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Board Game Mechanics: City Building Games

Posted Saturday, 19-Sep-2015

 An overview of some of our favorite City Building board games.

Contributed by Bruce Linsey

 

City planning is a challenging career that employs many brilliant and talented people in real life, so it’s no surprise that it’s the subject of quite a few challenging board games as well.

 

Metropolis

Perhaps the first city building game, certainly a pioneer of the genre, was Sid Sackson’s Metropolis. Players select properties in turn and try to make deals to place buildings onto the board.

 

Metropolis is now a very hard-to-find board game.
Metropolis is now a very hard-to-find board game.

 

Buildings in a particular block affect their neighbors’ values. Bargaining plays a large role in this venerable old classic.

 

Chinatown

Negotiating is taken to the extreme in the city building game ChinatownPlayers may bargain over anything: land, business tiles, money. Businesses are investments that can grow, and might or might not pay off.

 

Chinatown was a Spiel des Jahres recommended game.
Chinatown was a Spiel des Jahres recommended game.

 

She who makes the best deals, and plans most shrewdly, will prevail!

 

Big City

The city building game Big City is hard to find and expensive, but is
mentioned here because it includes the most beautiful bits of any game of this genre.

 

Big City is now an VERY hard-to-find board game.
Big City is now an VERY hard-to-find board game.

 

The buildings, parks and streetcars are gorgeous, so building this city is quite the aesthetically pleasing experience. And the game is loads of fun, too. There’s an unusual mechanism in which the City Hall must be built before any other special buildings, and everyone wants it in a place advantageous to herself.

 

The bits and pieces included with Big City are beautifully designed.
The bits and pieces included with Big City are beautifully designed.

 

Yet by itself it is worth nothing, so it can resemble a game of chicken before someone caves in and uses up a turn to construct it.

 

Suburbia

In Suburbia, as the name implies, playing are each building their own suburb to a city by placing hexagonal tiles into individual layouts.

 

Suburbia now has several expansions.
Suburbia now has several expansions.

 

Victory points are measured in population, but income and reputation are both critical to building an infrastructure to support and generate this population.

 

Photo credit: DiceyGlobin.com
Photo credit: DiceyGlobin.com

 

Hidden and public goals also offer each player a chance to boost his population, and are ignored at the player’s own peril.

 

Cities

Finally, in the city building game called Cities, players are once again building their own layout, this time trying to attract tourists.

 

Cities was released in 2008 by Z-Man Games.
Cities was released in 2008 by Z-Man Games.

 

Numbered tiles are drawn by a Master Builder; then everyone else finds the matching tile in his supply and places it. Then a tourist can be placed on one of the fields on the tile.

 

Photo Credit: DragonTalonGames.com
Photo Credit: DragonTalonGames.com

 

In this game, placement is paramount.

There are quite a few other city building games; these are just some of the best-known and most attractive of the lot.

 

What are some of your favorite city building games?

Published by BoardGamePrices.com



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