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Subject: A Glitchy review of a quick and engaging city builder rss

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Chris S
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Quadropolis

As usual in my reviews, I won’t be significantly rehashing the rules here, as those are readily available if people are interested. Instead I will be focusing on my opinion of the game itself, and the various gameplay mechanisms of the game.

Experience with the game: I’m a fan of Days of Wonder. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I tend to try and play heavier games than they produce yet I still greatly enjoy their productions and always try them out, whether hit or miss. Quadropolis is no different, I make a habit of pre-ordering DoW games, and now have played Quadropolis at multiple player counts, although primarily at 2 and 4 players.

Rules clarity: Days of Wonder games have excellent and short rule books. As always I learned the rules from the rulebook itself. The big difference with this game over most Days of Wonder games is it actually comes with two sets of rules for two different versions of the game, the classic and the expert game. I’m always a bit torn when a game includes multiple ways to play it, since it means I will have to try them all out eventually which means less time really learning the intricacies of the game. Or I’ll learn one and not the other and maybe end up playing what for me is an inferior version of the game as long as I own it. Most of these issues are my own misgivings, and most people probably would find it to not be a problem, but as much as I like options, I can’t help but wish there was a more clear way the game plays best.

Expounding further on this issue for this particular game, many games have an easy and an expert mode, which means I generally jump into the expert mode and don’t do what appears to be the simplified game. I’ve played enough games over the years that I find it best to just jump all the way in, I’m sure most BGGers do similar things. Well, the names for the 2 different game modes are a bit misleading in this circumstance. I jumped right into the expert mode, assuming the classic version was just a watered down version. But, in this instance that is not the case! Yes there are less tiles and less rounds in the classic version, but, it isn’t a watered down version. The rules and personal playmat are different enough that it actually is a very different, and worthwhile game. The rules are clear, but I do wish that the game modes were named differently.

As apiece of rules (kind of) or components if you like, the individual player aides showing you scoring are thorough and easy to read, and thankfully each player has their own to reference during the game for scoring. I appreciate games that provide player aides for each player, this is no exception.

Components and Art: Days of Wonder is known for high quality products and have been for a long time, before anyone else was putting real money into production. This game isn’t much of a change from Days of Wonder standards, but there are a couple of things that I wish were a bit different.

First the tiles. The tiles are nice and chunky, with fun art on them. They look and feel great. The meeples are great looking too, as are the power markers. The two pawns have the same nice look as well. The only problem I have noticed with these pieces is that the pawns have cracking within them. Obviously there is an issue with manufacturing process as this has been mentioned multiple places.


Nice translucent meeples.

The other component that needs mention is the personal player boards. They work fine, but they are thin and flimsy. I find myself wishing they were thick chunky boards, as they are just so thin overall. They do the job fine, and are double sided (for the afore mentioned expert and classic modes). But they could be slightly nicer. Or if Days of Wonder wanted to go all out it would have been nice to have dual layered boards like Scythe or Outlive. But they do fine still, and dual thickness boards are not industry standard, but it sure would be nice if they were.

The artwork is a nice somewhat unique style, the iconography is very clear, and I think it’s an attractive looking game overall.

Special notice of the always perfect Days of Wonder inserts and the draw bag they included as well. Very nice to have both.

Gameplay: The game is played over a series of rounds with players using architects to grab certain buildings and then adding them to their city boards based on the architect they used. Points are based on the locations of buildings to surroundings, or by the manner that they are placed on the board. In order to score points for buildings they must be powered or have sufficient population to score them.

The game plays quick and smooth. It takes some forward planning to determine what strategy you are going to pursue, and it is best to focus on one or two types of buildings, and truly capitalizing on those building types. Trying your hand at every building type will certainly lead to lower scores. I enjoy that there are multiple different paths to victory, and each building can be valuable based on how you determine to use it.


A city building upwards.

While you are building your own individual city it is somewhat of an abstract city building. It takes careful planning of the usage of the architects in order to place buildings where you need them and to get enough supplies to each of your buildings to score points. Due to the nature of laying down tiles to never really feels like you are laying out the city the way you want to, instead you are laying out the city the best you can within the limitations of what you have.

In terms of the two game types, I find them both to be worth playing. On the one hand the classic game is more restricting in your architect usage as you only have one of each type each round, it plays slightly quicker due to one less round, and in many ways it just feels more… tight. You want to add a second floor to your apartment complex? You have to use your #2 architect for that and nothing else, so plan accordingly. The expert game gives a few more options as the architects are in a shared pool. I think it adds more interplay between players and more paying attention to what others are doing due to the shared pool of architects. The expert game has more tactical decisions that have to be made due to sharing the architect pool, while the classic game allows for slightly more long-term strategy in order to plan out the placement of your architects as you know you will be using them once each.

Overall I find both modes of the game enjoyable to play, and I think they both have their merits. I go back and forth on which version I like more. As I’ve said I’m not usually a fan of games with multiple version to play, but in this circumstance I think as the game is very easy to learn it is nice to have the options.

Scalability: The design of the game is that the number of tiles changes based on the number of players you have playing. This makes the game scale very well overall. It plays just as well at 2, 3 or 4 players. The expert game changes more with more players as the pool of architects is larger and you have even more options for what you can use.


The main board set up for a 4 player game.

Final Thoughts: Quadropolis isn’t the city planning game many might be hoping for as it’s largely abstract and somewhat limiting in what you can do to build your city (by design of course). But the game is well produced, quick and fun to play, and very accessible. It’s a rare game in that it presents two variants for how to play the game (complete with some additional components even) that I actually appreciate both variants and am glad the game actually includes them. For people looking for relatively light games with great pieces that are accessible I feel I can almost always recommend Days of Wonder games, and this instance is not an exception. It’s a city builder that doesn’t complicate things but gets the point across.

Score:
7.8/10

If you enjoyed my review, see my other reviews here.
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David B
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Using your #2 architect is not the only way to get a second floor.
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Chris S
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pfctsqr wrote:
Using your #2 architect is not the only way to get a second floor.


Somehow in all the times I've played this game I missed that. In reading the rules it isn't crystal clear that you can add a second floor without using number two, so I can see why I didn't pick up on that. It states that you can add it in any row or column numbered appropriately, or if a building can have multiple floors then you can use the architect of that floor to add the next floor. So yes, you are correct, but it seems like I missed it long ago when reading the rules. It could have been slightly clearer (in my opinion).

Thanks for the correction!
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