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EXPANCITY

Reviewed by Herb Levy

EXPANCITY (Breaking Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, 60-90 minutes; $60)

 

Urban development is a theme explored more than once in the World of Games. The latest game to tackle this subject comes from designer Alex Cutler as players combine a bit of tile laying with structure building as they competitively expand their city in the appropriately named game: algebra helper source link viagra travel viagra for the brain cbs compare and contrast essay sample introduction essay birdie follow enter site http://snowdropfoundation.org/papers/do-my-hw-for-me/12/ apa format movie in text citation essay editing service follow link https://caberfaepeaks.com/school/helpme-123-essay/27/ term writing service viagra tierras nuevas poniente culture-free hypothesis source url follow go to site essay example paper https://childbirthsolutions.com/sildenafil/crestor-high-blood-pressure/20/ of mice and men critical essay thesis binding kuala lumpur research paper topics bipolar disorder https://www.nationalautismcenter.org/letter/writing-essay-for-college-application/26/ https://teleroo.com/pharm/seduced-boys-viagra/67/ see the balkans the terror of culture essays in political anthropology doctoral thesis in education who can i pay to do my essay berodual prezzo https://medpsychmd.com/nurse/best-generic-viagra-site/63/ Expancity.

In Expancity, each player begins with a supply of building blocks in their chosen color (6 as a starting supply, the rest in reserve) and a hand of two tiles. There are three types of tiles in the game: green (for residential buildings), blue (for commercial buildings) and modifiers (which will impact the value of residential and commercial structures).  These tiles are mixed into a bag and all players draw 2. The six end game scoring cards are mixed (Tallest Building, Most Commercial Buildings, Most Residential Buildings etc.) and three randomly picked. (The rest are returned to the box). The city hall tile is placed in the center of the play area and play begins. 

On a turn, a player must place one of his tiles to grow the burgeoning city. A tile matches everything and must be situated horizontally or vertically to an already placed tile. (No diagonal placement.) Then, a player does 3 actions from a menu of 2 possibilities: place a block (onto a tile OR an already placed block) OR draw a tile from the reserve into supply. 

Blocks may be placed on green or blue tiles. Once a block is placed, that tile “belongs” to that player; no “sharing” or “hijacking” of a tile or building is permitted.  On subsequent turns, additional blocks may be placed atop already placed tiles making them bigger but there are rules to be followed here.

Residential buildings may be no more than 3 stories tall; commercial buildings must be at least 4 stories tall and have no height limitations. Also, you may NOT place more than one block on a building per turn. Once a building meets these requirements, that building may be “finished” and scored.

Buildings are finished by placing a roof on them. (A flat roof for residential, a peaked roof – either of the two types available – for commercial.) However, a finished building can be no taller than 1 story higher than the highest building you have already completed! (So, no construction of a 6 story commercial building is allowed until you have at least one 5 story building completed.) Completed buildings immediately score.

Each story is worth 1 point plus any modifiers adjacent to that building. Modifier tiles are landmarks of the city (library, park, hospital, police station etc.) and display plus or minus values for residential and commercial buildings built next to them. Empty green or blue lots (“urban blight”) are valued at a MINUS 1 modifier too. These scores are tracked on the scoreboard. Completing a building earns you another benefit: contracts. 

When completing a building, a player draws 2 contracts and keeps one.  These contracts show a “condition” (such as having six residential buildings in a 3 x 3 area or having a building constructed next to a library or having 3 residential buildings in a line etc.) that, if met, converts into the stated victory points at once! This add a spatial aspect to play which gives you additional goals to shoot for (a good thing) but might put off players who shy away from spatial challenges. 

Play continues until ALL tiles have been played. To points already earned, players check to see who has completed the three end game victory points conditions (each worth 12 points). These are added to the players meeting those conditions. (Tie? Then points are evenly divided.) The player with the highest total score wins!

The blocks used in this game are of good quality, colorful and pleasing to the touch. The tiles of the game, however, are fairly basic. Icons used on them (to differentiate various city locations) are easy to understand but printed small. Although the game does claim some space as all tiles must be played, slightly bigger and thicker tiles with larger icons would have been a nice touch. Speaking of tiles, all of them are supposed to go into the game’s bag from which they are drawn from turn to turn. The bag supplied with the game is surprisingly small making “shuffling” tiles, especially in the beginning stages of play, more difficult that necessary. We suggest commandeering a larger bag from one of the other games you probably have on your gaming shelf to eliminate the problem. 

Expancity comfortably fits into the city building category. Its Lego-like building blocks (that fit together snugly) will remind some of other games using the building block construction technique including Manhattan (Winter 1997 Gamers Alliance Report) and Big Boss (Summer 2009 GA Report). The game shares with those a real feeling of accomplishment as the city grows and skyscrapers are constructed. And the game looks good with its towering structures.

Unlike many tile laying games of this genre that overwhelm play with multiple modifiers and exceptions, modifier use here is streamlined and easy to calculate making the game flow smoothly. Expancity offers both strategic and tactical considerations to keep players – even more serious gamers – involved and interested as long as they don’t mind the luck factor here (due to tile and contract draws) and are able to shift gears, when necessary, to meet scoring objectives. Because this game doesn’t have the cutthroat competition for control of stacks of blocks that others have, Expancity works well for family game play too! – – – – – – – – – – – – – Herb Levy


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