Being a mayor is hard. On the one hand, ULTIMATE POWER! On the other, there are those pesky election promises to grow your little township into the largest city in the region. Considering your holdings comprise a single wheat field and a bakery, you’ve got your work cut out for you.

Machi Koro is a streamlined award-winning city-building card game from designer Masao Suganuma. In it, you’ll attempt to take your tiny township from a wheat field and a bakery to a thriving metropolis complete with four major landmarks – a train station, shopping mall, amusement park and radio tower.

Suganuma has distilled the city building down to its core simplicity. During a player’s turn, they roll one or more dice triggering the effects of establishment cards which match the die roll. Machi Koro’s strategy comes from the establishments that players choose to build within their cities.

Investing resources into primary industries like wheat fields gives smaller payouts but trigger outside your turn. Meanwhile, secondary industries like Cafes and Bakeries trigger on opponents turns and let you take their cash. Balancing the ways your city can earn money while also ensuring you get huge payouts is an essential part of the Machi Koro experience.

There’s more than one way to build a city. The effects of multiple copies of the same building stack, so players must decide between a city that continuously generates small amounts of resources or gamble on a single massive payoff. On top of this, establishments often have synergistic effects encouraging players opponents. If this sounds daunting, it isn’t. Machi Koro thoughtfully puts all the rules text on the cards themselves, minimising the need to go flipping through rulebooks for obscure rules interpretations.

As a simple, city-building title, Machi Koro is a modern classic that deserves a place in every gamer’s library. Playable in half an hour, the board game is a friendly, approachable title, perfect for a quick filler round and an ideal gateway title for players new to board games and is a welcome title on any shelf.

– Kenneth, Games@PI Manager

pictures copyright Pandasaurus LLC