step of drawing them. Thanks to artist Dan Dougherty and Deep Water for your great work here!
Floor Plan is fun, and it offers a puzzle to get the brain warmed up for a heavy night. It can also be used to let players come down from a night of A Feast for Odin with a 20-to-30 minute game playing Tetris with the imaginary home of a future client.
That said, I have enjoyed my plays more than others. I’ve had a lot of “meh” and “it’s OK” comments, particularly from what I’ll call core and hardcore gamers. But casual gamers like the puzzle aspect more. For them this isn’t just filler material but something that could serve as the whole game night, especially for someone looking for something breezy before watching TV with their partner. Floor Plan, like most roll-and-write games, offers a solo high-score challenge option if you can’t find anyone to join you at the table.
Minor issues are apparent even from the first play. Building pools is a scoring option in almost every game, but the building sheets don’t call out how to build one. (The rules lay this out, but it’s strangely not on the legend.)
The game uses paper sheets; dry erase boards might be a better, more sustainable move. And maybe the most common complaint of all: the game seems to focus more on the ridiculous requests of clients to score than building an actual house; in at least 2 of my games, I had a house that had less than 4 rooms, and both of these houses didn’t even have a bathroom. Building a ridiculous house? Not nearly as important as drawing 3 pools bordering a tree, or a deck which sits adjacent to 3+ rooms.
Therefore, Floor Plan isn’t an all-time classic, and I have recently moved Floor Plan out of my collection; I never found a consistent audience for it. Other roll-and-write games such as Railroad Ink hit my table often, and Floor Plan never nudged Railroad Ink out of the way despite multiple plays.