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Subject: 20X Reviews #29 - Machi Koro After 20 Plays rss

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Peter Barringer
United States
Evansville
Indiana
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Check out a Geeklist containing all my other reviews here: 20X Reviews - A Geeklist

Time to 20 Plays: 11 Months

How to Play: The winner of Machi Koro is the first to build all of the landmarks in his/her village—four landmarks in the base game, and more with each expansion. To afford these landmarks, each of which also grants a bonus ability, players must invest in other properties that pay out through dice rolls. Each color property card is different: green cards pay out when the active player rolls the number indicated on the card; blue cards pay out when any player rolls that number; red cards pay out from an active player to the person who owns a card; purple cards are all different. On a turn, players roll a die or dice and take care of any payouts. Then, the active player can purchase one property or a landmark. The game ends when a player builds the final landmark in his/her city!

I've played it so much because:
1. It’s easy to teach. My high school students can pick this one up in a round or two, and it’s just as popular with them as it is with our double date partners.
2. There are multiple viable strategies. There are so many good options. With the base game, I recommend pairing ranches with cheese factories, wheat fields with fruit and vegetable stands, or mines and forests with furniture factories. I’ve also seen people win purchasing only 1-6 cards and never venturing into two-dice territory. The expansions add numerous other options.
3. Everyone seems to enjoy the game. I’ve introduced it to at least 30 or 40 different people. I only know one person who doesn’t like Machi Koro.
4. It’s the perfect length. Because the game is pretty straightforward, 30ish minutes is the perfect amount of time for a game. It doesn’t overstay its welcome.
5. There’s no down time. You can earn coins on every turn, so every roll of the dice is exciting.

I'd play it more if:
1. there were better ways to mitigate poor dice rolling. Machi Koro can be brutal if the dice aren’t going your way. Several times, I’ve set up an excellent combination that would net a massive amount of coins if I could roll a 7 or 8 one time, and I never hit the combination on many straight turns. Obviously, diversifying your investments can help, but it often means getting only a few coins rather than 30 or 40 at a time.
2. the properties made more sense. Thematically, the landmarks like amusement parks and moon towers are not very indicative of a successful city. I know this isn’t in the spirit of a rather silly game, but it’s the truth!

Rating:

Overall: Even base Machi Koro is fun, but the expansions add a great deal to the game, especially if you’re selective about which properties you include from each. Some complain that Machi is too reliant on luck, and I agree with that to some extent. However, if you can't roll what you need, you can usually find an alternate method. It’s a blast to play, and I’ll continue teaching it for many years.
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Jonathan St-Yves
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Re: 20X Reviews - Machi Koro
I agree with your review, and I just want to point out that while luck can run against you, you always have a shot at winning in this game, which is great to keep up your fighting spirit!

While the winner can be decided by luck, you always have some amount of agency to push for the victory. That, combined with buildings that give money on other players' rolls, makes for a very engaging experience.
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