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Saturday, December 19, 2015

Mayored to the Mob

Today we returned to the awesome Redemption Alewerks for two of the people's breakfast poutines and delicious Brugge Crantastico's to play Machi Koro.  The brunch menu at Redemption Alewerks is strongly recommended!  We arrived at the opening time at 11:00, and they had very nice classic Christmas music playing, but after about an hour or so when more people arrived, the Christmas music was unfortunately replaced by hip-hop and No Doubt.  In the game of Machi Koro, you've just been elected the mayor of a small town that you are trying to build up into the largest city possible.  In the beginning, your town consists of a wheat field, a bakery, and a single die so it will undoubtably be a phenomenal feet to accomplish in order to fulfill the demands, and please the citizens of Machi Koro.
Machi Koro is a fast paced, city building, dice rolling, card game for 2 - 4 players.  Throughout your process, you collect income from developments, build public works, and steal from your neighbors' coffers.  Players take turns in clockwise order, which consists of three phases: 1) Roll Dice, 2) Earn Income, 3) Construction.  The player to construct all four of their landmarks first wins the game!  When you roll dice, you begin the game by rolling a single die.  Once a player has built a train station, you may roll one or two dice on their turn.  When earning income, this is based on the dice roll and the effects of the Establishments that they own that match the dice roll.  If a player owns multiple copies of a single establishment, the effects are multiplied by the number of establishments of that type owned.  As an example, the shopping mall landmark affects each card, so a player owning multiple copies of the bakery would see each copy of that card earn a +1 income.  If a player owes another player money and cannot afford to pay it, they pay what they can, and the rest is exempted (a player's coin total can never go below zero), the receiving player is not compensated for the lost income.  To conclude a player's turn, he or she may pay to construct one single establishment or pay to finish construction on a single landmark by paying the cost shown on the card.  Players may construct multiple copies of all other establishment types. 
The game ends when one player completes all four of their landmarks first.  This has been a good game and Claire and I have played Machi Koro so many times and executed lots of different strategies that have significantly changed the outcome!  The popularity of Machi Koro has spread like wild fire across many gamer's tables!  The lighthearted game carries a fun, cute, little Japanese theme with playful artwork, and numerous options of strategic planning for earning income, and building establishments to increase the size of your city.  The game by itself is already a really good game!  However, the Harbor and Millionaires Row expansions significantly increase the execution and style of gameplay.  In a way, you could argue that they add mechanics to the base game almost the way it was truly meant to be played from the beginning.  I say that because there's a broken mechanic in this game.  If you purchase the vast majority of the bakery cards, and build the shopping mall first thing, you substantially increase your chances at victory and completing the game in half of the time.  We've played this game many times and three times today.  You're still at the mercy of the dice rolls, but your probability of rolling a 2 or a 3 is vastly increased and doubling your income only makes the game end much quicker.  Even when we don't purchase many bakery's, we still end up getting through the game before we even get a chance at buying any of the other cards.  You essentially have to try to go slower in order for the game to last longer.  We've played this game with 2 players and also 4 players. We definitely recommend 4 players to have the game drawn out longer.  As I mentioned before though, the base game is still a really good game and if you're new to Machi Koro, there is no problem starting with the base game.  I still really enjoy playing the base game by itself.  It is a marvelous, fun, and an excellent quality game!  There is not a lot to it, it's easy to teach, it plays in 30 minutes, and if you can break it, much less time than that.

Machi Koro 
Overall Meeple Rating: 7/10


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