I was finally able to secure a copy of this thanks to my good friend Ty Douds. I picked it up at Gulf Games and was eager to have our group try it. This is another Sid Sackson gem.
The game does suffer greatly, however, in that the score charts, which are vital during play as players must continually consult them to determine the best plays, are in a variety of foreign languages ... but no English! This is VERY confusing. I absolutely MUST design some sort of layover or another chart in English. This will aid the flow of the game immensely.
Another problem is that the various buildings (which are really cool!) aren't labeled as to what they are (hospital, store, administration building, etc.). This, too, was a source of confusion, but will be easily rectified by pasting the identity of the buildings on their bases.
In spite of this confusion, the game flowed fairly smoothly, especially for our first outing. We did miss a rule wherein players could not share in the value of a building which is less than four lots in size, but the game still worked fine. Quite a few deals were struck, and we had eight separate joint ventures with various percentage splits amongst the partners. This resulted in some interesting scores as fractions do count ... and are vital. I lost my first game of Metropolis at The Gathering by 1/2 point!
There was one sour note, however. Several players did not like the rule which forced a player to GIVE a lot card away if he could not legally take it. According to the rules, if a player cannot legally hold one of the four face-up lot cards, he must take one of them and GIVE it to an opponent who can legally hold it if no deal can be struck. We had quite a few situations wherein only one player could legally hold a particular card, so a deal would be impossible as that player would get the card for free anyway. It was this one rule which caused John Moore to give the game a poor rating. He did claim that if this rule could be corrected, his rating would likely raise to at least a '6'.
I have proposed a variant wherein if a player cannot legally hold any of the four lot cards displayed, he can take one and discard it. This would at least allow a player to deny the card to an opponent. Any thoughts on this idea?
My fate in this game was one of procrastinating too long. I passed on several opportunities to construct an apartment or factory, holding out for the possibility of building something more lucrative, such as a hospital or even the mega department store. Unfortunately, someone always constructed the building I needed before my turn would come around again. Since I didn't notice that the hospitals and apartment buildings were not all shaped the same, I was really hammered in a land-swap deal I made with John. Convinced I could build a hospital, John promptly made the deal, built one of the two hospitals, and smugly informed me that now the remaining hospital would not fit on my land plots. He was right ... the scum!!
With such blunders, it was no surprise that I came in dead last. Eric Alleman held off a charging Lenny Leo for the victory:
Eric A. 47.5, Lenny 45.4, Eryk S. 37.1, John 28.4, Greg 17.6
Ratings: Greg 7, Eric A. 7, Eryk 6, Lenny 6, John 3