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Tahsin Shamma
United States
Massachusetts
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City building is sometimes organic, sometimes planned. Many cities from the middle ages didn’t have too much help from official city planning commissions. This game has players planning ones that did.


2 – 4 players | 60 minutes | Medium Difficulty

The Walled City: Londonderry & Borderlands (The Walled City) presents players with a game of two distinct stages. The first stage involves players playing cards to form the foundational heart of the city with roads separating areas to control. Players will place meeples and houses to garner more “votes” (victory points) with the majority owner of each area getting a fixed number of votes. Dice pre-placed around the board indicate additional votes from the various guilds present in the city. This is a second layer of area control also dependent on majority. In the second stage of the game, players take turns to add more meeples but at this time, they also have a chance to construct walls which allow noble meeples to control towers and also keep them from running away. At the end of the game, votes are tallied again and the player who has done the best job of gaining majorities for areas, towers, and guilds wins the game.

Presentation

• The board, cards, cardboard roads and chits, and wooden components function well. The colors of the guild dice stand out compared to the drab player colors. Probably these colors were chosen because the medieval citizens get the dirty colors.

• The rulebook is well laid out with clear explanations and a great reference on the back, but the first play does demand a full explanation of all stages of the game, which can be time consuming. If this is not done, players might play their cards in a suboptimal way.

• The board is nicely illustrated. It fits well with the theme. The visual impression as components are played to the board is enjoyable and players can feel the city emerge.

• When games are finished, a living city emerges worthy of photographs. The wooden figurines, especially the walls and houses, really help make this stand out.



Gameplay

• Each play is incredibly tense and paralysis-inducing. Decisions have extreme impacts and are more crucial than many other games.

• The second round presents very different play from the first. With every turn, it’s incredibly difficult to decide which cards to hold for later plays.

• Multiple layers of area control (guild points, area points) demand a laser focus and a nimble perception of all sections of the board.

• The number of turns is extremely small. There are few safety nets to turn around a losing position.

Fun

• From the first turn, players are slugging it out. With no negotiation, this gets incredibly heavy and betrayal-from-behind moves are common.

• Players who gain satisfaction from well guarded territory that always has a chance of slipping away will find lots to enjoy.

• The faction cards for one-off special actions change how things can go from game to game, but gameplay does feel samey with multiple plays.

Collection Management

There are other area control games which have players defining the areas as they attempt to control them, but it’s hard to beat this one. When all players know the rules, it has the playtime of a light entree, but the meat of a main course. The Walled City can certainly replace other older area control games that don’t get much love anymore, particularly “the big one”.

Summary

Presentation - 90%

Gameplay - 90%

Fun - 95%

Overall - 92%

Fantastic area control mechanisms drive incredibly tense city building from beginning to end.
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Kevin Shillinglaw
Canada
Kitchener
Ontario
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I'm happy to see some more exposure for this game. I think it's a fantastic area-control game.

As you've mentioned, I've never seen a game where the decisions you make in the first half will greatly affect the decisions you make in the second half.
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Tahsin Shamma
United States
Massachusetts
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Deathstroke wrote:
I'm happy to see some more exposure for this game. I think it's a fantastic area-control game.

As you've mentioned, I've never seen a game where the decisions you make in the first half will greatly affect the decisions you make in the second half.


Thanks Kevin. I'm also getting feedback on what people like or dislike about the review structure. I want reviews from Controlled Area Gaming to be as credible, concise, and readable as possible.
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Daryl Andrews
Canada
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Ontario
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WoW! Thank you very much for the kind review. Im bias but I love the game.
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Tahsin Shamma
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Thanks for the well-designed game Daryl.
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