Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over 18 months and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every other Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Squareism is the new Cubism!: Quadropolis

Quadropolis is a 2-4 player strategy game in which you have to design a city to become a productive, pleasant place to live. The game revolves around a square grid (or rectangular in the advanced version) which you fill with various buildings in a series of rounds. Each building type has it’s own unique scoring system which are often affected by the surrounding buildings.

In each round you gather a pile of tiles and lay them out along a central supply grid. You can then use one of your engineers to claim tiles and place them on your city grid. The engineers are numbered one through four, you have once of each number every round, so you’ll be taking 4 buildings in a turn. The number of your engineer is important; to take a tile you place the engineer around the edge of the supply grid, along a row/column. You then take the tile x spaces away from the engineer in the, so a number 3 engineer would take the 3rd building along the column he’s placed on. Once you have the building you have to place it on a grid reference on your city that has that number as either it’s column or row. So in our example the number 3 engineer must build along column 3 *or* along row 3.

An example of tiles being taken, the 5 architect took the tile 5 spaces away while the 1 architect took the tile next to it. The pawn covers the last tile taken and you can't place an architect pointing towards the pawn.
There is an advanced game which I strongly recommend for people who have played the game at least once before. Instead of having a unique set of engineers, each player uses the same pool of engineers. This adds a lot of player interaction to the game as purposely running down a certain number can make it hard for players to achieve their goals. Since the supply grid is 5x5, at the start of the round you can use a 2 or a 4 to take the same tile, but as the area around the outside of the supply gets filled up with engineers spaces become limited and number selection becomes very important. The advanced game also has a couple of new building types that add a bit more variety to strategy. It also gives each player a bigger city grid, which means that many buildings can score higher.

The buildings themselves encourage synergy, parks work well when surrounded by residential towers, docks work well when in a line of other docks, power plants thrive when surrounded by commercial buildings, but aren’t great for residential ones, so shops can be used to bridge the gap. There’s also pollution and overpopulation to worry about, some buildings produce energy, and others produce population. Most buildings require activation by a certain amount of power or population in order to score at the end of the game, if you don’t have enough people then you won’t have anyone to work in your power plant, but get too many and the unemployed bums will cost you points! There is a careful balance in trying to make the most points without going to far and filling your town with pollution.
Scoring for the various buildings, some buildings require multiples of the same type, while others reward being surrounded by suitable buildings. A well designed city can rack up those precious points!

Quadropolis is a game with a surprising amount of depth, but it is so simple to pick up! The game feels intuitive and even playing with little idea of what’s going on at first you aren’t likely to have any major problems playing. So long as you have worked out what to do by rounds 3 or 4 you’ll be fine, which makes it great for new players. But for veterans the strategy starts coming out of the woodwork, ensuring you don’t fill up certain numbers becomes important or you’ll be limited in the late-game. Watching what spots your opponents have left allows you to block off buildings they want with your engineers. Power plants are all worth the same points, but take the one witch generates too much power and it turns to pollution, so sometimes the “weaker” tiles are better for you. I had no expectations coming into Quadropolis, but now I couldn’t be a much bigger fan... well unless they release a Star-Wars version anyway!


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