This game was one of the hot commodities at Gen Con, and sold out before Saturday. What is it? A fairly abstract tile-laying game with a bonus: after you lay down tiles, you get to build skyscrapers on them.
It’s a very simple, family-friendly game that’s wonderful to look at. Each turn you place a tile, which will either be a residential district, a commercial district, or a special tile. After you place a tile, you take up to 3 actions, with which you can either build new stories onto your building or take more building resources. If you cap a building off at the end of your turn, you score points for it.
You can build your buildings as tall as you want, ish, with a few caveats. In residential zones, you can only build buildings one story higher than your highest-built building, and your maximum height is 3 stories. Commercial buildings start at 4 high, but again aside from that first building you can only build new buildings 1 story higher than your previous highest.
When you cap off a building, you score 1 point per level, and you also get to take a “contract” card. These cards provide additional goals (such as layout of tiles, numbers of buildings at certain heights or adjacent to certain special tiles, and more) that you can earn bonus points.
In addition, specialty tiles modify the value of buildings around them. Some increase the value of adjacent tiles, some decrease it, and some will increase the value of one type (residential or commercial) while decreasing the value of the other. This only affects buildings at the moment of scoring, though, so your 12-point building you capped off turns ago won’t suddenly become worthless.
It’s a very simple, straightforward game, but it is a delight to watch the board build up as you play the game. The little skyscraper tokens stack nicely, and at the end you feel like you have this great, sprawling city. It’s similar in many ways to Takenoko, although no pandas, and lets you focus on just building as much as you can.