Welcome To… Board Game is one of the hottest “roll-n-write” games on the scene since it’s debut in 2018. Learning how to play Welcome To is a bit of an adjustment but very doable. This genre was put on the map by Yahtzee and describes the idea that everyone gets their own score sheet, then something happens each turn that makes each player take an action and markdown a score choice on their sheet. Welcome To doesn’t even involve dice. You can play with 1 – 100 people (you read that right) and games last about 25 minutes. This is our guide to how to play Welcome To.
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HOW TO PLAY WELCOME TO – WHAT IS IT?
Each game, each person playing gets a sheet that represents their city. It has three rows of streets with empty houses, scoring areas and little places for things like pools and parks.
Each turn you get to choose from one of three numbers and action pairings and this will let you do something to your town. Different actions get you different score bonuses and at the end of the game, the person with the most points win. Once you understand what the cards do and how to use them, the game is incredibly simple. Understanding that numbers go in order but numbers can be skipped is another difficult aspect of learning how to play Welcome To, but no need to worry.
HOW TO PLAY WELCOME TO – GAMEPLAY
First things first for this how to play Welcom To guide, name your town. There is a little box in the top corner for you to put your name. This is where the title came from. Welcome To [your name here] is not as good of a name.
Now let’s talk about how turns work. Everyone goes at the same time, there is no turn-taking. Each round, three cards are flipped that determine 3x house number + action pairings. You get to choose one of these three to add to your city. Everyone has the exact same city template to start, but as decisions are made cities become very different. The number is something you put in an empty house and the action is something else that helps make your city better. Some times they are tied, like with the pool action the pool has to be in the same house. And sometimes they are not tied, like the fence can go anywhere in the city.
Next, it is just about knowing what the cards do and how to use them. Lets start with the 6 action cards. Each turn you are going to get one of these paired with a house number ranging from 1 – 15. You only get to use one pairing and all players are working off the same cards.
POOL – This is the blue pool looking card. It lets you add a pool into a residence you are making. Pools are big bonus points, the more you acquire in a game the more points you get. There are spaces with designated pool icons on the city sheet, these are the only places you can build pools, they are limited. Whenever you get one you mark off one of the boxes in the bottom pool scoring section and you get the points next to the last marked off spot. The pool has to go with the number and only be in that house space. It is easy at first but as you fill in more numbers, it gets harder. You can put a number in a space with a pool without playing a pool, you just don’t get the bonus for it. Not something you want to do, but as space options get less and less, you will have to. When learning how to play Welcome To, this is always the most popular action.
PARK – This is the green leafy looking card. This is very similar to the pool in that it is about building up big bonus points and the more you get, the higher your overall point total will be at the end. This is tied to the number it is with, but not as strong as the pool. Wherever you put your house, that row (of the available 3) gets a park. There are circles above the left side o each row. Every time you get a park in a row, you mark off the leftmost circle. At the end, you get points for that row equal to the left-most unmarked spot. You can still use numbers in a row even if you have maxed out on your parks for a row, you just don’t get any more bonus points.
FENCE – This is the white fence looking card and probably the most important action of the 6 options. You need fences to create neighborhoods. A neighborhood is a grouping of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 houses together. You need neighborhoods to win objectives, which we will get into, and you get bonus points at the end of how many of each completed neighborhood you have. A completed neighborhood has a number in every house and a fence on both sides. The fence is a line that you draw anywhere on the board to create one of these walls. See the dotted lines in between each house, you fill that line in and that creates a fence. The far ends of each street row are automatic fences. The number you get and fence don’t have to go together, you can put your number down and then you can put your fence anywhere.
REAL ESTATE – This is the purple money and arrow looking card. This is a very strategic thinking about the end card. At the end of the game, you get a specific amount of bonus points for each completed neighborhood. What this card does is make certain neighborhoods worth more. The points are grouped by how big the neighborhood is, there is a certain amount of points for neighborhoods of size 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6. This lets you make one of those worth more for you. For example, you get the card and you decide “I am going to make neighborhoods of 3 worth more” so then you tick the top box in the real estate scoring section then instead of each being worth 3 pts, they are worth 4 pts. So at the end of the game if you have 2x 3 neighborhoods you get 8 points instead of 6.
TEMP WORKER – This is the orange construction fence looking card. This is the simplest card and very useful towards the end of the game when you are running out of number options. The main function of this card is it lets you change the house number it is paired with by up to two in either direction. So a “13” for example could be an 11, 12, 13, 14 or 15. The secondary part of this is there is a section for these in the bottom score area. Every time you use one, mark one-off. At the end of the game, whoever had the most gets 7, second-most gets 4 and third most gets 1.
BIS – This is the red mailbox looking card and by far the most confusing. This is named after a French real estate term. You know how you see a house that has an address like 311 Armory and then next two it there is another house further back that is kinda on the same property and has the address 311B Armory? That is basically what this does. It lets you take an existing property and double it up to a second property to the left or right of it. This is helpful if you are trying to fill out a neighborhood faster, or you are in a tough spot where you haven’t given yourself good number options on an open space you need to fill in. The only rule is you can’t hop over a fence, so if there is a fence to the left of a property, you couldn’t add the BIS to the left of a property going over a fence. This action is not tied to the house number you get for the turn, you get to put the house number anywhere as usual, then you can Bis any property on the board. If you can understand this you will have no problems with how to play Welcome To.
Paired with each action card is a house number 1 – 15. Placing the house numbers is pretty straight forward. You have to put down one each turn. The only major thing to keep in mind is that numbers need to go in numeric order. They do not have to be exactly in order (a “9” could come after a “7”, skipping “8”) but if there is a number somewhere, there cannot be any lower number to the right or higher number to the left.
So if you get a “15” you are going to want to put it to the far right of a street, or a “1” at the far left or a “7” or “8” somewhere in the middle. Each row is its own street with its own numbers and is separate. This may be confusing and seem pointless, especially at the beginning, but as the game goes on and you run out of spaces, you have to make moves to give yourself the most options for future turns.
To spice things up and give you purpose, each game starts with three “objective cards”. These have goals where the first person who claims it gets a big point total (left number on the bottom) and anyone else who accomplishes it by the end of the game also gets points but less (right number on the bottom). They usually have to do with neighborhoods, like getting 3x 3 house neighborhoods or a 1, 2x 2s and a 5 for example. You cannot use a neighborhood for more than one objective. You grab one from the “#1” pie, one from the “#2” pile and one from the “#3” pile for each game. The points correspond to the first box in the scoring panel on the bottom of your sheet.
HOW TO PLAY WELCOME TO – GAME ENDING
The game ends when one of three things happen – (1) Someone fills every home in their neighborhood with a number, (2) Someone completes all three objectives or (3) someone gets three strikes. A strike is taken each time you cannot play any of the three pairing options for the team.
Strikes come with negative points. In the far right bottom of the score sheet, there are three boxes, mark each one every time you get a strike. The negative point total is the points marked next to the open number. Getting all three will get you -5 points for example.
When something happens that triggers the game end, everyone finishes up that current turn and then you move to scoring. On the bottom of the sheet there are different boxes for each score, let’s go one by one.
OBJECTIVES – The first section has three circles with a “n1” “n2” and “n3” next to them. These correspond to the objective cards. If you are the first one to get an objective, write the higher total in the corresponding circle for that number. Say you are not first but you still got it, write the lower total in the box. If you didn’t get it, write a “0”. Add those three totals up and this gives you your first point box.
PARKS – This has to do with how many parks you got during the game. Each of the three circles corresponds to each street. For example, if on the top street, you got 3 parks, that would give you the max of 10 points, where if you just got 1 park, you would get only 2 points. As you move down, there are more parks to get but the points you win if you max them out get higher. A full bottom, for example, gets you 18 points. Take your total for each of the three rows, put those totals into the three park boxes, then add them up to get your total for this section.
POOLS – This is another the more you get the higher your points are. Every time you successfully put in a pool anywhere on the board, you check off the box with the lowest number in the scoring section. At the end, whatever the lowest number not covered, that is your total. So for example, if you had gotten 3 pools you would get 9 points, where if you got all 9 (very tough) you would get 36 points. You take that number and it is your total.
TEMP WORKERS – At the end of the game, everyone compares their total of how many of these each person used. Whoever has the most takes 7 points, second gets 4 and third gets 1 point. Anyone after that gets nothing, though ties result in all those players getting the point. So if two players used seven and then another used five, the two seven players get 7 points and the five player gets 4 points.
NEIGHBORHOODS – This can get a little confusing but as long as you take it slow and first determine two numbers, how many of a neighborhood of a type you have and how much each is worth and then do the math, it should be smooth sailing. There are little dotted lines above each little circle, start by counting each neighborhood you have and writing that there. Then multiple that number by the point total above it. Remember those real estate action cards, if you ever used one, this is where it comes in handy. That overall point total for that type of neighborhood is then worth more.
BIS – This is a negative that kind of works the same as pools. Every time you use a BIS action card, you check off the box with the lowest number showing and your final total is whatever the lowest number not marked off. People tend to stay away from these when learning how to play Welcome To because of their negative points, but they can be extremely helpful and are negative for a reason.
STRIKES – This is also a negative. If you ever in a position where you can’t play any of the options, you have to take a strike. Every time you mark off one of the boxes in this row and at the end you take the negative points for whatever is the total next to the last marketed off space.
From here you add/subtract everything together and get your final point total. Whoever has the highest point total at the end of this wins the game.
HOW TO PLAY WELCOME TO – IMPORTANT THINGS TO NOTE
If your stacks run out, reshuffle the used cards to replenish the three stacks. Wait until the absolute end so there is the right mix of the 6 action cards.
If you look at the top corner of the number cards that are facing up, you will see a little symbol of an action card. This is the action coming next. You will always be able to see what actions are next to help with planning, just not the number it will be paired with.
There is one item on your city sheet that is not part of the actual base came. This is the “roundabout” square. This lets you turn any house into a space that creates automatic fences on both sides and lets you start over the number count. In the bottom corner of your sheet, there are two spaces with a little star next to them. This is an additional rule and should not be attempted when trying out the game for the first time.
My best score ever was a 128 and my worst score ever was 64 if that tells you anything.
HOW TO PLAY WELCOME TO – IN CLOSING
I hope now you can say you have mastered How To Play Welcome To Board Game. This game is addicting and it is perfect for on the go. The fact that you could have a quick and fun game in around 20 minutes is rare.