November 8, 2011
Three today. Chris, Timm and myself. On Sunday, I decided to set up and work on learning my newest game, Urban Sprawl. I had been waiting for this one since I first heard about it before it was P500'ed (is that a word? ). So, I had the huge board set up and everything ready to play on Tuesday. I just needed the players.
I had went through the rules once, slowly, on Tuesday. I understood that game so when I started explaining it was getting right through it. The rules are well done, I thought. It took us a little time to go through as there is a lot (but really, not an overly hard game to learn). We got started and things moved slowly as we refered to the rule book, and frankly, the uncertainity of what to do to win the game. Yes, most points, but how do you do it. Chris, very early in the game, took points over money (which would do him well). The mistake with Timm and I is that we did not keep up nor did we try to stop him.
The game is a city building game. You get permits to build contracts and build somewhere on the city grid. Depending on the contract (building) was the size of the building you could build (and where you could build it). The buildings usually had some kind of benefit for the building or players in the game. Every turn, you were moving along the point track or collecting money. I screwed up and shuffled a deck that I should not have shuffled. This made the game go on an hour longer than it should have (and I'm sure the scores reflect it). You draft contracts and permits by using action points. As the game moves along, the lots become more expensive, the town turns into a city then a metropolis. There are event cards that come up in both the permit and contract deck that usually have some sort of payout. Money isn't very tight, thankfully, you can go from broke to flush in the matter of a turn or two. Many people say it's chaotic, and I have to agree. But, I think after the first game when you know what cards there are and how the game is played, you know how to manage the chaos. (personally, I enjoy that). I also think the game starts becoming cutthroat and mean by the half way mark. Using urban renewal is just mean. But, it is a way to make gains against your opponents. We were talking and the game would be awesome if there was a way to mark the buildings on the board with what they were when you built them. As it is, it has a feel of a city, but if you know where the school was, or the gas station, that could be more fun.
Oh yeah, can't forget about the elected officials. They add end game bonus if you manage to have them in your pocket at that time. Otherwise, they give you bonus stuff throughout the game. This part felt like Tammany Hall (great game). Actually, the game had that sort of feel.
Despite it being chaotic, I really enjoyed this one. I know Timm dug it and Chris liked it too. I'm a geek for city games and this one scratches the itch for me, I think. You feel like you're building and has some meat to it. It has area control, tile laying, and with the buildings, it felt like Le Havre to me (slightly) Our scores are a bit high as we screwed up mid-game triggers (like I noted). Chris had 265, I had 203, Timm had 165.
I know this would be pretty awesome with two and I know the game can move faster than it did last night. I'm so looking forward to getting this to the table again, soon.
Note: I have written 40 blog posts. Damn.