I have recently been on a bit of a binge of City Building games, from the somewhat disappointing Machi Koro to the more fully realized Dice City, to the ultra light Flip City. And here is the newest one in my collection, one of my international tabletop day purchases: Quadropolis.
A days of wonder game, Quadropolis is beautiful with mostly incredibly nice components. The game is mostly composed of tiles, all of which are nice and thick and make a satisfying thump on the table. One of the game boards is of similar material, but the player boards are disappointingly thin for a game with otherwise excellent pieces. The game also uses a bag shaking shuffle, which is great, but the bag isn’t really big enough so you still need to pre-shuffle the tiles before each of the 4 to 5 rounds.
Those are the negatives.
Now on to the game. I’ll start with the “classic” style. There is an expert mode that changes the rules and the distribution of the tiles.
Adjacency is orthogonal. This took me a while to find in the rules.
This is a two to 4 player game, where each player takes the role of the mayor of one of four cities. The main board is 5 by 5 and it starts off covered in the round’s selection of tiles. Each type of tile provides resources (energy and people) and is scored in different ways depending on the type of building. In order to score a tile, it must be activated by having specific resources attached to it. You are allowed to move resources around until the end of the game. Each player selects and builds one piece at a time by placing one of their numbered architects alongside the board along either side or the top and the bottom, and counting in that number of spaces. They take that tile and put the Building Manager pawn on the newly empty square. The manager’s role is to limit selections available to the players. You then play that tile on your board in a row or column corresponding to the architect’s number you used (or for towers, on top of a previously played tower, with a number of pieces 1 smaller than your architect number)
You can not place an architect on top of another architect, nor can you play them so they point at the current building manager’s space. That means as each player puts out tiles there are shifting spaces you can’t use.
Once each player has used all 4 of their architects, the round ends, all of the unused tiles are returned to the (excellent) box insert and the next round’s tiles are placed on the board.
In the 2-3 player game, there are tiles on the board that are unavailable, but they stay on the board to fill out all of the spaces. (all of a given round’s tiles get placed on the board in their round.)
At the end of the game, the players make sure all of their resources are assigned to the right tiles in their city, and then score their tiles. If a tile doesn’t have the resources on it that are needed to activate it, it is removed before the scoring phase. Towers are scored based on their height, parks are scored based on how many towers are adjacent to them. Stores are scored based on how many customers are played on them. Factories are scored based on their adjacency to stores and harbors. Harbors are scored based on how many you have in a row. Civil Services are scored based on how many of the zones of your city they exist in. Some buildings, instead of providing resources, provide victory points at the end of the game. Any resources you aren’t using count against your final score.
I played a 2 player game against myself with two different strategies (one was residential and commercial, the other was industrial. In the end, my scores, for very different city strategies were only a point apart.
This one was fun even playing alone, though on the box it claims to not support solo play.
I suspect a robot would be easy to design for a true solo game.
Oh gods, the insert! The insert is beautiful, all of the pieces fit in a specific place, and are organized so that you can deploy them quickly during each round.
The expert game has shared architect tiles, and more of them, additional tile types, and a different layout for the player boards. Oh and an extra round of play and more complicated scoring.