Décorum Review

Décorum

Year: 2022 | Players: 2-4 | Minutes: 30+ | Ages: 13+

This Décorum review was made after playing through all of the two-player scenarios. We were sent a copy of this game by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


What is Décorum?

Décorum is a cooperative limited communication deduction game in which you and your teammate(s) attempt to decorate your new home without knowing exactly what makes each person happy.

This game was designed by Charlie MackinHarry Mackin, and Drew Tenenbaum. It’s published by Floodgate Games.


Décorum Rules Overview

Décorum review - setup for two players

Your goal in Décorum is to fulfill all of the conditions on each player’s card, but you have to do it while only knowing the conditions on your own card. Thematically, you’re attempting to decorate your new home in a way that makes everyone happy.

The two-player game has a 20-scenario campaign, while the 3/4-player game has 10 standalone scenarios. I’ll focus on the two-player rules here since it’s the main way to play (and the only way I’ve played it), but there aren’t many rules changes with more players.

Each scenario has a setup card and condition cards for each player. The setup card gives you the initial setup of the house board and the condition cards give each player 3-5 conditions that need to be met to complete the scenario.

There are three types of objects that you use to decorate your house: wall hangings, lamps, and curios. Those objects come in four styles: modern, antique, retro, and unusual. You also paint each room in one of four colors.

Each round, players take one action apiece and then you advance to the next round. On your turn, you can add an object to a room, remove an object, swap one object for an object of the same type, paint a room (swapping the color), or pass.

After a player takes an action, their partner(s) will have a chance to react. They can have a positive response, a negative response, or a neutral/indifferent response. The response can be anything, but it can’t reveal anything about the conditions on your card.

In the two-player game, you’ll have a “Heart-to-Heart” after rounds 15, 20, and 25, flipping one of your three heart tokens to show it’s been used. You can also choose to do your first Heart-to-Heart early if you want to. During a Heart-to-Heart, one player reveals one of the conditions on their card, giving their teammate valuable information.

You’ll beat a scenario if all of the conditions on the players’ cards are met before you finish the 30th round. You’ll always move on to the next scenario regardless of whether you win or lose. There’s also an optional scoring system to track how well you did.

Take a look at the Décorum rulebook for more info about the game and the rules changes for the 3/4 player game.

Décorum review - secret components


Check out our Top 10 Family Games!


Décorum – Pros and Cons

Pros

  • What I like most about Décorum is that it gives you a unique way to communicate with and read your teammates. Other games have similar limited communication and deduction elements in them, but this feels different. You look at the changes your teammates make to the house, react, and then try to “communicate” with your next move. It’s very satisfying when you’re able to figure out how to read each other in this game.
  • The difficulty ramps up nicely as you play through the two-player scenarios. That was a great thing for us because it took us a few games to get a feel for how the other person was going to play. Plus, I like that the toughest scenarios feel nearly impossible, but they do have solutions that work.
  • The Heart-to-Heart catch-up mechanism works well, especially when you’re playing the more difficult scenarios.
  • There are a couple of cool surprises as you move through the two-player campaign. We thought the second surprise was especially awesome.
  • I like that each scenario has quick backstories for the characters. It’s not a lot of information, but it’s enough to help you role-play a bit.
  • I also like that there are different images on the object tiles. It helps to give each room a slightly different look.
  • There’s no need to worry about quarterbacking here. It’s against the rules!
  • There’s a great Quickstart Guide in the box to help you get started right away.
  • The Décorum app works well. You can play through one new two-player scenario per day, which gives the game more replay value.

Cons

  • I think the curios should have had a more distinctive shape to help differentiate them from the lamps.
  • The downside of the Décorum app is that you can currently only play one scenario per day. This is a borderline filler game, so I think it’d be better if they gave players two or more to play per day.
  • I don’t think the scoring system was necessary. In my experience, at the end of each game, all you care about is whether you won or lost.

Décorum – Final Thoughts

I can’t tell you how good Décorum is as a 3/4 player game (I’ve heard it’s not quite as good), but I can say that it is a very solid two-player cooperative game. I’m a fan of two-player games that give us unique ways to cooperate, like Fog of Love and Sky Team, and Décorum is another one to add to that list. It did start to feel a bit samey to me after six or so games, but I still had a good time playing through the two-player campaign.

I should point out that our experience seemed to be a bit different than other people’s. I’ve heard that most people have gotten frustrated with their teammates while playing this game, but that never happened to us. We just laughed every time there was a misunderstanding, but I can see how that could frustrate some players.

If you like cooperative puzzle games and/or you like the idea of trying to cooperatively decorate a house with communication limits, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy playing Décorum.

Décorum isn’t my favorite two-player cooperative game (the theme isn’t that interesting to me), but it’s definitely good enough and different enough to stay on my shelf.


Décorum Links

BGG | Amazon | Miniature Market


 

Thanks for taking the time to read our Décorum review!

Be sure to also take a look at our Best Cooperative Board Games list and the other board game rankings.

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