I love the theme of city building, mainly because there is usually tile placement associated with it. In this list that is the constant. The thing I love the most about city building games is most of the time you start off with very little to nothing and by the end of the game, you can look back and see how your city has come to life. All the games on this list have unique mechanisms that add to the expanding city building that go beyond just adding tiles to your city. To have a great city building game, in my opinion, you need to have more than just take this tile and add it to your city. Now, lets take a look at the games that use the city building mechanism the best in the…..Best 3 Games with…City Building!
3. Carson City by Eagle-Gryphon Games
Carson City is an excellent worker placement game. It also has a great city building mechanism in it. Building the city in Carson City is the main income generating mechanism. It fits the theme perfectly. In this bustling new city, if you are able to build and fund a General Store, a Drug Store or a Saloon, you will gain the profits from it each round. The more plots and buildings you own in the city the more income you will get. Some buildings also provide you with guns to help in duels. That is the other point….you might need to fight over certain plots of land and buildings in order to get them….so you might win the building but then lose the optimal plot of land to place it in the town. Not only that, but someone might over take your building in a round and end up getting half of the income that it generates. Xavier Georges put a great deal of contention and interaction within the city building mechanic in Carson City.
2. Small City by AVStudio Games
This is a new title that I have added to my collection. Do not be fooled by the title of this game because it is anything but small. There is not as much interaction between players in this design by Alban Viard as Carson City but it is a real brain workout. The tiles in Small City are of all different shapes and sizes…..think Tetris. There are a couple of things you need to think about when placing these tile….the first is that certain tiles cannot be placed next to other tiles. For instance the residential tiles cannot be next to industrial tiles and vice versa. Also, buildings can grow each round if they meet certain requirements. For instance, a size one residential building can grow to a level two residential building IF it is influenced by two civic buildings. In order for your buildings to grow you need to place the new building covering the old layout completely. It is a real puzzle to make sure that you can utilize the growth aspect to save time and money. Once your buildings are in place you need to supply workers to them to gain effects…..the only problem is you raise pollution for each worker in your city. When you get too much pollution….people start dying. Then at the end of the game you subtract your pollution points from your score. Small City has a chance to be my ultimate city building game with more plays in the future. As for now my top game is…..
1. Suburbia by Bezier Games
I really love Suburbia. The rules are pretty simple and it is easy to get the hang of but there are tons of things to think about. In Suburbia you are building suburbs to a metropolis. And much like the real world, these suburbs react and interact with each other. On your turn, you buy tiles of specific buildings from the Real Estate Market. Once you buy a building you then add it to your suburb. Many of these buildings will have a benefit and a penalty. Some do not want to be next to other types of buildings but you might need to put it next to that building. The penalties might be losing income each round or population. And that is that great balance. Population is your victory points but you need money to buy new buildings. Most all of the tiles will give you one benefit but not the other. The other unique mechanism is that you will often benefit from others placing tiles in their suburb. You might have a tile that says +2 coins for every yellow building. ANYTIME another player plays a yellow building you will get two dollars. It is hard to keep track of but well worth it if you do. It’s important to make sure you are utilizing everyone’s turns as much as possible. I really love the way cities grow and interact with one another in Ted Alspach’s Suburbia. I always feel a sense of accomplishment when I sit back and look at my final suburb and how it is different than others.