Gameday First Play – Suburbia

Posted on by Jesta

One of my games and another Secret Cabal reviewed game I wanted to play.

It’s quite mathy and won a Mensa award but how does it play?

Plan, build, and develop a small town into a major metropolis. Use hex-shaped building tiles to add residential, commercial, civic, and industrial areas, as well as special points of interest that provide benefits and take advantage of the resources of nearby towns. Your goal is to have your borough thrive and end up with a greater population than any of your opponents.

Suburbia is a tile-laying game in which each player tries to build up an economic engine and infrastructure that will be initially self-sufficient, and eventually become both profitable and encourage population growth. As your town grows, you’ll modify both your income and your reputation. As your income increases, you’ll have more cash on hand to purchase better and more valuable buildings, such as an international airport or a high rise office building. As your reputation increases, you’ll gain more and more population (and the winner at the end of the game is the player with the largest population).

During each game, players compete for several unique goals that offer an additional population boost – and the buildings available in each game vary, so you’ll never play the same game twice!

Sim City in a box? Yeah, I think so.

The goal is to build a ‘Suburb’ and have the largest population at the end of the game. You start with a small area containing a residential Suburb, a Community Park and a Heavy Factory.

Where a new tile is placed on your board has an impact of neighbouring tiles, other tiles in your area and sometimes tiles in other people areas.

For example, building a factory next to a residential area reduces your reputation whereas a Community Park next to a residential area raises it… makes sense right?

Having your tiles affect and be affected by other players is really cool. For example, your Airport, on it’s own, isn’t that great. But ANY other Airport that is built for the rest of the game makes your Airport more valuable… again, it makes sense.

Suburbia Gameplay

The game play itself is very very simple.

You either…

  • Buy a tile from the Real Estate market and add it to your Suburb
  • Turn a tile from the Real Estate market into a Lake and add it to your Suburb
  • Place an Investment Marker on one of your tiles and burn a tile from the Real Estate market

Buying a tile means paying it’s cost plus any additional cost on the Real Estate market, adding it to your board, adjusting your reputation and income accordingly.

You can pay only the cost on the Real Estate to take a tile, turn it over and build a lake. A lake is basically a good way to get money as it gives $’s for each adjacent tile.

Placing an Investment Marker on one of your tiles doubles the bonuses/penalties on that tile.

So what is income and reputation?

Income is the amount you gain in Dollars at the end of your turn. If your income if 4, you collect $4(Million). If it’s -1, you pay $1(Million).

Reputation is how much you raise your population at the end of the turn. 4 Reputation gives you 4 Population. -1 means you drop your Population by 1. Remember Population = Points so this is important.

There is also one goal per player in the middle of the board. These are things like ‘Highest Income’ or ‘Most Contiguous Lakes’ which gives you a Population bonus at the end. The only non-thematic part of the game.

Each player also has a secret goal they need to achieve. If they win they get the points, if they don’t no one scores this Population increase.

This is very very good game and I’m very keen to play it again.

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