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 the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every 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, 18 July 2017

The competent government expansion:- Quadropolis: Public Services

Game: Quadropolis: Public Services

Publisher: Days of Wonder

Designer: François Gandon
 
Year20
17

Quadropolis: Public Services is an expansion to the tile-laying city builder Quadropolis, which we reviewed in November. Unsurprisingly from the name, this expansion focuses entirely on upgrading the options you get for the public services tiles, granting a lot more strategies that can be focused on, or simply to be taken for minor benefits.

The expansion consists of 2 sets of tiles, one for both classic and advanced mode, instructions, and quick reference sheets to explain the iconography on the new tiles. Right off the bat we come across something strange as there are 3 reference cards for classic mode and only 1 for advanced. It would have been nice to have 4 of each, or at least 2 of each so both sides of the table could have one in a 4 player game.

The contents of the box, on the left are the expert mode tiles and the classic tiles are on the right

Every round you set up the game as normal, but then draw the top 4 tiles of the new public service stack. These tiles form a common pool that anyone can take, some of these are very powerful which only heighten the advantage of being first player. Essentially whenever you take a public service tile from the main board you must either discard it and take one of the 4 new tiles on offer, or you can keep the original and instead discard one of the new tiles from the common pool. It’s rare that the original public sector tiles are as powerful as the new ones (perhaps the ones which give 2 victory points) so the vast majority of time you’ll take a new one. 

There is a noticeable amount of power creep with this expansion; some of the tiles can score you 5+ points in addition to the normal point scoring for placing public services. However it’s not that much of a problem, there is enough choice that everyone should end up getting one or two of the more powerful tiles during the game. Just don’t go out of your way to try and play without the expansion tiles and you’ll do fine. The abilities can open up new opportunities, or take some of the difficulty out of city planning, my particular favourite is the reprocessing plant, which gives you victory points for having spare energy at the end of the game, suddenly all those power plants and docks that give you lots of power can be built with no concern about pollution!

Most of the tiles are repeated in both modes, but many of the expert cards were tweaked to better fit in the higher-scoring, longer game mode.

Perhaps the best thing about this expansion is that it can help gear you towards a strategy and encourages differing playstyles, someone can create an industrial hell-hole, and be rewarded for it, so long as they get the right services, meanwhile their neighbour has built a sea-side suburban paradise, and there are public services that reward that too. Getting a powerful tile early on can be all you need to encourage you to play in a vastly different way, or you can take the risk and plan your city knowing that all the public service tiles will come out eventually, you just have to make sure you get the one you planned for, or live with the consequences. Quadropolis is one of my favourite games of 2016, and Quadropolis: Public Services only makes it better. Importantly it does this without making the game much more complicated, keeping the game nice and accessible.

8/10

Quadropolis: Public Services was a review copy provided by Esdevium Games Ltd. It is available for an RRP of £11.99 at your friendly local game store.

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