Ooooh yea if you can be bothered actually noticing that little picture up there that pulls my top 10 from BGG, a little game called Quadropolis that’s taking Europe & the US by storm has hit it… at position 4. Rightfully so.
It’s freaken amazing.
Designed by François Gandon and beautifully produced and published by Days Of Wonder, the game has players creating cities as best they can with different kinds of buildings scoring in different ways. There are three games that will help players understand Quadropolis:
1. Elysium: currently holding position 3 in my top 10 XD
This has players draft cards from a shared pool with a unique drafting system of coloured columns, as soon as they draft, they’re restricted from what they can take. They’ve also immediately given away information about what they might be pursuing as far as strategy goes. Quadropolis has players draft buildings in a similar way. In the Classic game, each player has their own architects numbered 1 to 4, and they can take buildings from a shared tile offer. The restrictions are such that wherever you place your architect at the edge of the board, you take the tile x deep corresponding to the number used, so to take the first tile indicated, you use your no. 1 architect. To take a building 3 deep in the selection, you place your no. 3 architect against the appropriate row or column pointing to the one you want. At that point, an Urbanist pawn is placed where your building was, and the next player must not place their architect pointing at it, nor may they stack their architect on top of an existing one placed by a previous player, and so the restrictions increase through the round, with the Urbanist moving with each selection.
On top of that, the number of the architect used to draft the tile (or plan, if you wish), can only build the building (or place the tile ) in a corresponding zone as per their number - in the Classic game, that’s the corresponding row or column - if you used your no. 1 architect, that’s row or column 1, and so on. The Classic game has players build in a 4 x 4 grid.
2. Between Two Cities - aka semi-coop 7 Wonders - in which players draft city tiles to build 4x4 cites between players, collaboratively with each player on either side of them, and then individually score their highest city, with the other city breaking ties* - might sound a little confusing but it isn’t. Also the game is naff - honestly, it’s crap. Sorry if you like it. Yea no, not really - honestly, I would have kept my apology until Quadropolis because the latter kicks the living shit out of the former. For starters, the novelty of semi-cooperating in Between Two Cities is pointless. It also almost always pays narrow score groupings so there’s no sense of making stellar decisions and getting the jump on others. Anyway - both games have similar systems of scoring as far as building types go - residential buildings score in certain ways, parks score in certain ways, docks, shops, civic, industrial and commercial buildings, but without getting into it too much, Quadropolis just flattens Between Two Cities so hard I would have dead set just put it in the bin if I had it (never backed it, thank goodness). Quadropolis also has the Expert game that takes scoring to the next level which flattens Two Cities even more. Look - maybe Two Cities works as a filler I dunno. Chalk it up to me being an arrogant arsehole, plenty of people enjoy it and it’s fun but whatever, I’ll never play it again.
** 3. Among The Stars** - aka Spatial 7 Wonders In Space - in which you build a space station that required some components to be powered by energy cubes in order to score and combo. In Quadropolis, when you build apartments, they come with population meeples, and when you build factories, they come with energy. You want to allocate your people/meeples to buildings like those factories, docks and shops, and energy to things like apartment buildings, shops again and office blocks in order to score. You also want to balance it all on a knife-edge because any buildings not powered or staffed will be removed from your city before final scoring, meaning they won’t score themselves, nor will they be available for combo/adjacency scoring for other tiles. You’ll also be penalised -1VP for each excess person and energy cylinder you have unallocated, which in some games may not seem like much if you only cop a -2VP total penalty, but that can cost you the game. The good thing is, a powered shop can take up to 4 people in the Classic game, and parks can absorb 1 excess power each with the greenery being good for the environment as part of a greener city, so you’re not always in a jam with excess resources. Apartment buildings come with 1, 2 or 3 meeples, factories likewise come with 1, 2 or 3 energy, and docks can come with any combination of up to 2 of the same resource or one of each.
Bah - this is too long as it is. One more short note - you can stack residential apartment buildings and in the Expert game, commercial towers. This is done by drafting the 2nd level with a no. 2 architect, a 3rd level with a no. 3 architect and you get the idea.
The final word is you definitely don’t want to go for everything - that’s a sure way to get a flat score. If you focus and attempt to counter other players, you’ll have a better chance of chasing down scores and scoring well. Furthermore, if you don’t commit to filling every space, rather focusing on solid adjacency and verticality scoring, you have more opportunities to change strategy part-way into the game.
I am absolutely in love with this game - two games each of the Classic and Expert variants and I’m hooked. It’s deceptively simple but devilishly clever. It’s charming, thematic, swift yet still decently lateral. It also has one of the absolute best inserts ever in the history of games production - setup is a breeze, and you can half pack-up as you go.
One of the best things about this game is for people who want to math out tile distros, permutations, strats and summing opportunities (like myself and a bunch of my gaming friends), the game absolutely plays up to that - but you absolutely don’t have to play that way. You can have just as much fun just building your little city and doing the best you can to see what you create at the end and it’s just as enjoyable. It teaches in 10 minutes or less.
It also looks absolutely stunning.