Friday, May 3, 2019

Finding your perfect city in Sprawlopolis

I have finally tried Sprawlopolis, last year’s shining star from Button Shy games. Took me long enough and my first impression is that it lives up the the hype.

Sprawlopolis is the spiritual sequel to Circle the Wagons. In addition to being by the same design team, they are both 18-card tile laying game where the flip side of the cards are the scoring conditions. The big difference is that Sprawlopolis is a cooperative game.

Which was not a selling point for me. I love Pandemic but, as a rule, cooperatives are not my cup of tea. (Watch is our child fall in love with them and I play nothing but until he goes to college) But I think that being a cooperative actually was better for the core concept.

Okay, in Sprawlopolis, you are city planners, working together to design a city. At the start of the game, shuffle the cards and draw three. Those will be the special scoring conditions for your game and you won’t be using the map side of those cards this time.

Something that is actually quite clever is that the scoring conditions don’t just tell you what you score or lose you extra points in the game. They also each have a number on them. The three numbers on your cards add up to the target number for that particular game. You have to score at least that many points to win.

Now, I’ve just played the solitaire rules, where I have a hand of three. With two to four players, you pass the hand around. Every one has a card but the active player has three. They pass the two cards they didn’t use and draw a new one. I like that a lot. It adds a lot of interaction to the game.

Each card has four quadrants (one in each of the four different colors), as well as some roads. Placement requires that at least one quadrant must share an edge an a quadrant on the board. You can overlap but you can’t tuck your card under.

After all the cards are placed, you get points for your largest area in each of the four colors, lose points for each stretch of road and go over the special scoring cards. If you meet the target number, you win!

You know, showing someone how to play the game using examples would be a lot easier than writing all that out :D

As you already know, I like Sprawlopolis a lot. Circle the Wagons is a solid game but Sprawlopolis takes the core ideas and makes a cleaner, more streamlined game. And being a cooperative helps that. You can have more players and you create a larger tableau. You have a variable scoring target as well as variable scoring. Sprawlopolis is a puzzle with a lot of permutations. It’s a great use of eighteen cards.

No comments:

Post a Comment