Building cities in games and just building games in general have always been something that I loved. Whether it be creating a sprawling metropolis in video games like Sim City or Cities Skylines, or constructing Casinos in the board game Hotel Tycoon. There is just something I find really enjoyable about them – even if I tend to lose at the latter.
I was therefore thoroughly looking forward to playing Quadropolis – the new competitive city building game from Days of Wonder.
The game is simple enough in design and easy to pick up. But you’re going to need to plan and think ahead in order to really maximise your Victory Points.
In the classic mode there are four rounds of play, each round has four turns for each player. To set up a round you take all the cards numbered 1 – excluding the ‘expert mode’ cards and place them in the bag, shuffle them around and then start to lay them out on the mat face down going from top left to bottom right until the board is full. If you’re playing with four players you can leave all the tiles, but if you’re playing with less you will notice that some of the tiles have extra numbers on them, these indicate what tiles to use based on how many players you’re playing with. So if you have two people playing remove all the tiles with the 4 and 3-4 on them. Now flip all the tiles over so you can see what buildings they are.
Each player will have their own City card (player mat) and this is where you will want to build your buildings – check the scoring card to try and plan how you want to lay your city out too. Every player also has four architects – numbered 1-4, to play. These represent the four turns you will take during the round. To play an architect you can pick any one of them and place them next to the board, you will then take the building that is occupying the space relating to the number of the architect tile. E.G. if I played the architect tile with a 3 on it I would then take the building tile that is three spaces in from where I place the architect – you can place an architect on any of the four sides of the board.
Each building rewards you with either energy, people or victory points. You will need to collect these to then be able to activate the buildings later down the line as only activated buildings will score you points. The value you gain from collecting the building is displayed in the top left of the tile and the value to activate is in the bottom right.
Every building has a different way of scoring you points. Apartments can be stacked on top of each other and the more you have the more you score. If you surround your parks with apartment buildings you will gain extra points. It’s essential to plan how you want to lay out you city in order to maximise your score. It might take you a few turns to grasp it, but you will pick it up eventually and start to see the error of your previous ways. What I like is that there are a lot of ways to plan your city – a lot more than you may realise at first. I initially thought that it seemed fairly shallow in terms of strategy, but soon realised that it was a lot deeper than I’d first thought. Sure it isn’t the most in depth game, but I think it does strike a good balance.
Quadropolis is fairly simple in design, pretty much all the components are cardboard but they still look good and have really nice colourful artwork on them, the whole game has a really nice charm to it. The cardboard tiles feel good quality the only parts that feel flimsy are the player mats. One thing that I do really like is that everything fits nicely in to the box; nothing is left floating around to get damaged. There is also a good tip included and that’s to keep all the cardboard frames and pop them underneath the plastic containers, this keeps the box ‘full’, so that if you keep it on its side, nothing falls out!
Personally I think Quadropolis is a great gateway game, it feels accessible for people who may not be so interested in playing board games, but interesting enough to keep the more hard core involved. I don’t know whether it’s going to be featuring as a regular for hard core groups, but I do think it would be a good game to play when you want a bit of a change or a more casual session and I can see my group bringing it out fairly regularly.
For an extra challenge and a little more play time you can try out the expert mode. It mostly works in the same way apart from there being five rounds instead of four. You also use the other side of your player mat – this has an extra district on it to cater for the extra turns.
The way that the architects are played is slightly changed also. There are now a total of five for each player, but they are essentially all put in to one ‘pot’. Each player can then play any architect they wish from that pot during their turn – this means in you could play two architects that are numbered one – as long as the opposing players haven’t already used them.
There are also a few additional buildings added to the game – simply replace any that have classic written on them with the expert ones.
It’s a nice addition to the game and will keep you playing for that little bit longer.
Find your nearest store to grab your copy of Quadropolis!