Review – Between Two Cities
A Drafting, City Building Tile game.
Title: Between Two Cities
Year Published: 2015
Designer: Matthew O’Malley, Morten Monrad Pedersen, Ben Rosset
Publisher: Stonemaier Games
Game Time: ~20 mins
Set-up Time: ~1 min
Theme: City Building
Mechanic: Drafting, Tile Placement, Set Collection, Partnerships
How to win: Of your 2 cities, each will score individually and the lower score of these two cities will be your score for the game and the player with the highest score wins.
It is the early 1800s, a time of immense construction and urbanization. You are a world-renowned master city planner who has been asked to redesign two different cities. Projects of such significance require the expertise of more than one person, so for each assignment you are paired with a partner with whom to discuss and execute your grandiose plans. Will your planning and collaborative skills be enough to design the most impressive city in the world?
Setup is simple. Take the seating randomiser cards, draw one randomly and sit around the table in that order. I don’t do this because you can’t tell me where to sit, you’re not my supervisor! Let everyone choose a pair of buildings from those available. Except Purple, I’m Purple.
Take the double sized duplex tiles and shuffle them, stacking them in the middle of the table. Take the building tiles and put them in the box lid face down and give them a shuffle. You’re now ready to play.
The game is played over 3 rounds and in round 1 each player draws 7 building tiles. The players will choose two of those tiles; put the rest to their left and put their building token on the stack to show they’re ready.
Once everyone has picked, the players reveal the chosen tiles and work together with their neighbours to see which tile is best placed in which city.
There are a few rules to placing the two tiles…
- One tile must be placed in the city on your left, and one in the city on your right
- All tiles must face the players building the city, this is important for round 2
- Except for the first pair of tiles placed which must share one edge, subsequent tiles must share one edge with an already placed tile
- The final city will be a 4×4 Grid so you can’t go outside this as your cities grow
- Once placed and confirmed, a tile cannot be moved
Then you continue by picking up the tiles from under the city token to your right and repeat this process.
When only one tile is left in this stack you discard it and should have a city with 6 tiles in it.
Now to Round 2 where each player draws 3 Duplex tiles, chooses two and adds them to the City in the same way as Round 1. Obviously discussion takes place between the players here too.
When placing the Duplex tiles, make sure they are orientated the right way as there are two different types (Horizontal and Vertical) but they must be the right way up.
Then on to round 3, which is the same as round one but you draft to the right…
After this each player should co-own 2 cities each of 16 tiles in a 4 by 4 grid.
Now you score them
Shops need to be in rows and the longer the row the more points you’ll get. A row of 1, 2, 3 or 4 will get 2 5 10 or 16 points accordingly. Each tile can only score once so if a tile is part of two rows you need to decide which one it goes in.
Factory tiles are worth a number of points depending on who has the most. The city or cities with the most factories gets 4 points per factory, second most gets 3 points per factory and every other city gets 2 points per factory.
Taverns come in 4 different types and you get 1,4,9 or 17 points depending on how many of a set you have. Each set is scored separately but each tile can only belong to one set.
Offices score 1,3,6,10,15 or 21 points depending on how many you have. If you have more than 6, the 7th and onwards counts as a new set. Also, each Office that is next to a Tavern is worth 1 extra point no matter how many taverns are next to it.
Parks needs to be orthogonally adjacent to each other. The first 3 are worth 2, 8 or 12 points with each additional park worth 1 point per park tile.
Each House is worth 1 point per other tile type you have in your city to a maximum of 5 points each but no one wants to live next to a factory so if a house is next to a factory its worth just 1 point.
Out of the 2 cities you helped build, the one with the lowest score is your ‘Score’ for the game and the player with the most points wins.
In the case of a tie for first place, those players take the score of their other city and the most points wins. If it’s still a tie it comes down to having the most of a certain building starting with the most shops then going down the list I described them above which is also listed on the helper card.
If it’s still a tie after that, well, no one can help you…
Best thing about this is that it’s simple and people just get it.
Although I usually find myself explaining scoring each tile a few times, especially Houses, Factories and Parks. I also usually have to explain the end game many times…
But the rest of it is simple…
It’s also very quick too which is good as most people seem to want to play it more than once and need a second game… “Can we play again now I know what I’m doing?”.
However, if you can end up next to the worst player at the table who not only will come last, but bring down the players either side of them too.
Also, there isn’t that much variety really. There are only 6 types of tiles and it’s usually quite obvious which you need where.
The best part of the game is once you’re picked your tiles and you start working with the players on either side of you to make the best Cities… assuming you’re sat between 2 decent people…
Not too bad, but I’m cooling to it a bit.
I give it 6/10