Sunday, April 19, 2015

Review (Games) - Machi Koro

Yeah, it's simple. Yeah, it's cute. Yeah, it's great.
Name: Machi Koro
Publisher: IDW Games
Publishing Year: 2012
Designer: Masao Suganuma
Play Time: ~30 minutes
Recommended Age: 9+
Cost: $29.99

-Really light rules.
-Short playtime.
-High luck factor with a dash of strategy.
-Really cute artwork.

-Base game has extremely low replayability and variability.
-Box is really hard to open up. Grrrr...

Verdict (Highly Recommended for All) - Machi Koro is a very simple gateway game accessible to all. I like to think this similar to Settlers of Catan that's been compressed and stripped of that awful trading component. It's length can be compared to microgames, but it packs a bit more punch than most microgames. This definitely has a home on my shelves, as a gateway game and filler.

Machi Koro is a light filler game with a surprise dash of strategy. You're the mayor of a small town and your job is to turn it into the largest, busiest city in the area. The goal of the game is to be the first person to construct 4 landmarks. Each player starts off with the same buildings and from there, you will collect money from your buildings to fuel additional purchases. On a player's turn, they will roll a dice to see what buildings will produce income (hey, doesn't that sound like Settlers?). Each building has a number on the top of them and if the dice matches that number, that building's effect triggers. Most of them only activate on your turn, but sometimes, they might trigger on an opponent's turn. Most of the time, you will collect income from the effects of the building. After that, you have an opportunity to purchase another building or to construct a landmark. Turn passes to the next player and it repeats until one person finishes all 4 landmarks.

Game Components
I have to say, before anything, the artwork REALLY appeals to me. It has this very cutesy look to it and it gives it a very cheerful feel (even as you steal other player's hard earned cash).
I'm a sucker for cute.

The cards your industry standard, slightly thicker than Dominion cards (which means it's slightly on the thinner side). However, with very little shuffling, the cards are not likely to wear out in this game. The dice are pretty standard, but they have a very solid coloring to them.
The box design is pretty roomy with plenty of space for future expansions.

The box is really sturdy, especially for a game as small as this. I would be impressed if it wasn't for the gosh darn tightness of the box. The top of the box has a perfect fit over the bottom half. The friction of the gloss between the bottom and the lid makes it very hard to pull off. The game components are really light too, so I can't bounce it around and let gravity help. And because of the perfect fit, I can't wedge my fingers in between them without bending the box out of shape. Small gripe, but arghhhh.

I have heard that the base game is slightly broken. Because all the cards are available at the start, there supposedly is an optimal build route that makes the game turn into a "who's dice is more lucky" game. I have not yet encountered this yet, but I still haven't really figured the game out. The expansions fixes this by mixing up the cards and constantly giving you a different set of cards to use each time around. And because the same cards are always out, there's no variability to the game.

Even then, I still recommend this game. It's a light filler game, but there's always that important decision, do I spread out my buildings so all the numbers are covered, or do I hedge it all together in 1 big roll. It's great for introducing people into the hobby world too, given how rules light it is. And for the price, if you get it online for $19.99 or so, it's a great value. Get this.

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