Following on from our inaugural review of Cash & Guns last month (which remains a firm favourite in the household) my team of mini-gamers and I have lost plenty of hours this month trying to build better cities than each other! Here is my Quadropolis Board Game review which will explain exactly what that means…
Author: Francois Gandon
Publisher: Days of Wonder
No. of Players: 2 to 4
Time To Play: Around 45 minutes to an hour
Suggested Age: 8+
Where To Buy: Buy Online from Zatu Games
Quadropolis sees you playing the role of a city Mayor. You need to create a strategy to build new features and buildings in your city that suit the needs of your citizens far better than your opponents. You send your architects out into the city to create your new buildings. Points are scored through buildings being erected and combinations of certain buildings give you lots of bonuses. When I originally read the concept of this game I expected it to recreate all the excitement of working in a county council town planning department, which equals exactly no excitement and zero fun. Having read a few reviews online and watched a couple of videos about it on YouTube I became sold on the gameplay concept and it looked perfect for us to play as a family.
It did not let me down – I expected a good game but it turned out to be a great game…
What’s in the box?
The game contents include a Construction Site Board, 4 double-sided Player Mats (which represent your city), 142 Building Tiles, 20 Architect Cards, Urbanist & Mayor markers, 65 Meeples (yay), 50 Energy Unit cylinders, a Scoring Pad, Helper cards, a Cloth Bag and the rules.
It all looks a little chaotic when you take everything out of the box but it’s easy to get it all in order and the building tiles and architects all need punching out of their original cardboard sprues. This only takes a couple of minutes though.
Setting Up & How To Play
This Quadropolis board game review is not going to go into immense detail about how to play the game. At first blush Quadropolis is not a simple game to get started with but you quickly become acclimatised. There are two versions of the game – a Classic version and an Expert mode. Naturally you should start with the Classic and step up to expert once you have become accustomed to the rules and game play routines.
To set the game up you place the Construction Site board in the middle of the table and keep the blue Meeples and red energy cylinders nearby along with the urbanist marker. Each player chooses a colour they want to be and then takes their colour-coded Player Mat. These are double-sided so make sure you use the Classic side initially (Expert mode is on the reverse). Grab a Helper Card each and the 4 colour-coded Architect Cards for your chosen colour. Again, the Architect Cards are double sided…the grey side is for Expert mode.
Take the Building Tiles that have the number 1 on the back of them, leaving out any that say Expert for now and place them into the included Cloth Bag. Give the bag a shake and fill the Construction Site with the Building Tiles face down (so the number 1 is on display). Some Building Tiles may need to be removed from the Construction Site at this stage, and all of this is explained in the rules. No Building Tiles get removed in a 4 player game, but some will need to be if you are playing with 2 or 3 people.
Choose the person who will go first and give them the Mayor marker and you are ready to play!
This following video from Esdevium Games who distribute the game in the UK will give you a quick insight into how the game is played:
Playing Quadropolis happens across 4 game rounds and each round consists of 4 turn actions that all players complete. The turn actions are:
- Take a building from the Construction Site
- Move the Urbanist marker
- Place the Building in their city
- Receive Resources from the Building (if eligible)
A round is complete when all players have played these steps.
Once the first round is complete all remaining number 1 Building Tiles get removed from the Construction Site and you set up again by this time using the Building Tiles with a number 2 on the back. Play the second round and then set up again with the number 3 Building Tiles, and then again with the number 4 set.
The game ends after the four rounds have all been played and at this stage each player must perform a final allocation of resources on their Building Tiles on their Player Mat and Victory Points get worked out to decide the winner.
OK…’allocation of resources’?? Victory Points??
Each building that you place on your Player Mat usually gives you a reward, which can be Inhabitants (the blue Meeples) or Energy Units (the red cylinders), or a mix of the two. You collect these tokens and use them to activate your individual buildings to release the Victory Points at the end of the game.
All of the different Buildings score you Victory Points in different ways at the end of the game and how you place them on your Player Mat is key to whether you will win the game or not. This where your Helper Card is really useful and should be kept with you throughout the game as it explains how the points get scored at the end.
For example, there are Factory tiles and these only give you Victory Points at the end of the game if the Factory is placed adjacent to either Shops or Harbours. To maximise the possible points you can get from Factories you need to avoid placing them at the end of rows or columns in your Player Mat. Harbours only score Victory Points if they form a continuous line or column, so a Harbour on its own gets no points but a Harbour at the start of a row or column with another next to it scores 3 points and 7 points if there are 2 more Harbours in a line and a whopping 12 points for 4 in a row!
The different Building types in Quadropolis are:
- Tower Blocks – score points by stacking these to add floors to your blocks
- Shops – score points depending on the number of Inhabitants inside the shop
- Public Services – score point based on the number of districts with a Public Service in it
- Parks – score points when they are adjacent to Tower Blocks. They also absorb excess Energy Units which helps you avoid minus points
- Factories – score points when next to shops and Harbours
- Harbours – score points when you build continuous rows or columns with multiple Harbours
So, as suggested at the start of this post there is a decent sized strategy element to how you play the game. This is not a game where you try and grab as many buildings as possible and place them on your mat. This is a game where you have to plan each move and work hard to make sure that you build your city in a way that will score you the maximum amount of Victory Points at the end.
I was initially concerned that this would prove to be a bit too complicated for my usual playing companions, who consist of an eight, nine and eleven year old. Interestingly they all grasped the concept very quickly and quickly worked out what ‘shapes’ they needed to make on their Player Mats to score points at the end and usually one of them is the winner. It’s really good for younger children to get them to work out their own points too as it’s a good test of maths skills!
It helps to play your first game as a quick practice game so that every player can start to get to grips with the order of actions in the game rounds and also learn all about the scoring at the end of the game. Once you can see how points can stack up with Harbours and Factories then the second proper game becomes a much more competitive event. It was from that second game we played that we became completely hooked on Quadropolis and we can now play a full 4 player game in under an hour.
If you would like to see an in-depth explanation of how to play Quadropolis then I highly recommend viewing the following ‘How To Play’ video after finishing reading through this Quadropolis Board Game review:
Quadropolis looked like it was going to be too complicated for us to get into quickly as a family, but I was dead wrong. It took about half an hour to get my head around the rules and the way the game plays and then once we started playing it all quickly became clear and was second nature after that.
The game play itself is quite brisk and this is always good when playing with children as it means they are not sitting there for ages waiting for other players to take their turns. This is where some ‘traditional’ board games breakdown such as Monopoly and Risk, and this is one of the features that makes Quadropolis a perfect gateway game into the world of board games that are NOT mass-produced.
It plays really well with 2, 3 or 4 players. It plays a little differently when there are just two of you as it becomes a head-to-head scenario then and you can start to block what your opponent might be trying to do and be, dare I say, more aggressive in your quest for victory. The 4 player game becomes a little bit more chaotic (in a good way) and is more of a free-for-all where you hope that the tiles you need are available when your turn finally comes around. This is a light strategy game but a bit of luck is needed, as with all good games.
I think the creator of Quadropolis has got this pitched about right by recommending that the minimum age of a player is 8 years old. I think a 6 or early 7 year old would struggle and I should mention that it plays really well with just adults too. In fact it’s great to watch adults play this game as everything becomes so overthought and over-considered. It remains fun throughout though.
An extra thumbs up goes to the game designer for the creation of the plastic insert inside the box. It all looked so messy when I first opened the game but everything can be put back into the box after your first game in perfectly appointed slots and sections and this has really been thought through. An OCD sufferer’s delight!
This is a beautifully thought through game, attractively packaged and executed and a whole bundle of fun. I see us never growing bored of Quadropolis and it being one that we reach for as a family on multiple occasions through years to come.
Quadropolis Board Game review score – 8.5 out of 10!
Hope you enjoyed reading through my Quadropolis Board Game review. You can find out more about it and order online at Zatu Games.
Disclosure: Zatu Games allow me to buy games at a discount in return for a review (good or bad). I choose the games I am interested in and Zatu Games has no editorial control over the reviews so everything you read in this Quadropolis Board Game review is my honest opinion.