Dorfromantik is one of the most relaxing and refreshing city builders that I’ve come across.
Since games like Journey and Abzu hold a special place in my heart, I was immediately interested in Dorfromantik after seeing its gameplay trailer.
This game is a must-play for people who enjoy city builders but don’t necessarily want to fuss with long gameplay sessions and hardcore resource management at the end of a long day.
At the start of each new gameplay session, you get a tile stack with a limited number of hexagonal tiles.
Each tile has different landscape features adorning its edges, including fields, grasslands, houses, waterways, and railroads.
The goal in Dorfromantik is to try and get the highest score possible by placing tiles adjacent to one another.
You get extra points if you match the landscape features on the tile edges, and a perfect placement is when all your tile edges match, providing the most points.
Some tiles also give you quests to complete, like connecting an additional railroad or adding 20 more trees to a grove.
Completing these objectives rewards you with more tiles, meaning that the better your placement, the longer you get to play.
You can also get more tiles by fulfilling achievements, which reward you with unique tiles that add more sophistication to your growing landscape.
The game modes consist of Classic, Quick, Creative, Hard, and Monthly. In all the modes except Creative, you get one chance to undo a tile placement.
Quick mode is my favourite, as you only start with 25 tiles and are encouraged to play much more strategically.
However, as I tried to play the game ‘better’ by maximising the number of perfect placements, Dorfromantik slowly started to bring out the perfectionist in me.
Let the tiles fall where they may
In my experience with Dorfromantik, I found that balancing my perfectionistic tendencies with a more laid back approach of spontaneously placing tiles was the best way to play the game.
I transitioned from methodically trying to predict which tile placements will lead to a perfect placement to just relaxing into the process of building a lovely little picturesque town.
If you don’t care about increasing your score or completing achievements, there isn’t really anything to strive for in Dorfromantik.
The game’s tranquil soundtrack and short gameplay sessions are exactly what you can use to take a break from some mentally draining task.
It’s a game that teaches you the value of spontaneous action over twisting your brain into a knot because you are trying to control every outcome.