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Subject: Appolus Game Reviews: Infinite City rss

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Michael Purser
United States
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Utah
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This gem came into my possession on a whim, and I was pleasantly surprised with what I found. Keep reading for my take on this potent little tile game.

Components:

A Carcassonne sized box contains a small bag of colored wooden bits, a slim rulebook, and a honking lot of large tiles. The wooden bits are not cubes or meeples, but reminiscent of some of the fuel markers in Power Grid. They are functional. The rulebook is well laid out and easy to read. Play and scoring instructions are easy to follow.

The main components are the tiles. Each of these are about twice the size of a Carcassonne tile, or a little smaller than a Blue Moon City tile. They are of sturdy construction, feature beautiful “future cities of the past” style art, and are attractively bordered in an art-deco style. I was blown away by the art. Top notch stuff on these. Each tile also has a text box featuring a line or two of instruction. These are clear in all cases.

The Game:

The game starts with each player collecting five tiles from the top of the pile and a cross of five tiles laid face down in the middle of the play area. Each player, on their turn, puts one tile from their hand into play face up orthogonally connected to another tile in play. The player then places a marker of their color on the new tile, and follows the instructions printed on it. After any further actions have been resolved, the active player refills their hand, and that is it. Simple, easy, fast.

The game ends when a player runs out of markers or all five power stations are in play. Each player scores according to three mechanisms.

1. Each player scores a number of points equal to the total number of tiles they control in areas of three or more. This can be any number of scoring groups.
2. Each player scores points equal to the total number of numbers printed on tiles he controls.
3. The player who controls the most tiles featuring silver borders scores points equal to the number of those tiles he controls.

The player with the most points win.

Appolus’ Thoughts:

Infinite City seems chaotic on the surface. Each player changes the board considerably before your turn comes around again. You only have five tiles to plan with. But even after my first play I could see that is not the case. Simply trying to train together as many tiles as possible with your token will get you stomped into the ground pretty quick. The other players will see that band of tiles and break them up nice and swiftly.

Instead, Infinite City is a game of subterfuge and long term strategy. Games I have won have come down to a combination of three factors: small scoring areas, “strong” scoring areas, and point stacking. I will elaborate.

Small scoring areas: This is pretty self-explanatory. Which looks more threatening, the guy with one 12 point area, or three 4 point areas? If you appear less menacing, fewer people will break up your scoring areas.

“Strong” scoring areas: I see a lot of people building long, strung out chains or cross shaped areas of control. This is bad. One moved tile means you just lost a lot of points. Take the middle out of the cross and you go from five points to none. I try to build all of my scoring areas into blocks at least two tiles wide. That way it requires at least twice the effort, and most opponents will look to break easier clumps instead. This works well when combined with the tactic above to make a bunch of four point squares. Also, power stations provide solid anchors, and you should get a token on or near one as often as possible.

Point Stacking: Areas like the Capitol, Arboretum, Plazas, Hotels, etc can bring in a lot of points. Jumping on raw points trumps all other considerations, especially if you can be tricky about it. Use a bank to swap your token onto that shiny three point plaza. ONLY play the capitol next to a power station. Jump on hotels, especially if they are silver bordered or will help you start or finish a scoring area. In one game I played I had only one five point scoring area. I did, however, collect 16 points from buildings and grab 5 points from silver borders. I won by a large margin, but no one considered me a threat. Downplay your points acquisitions as much as possible.

In the end, I found Infinite City to be rich with deep strategy just below the surface. Yes, I will have to change my plans on the go, and a really bad game will stick you with crappy tiles. On the average, however, you should be able to pull ahead in points in you push ahead in planning. Spend just enough time screwing everyone else over when you aren’t crafting a carefully protected scoring area. Pull those last couple of tiles together, and you are set.

I give this light-medium tile builder a glowing Appoluscore of 8.2. I heartily recommend it to most groups, but especially to anyone who ever liked Carcassonne, as this is like a kind of Carcassonne: Advanced more than anything I have ever played.

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Robert
Malaysia
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As a fellow reviewer of this wonderful little game, I really enjoyed reading your review. I think one of the best things you articulated was the subtle strategy that lies below the chaos of Infinite City. The power station / capitol trick was one that my gaming group picked up pretty early on and I've been on both sides of it.

This really is one of the best "middle weight" games I've seen in a long time. Enough strategy to be interesting, but not enough to make you feel like your brain has been put through a game of oh... I don't know... Power Grid?
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Michael Purser
United States
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One of our players took it even further last play. Someone played the 4 point arboretum AND the capitol next to the same power station. He was a pretty lucky guy.
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