Dead & Breakfast
Build a mortifying motel, fill it with horrifying inhabitants, adorn its walls with voluptuous vines of poison ivy, and invite puzzled patrons in to meet their frightening finale.
But seriously, Dead & Breakfast is a tile-laying game about building a haunted hotel to perfectly horrify your guests and capitalize on their particular fears. Rodrigo Rego and Louis Durrant designed this game for 2-4 players age 6+ and it plays in under 45 minutes. Let’s see if it is terrible or truly terrifying(ly awesome).
Give each player a lobby tile. Arrange six rectangular tiles in a circle on the table, then put a ghost on one of the tiles. Also put out four guest tiles face-up; and if you’re playing with a Bonus tile, pick one at random and reveal it.
In Dead and Breakfast, players will be building a hotel that is five squares wide by five squares high, with the hotel lobby at the center bottom.
On their turn, players take one of the three Window tiles in front of the ghost and place it in their hotel. The tile must be oriented correctly, touch another tile, and fit within the 5×5 grid. Replace the Window tile and move the ghost forward to that spot.
A player may choose to take and play two Wall tiles instead. But they must still discard a Window tile from in front of the ghost, replace it, and move the ghost there.
Guests and Flowers
When a player finishes a “floor” (row), they take a face-up guest tile and put it over any window in the hotel. Then flip over a new guest tile for the supply. If finishing multiple rows at once, take one guest, place it in your hotel, then replenish the guests and choose again.
Each guest has a scoring condition indicated on their tile – a specific monster that scares them.
Each of the window tiles and guest tiles have flowers on them. One of the players’ main goals is to connect two colors of flowers (via ivy) to the hotel lobby.
Endgame and Scoring
Every player should finish their 5×5 hotel during the twelfth round.
Grab scoring tokens in each player’s color and track their points on the inside of the game box.
Get one point for each flower connected to your lobby by ivy – but only for the two colors indicated on the lobby tile. (Other flowers are worth nothing).
Check the guests in your hotel – each scores points based on the monster(s) they can see.
Finally, check the scoring on the Bonus tile.
Who has constructed the grandest, most ghoulish hotel?
I was pleasantly surprised at how approachable Dead and Breakfast is. The box says ages 6+ and I think that’s just right. Older kids will appreciate it more, but young kids won’t have trouble playing. The tile placement feels very much like Kingdomino. But Dead & Breakfast has tighter restrictions on how tiles can be placed, since the windows need to always be oriented the right way up.
Tile selection is where Dead and Breakfast feels different. Although there are always six tiles available, your may only choose from the three in front of the ghost. You’ll see tiles that are coming up for other players, knowing that you must wait to get them – if you ever can.
In addition, players are not allowed to “pass”, which our kids found frustrating. “I don’t want wall tiles!” was a common complaint.
In a two or three player game, this type of tile drafting allows a lot of strategy – even if you don’t particularly want any of the tiles available to you, you can make sure you block the next player(s) from getting what they want, too. But at four players, the constant cycling of window tiles and guests made it very hard to plan ahead. As a result, the game dragged as we waited for each player to analyze their choices.
Family Friendly Spooky Fun
Dead and Breakfast keeps its art light and just barely spooky, perfect for playing with kids of all ages. All the monsters look friendly instead of scary (although the guests are certainly terrified).
With no reading or complex math required, Dead and Breakfast lives up to its recommended age of 6+. It’s clear how to orient the chunky tiles and how their vines connect.
I’d skip the bonus tiles with younger kids, but our older kids found them a helpful addition to keep each game fresh.
As a parent, I love that Dead & Breakfast is also easy to put away. The tiles fit snugly back into the box, without any need for special inserts or baggies. We don’t have to worry about the box spilling open and pieces getting lost.
If your family is looking for a game that fits the spooky Halloween season without being too competitive, Dead & Breakfast might be a good fit – especially with younger children in the mix.
Ask for it at your friendly local game store and look for Braincrack Games.
The Family Gamers received a copy of Dead & Breakfast from Braincrack Games for this review.
Dead & Breakfast
Age Range: 6+
Number of Players: 2-4
Playtime: 30-45 minutes