I showed up for a regular meetup last night and it was me, Kevin and Michael waiting for others to show up. Michael pulled out Infinite City, a game he got from his Secret Santa. Now Michael is someone who hates a lot of games. There are dozens in my collection he won't play. He hates "Take That" type screwage games and hates randomness in games. (I generally don't mind these two things in games.) To my recollection, he hasn't ever taught me a new game that I hated. Until now.
The game is played by laying tiles and dropping a piece on the tile to activate an action. On the surface, it seems like a game that might reward strategic and tactical thinking and careful planning. But holy randomness and screw your opponents! That's the meat of this game...paly a card where it best messes with your opponents. At least in many screwage games you can mitigate the screwage some; you can't in this one as you have no control over the tiles your opponent draws. And don't bother with trying to plan anything. First, the board will be different when it's your turn. Second, you might not even have the same tiles!
For example, I made a few moves and then played a tile that let me pick five new cards. I arranged them and planned a strategy out for playing them. I had one or two cards that I was saving for just the right moment. Then Michael played a tile that let him swap hands with me. Hmmmmm... Basically this just reaffirmed the unsettling feeling I was already having that the game was way too random for even me. I started screwing with Michael any chance I could (which was essentially every turn). Eventually it gave the win to Kevin (18-14-14).
Was it a dickish kingmaking move? Definitely. I know Michael was cheesed (rightfully so). I normally would suck it up and just finish a game out in classy fashion (and only express my distaste during post-game commentary). That's what I should have done. (I was a little curious as to why Michael hates all my games that have any element of randomness or kingmaking or screwage, yet he enjoys one where that's basically all it has...)
I'd personally rather not play Infinite City at all but if I had to, I'd prefer to play it Carcasonne style and just draw one tile at a time. Yes it would make certain tiles pointless (like the one that lets you switch hands with someone). But holding a hand of five cards and thinking of a strategy of how and where to play them is pointless too.
Fortunately the game lasts only about 30 minutes. Going in next time I'd know what it was and play it as such - a super light game where you get to mess with other people. I'd rate it a 3 or 4 since I might could be persuaded to kill time with it and might even enjoy it (sort of the same way I enjoy Apples to Apples on occasion and with the right crowd) but I'd never pick it and I'd try to persuade the group to pick something else.
I'm probably missing something and it's not good to judge a game so harshly after one play (especially when I was expecting something else). I'm sure fans of the game will set me straight and I'll be happy to listen.
You should try it again, as a 2p game, now that you know what you're getting into. It's very quick--like 10 or 15 min--and great fun. But I can see why you were put off on that first play. Next time you'll be prepared!