Review: City Alarm – cops and robbers in LEGO

City Alarm - packaging

Police received a report, that a great robbery should happen in several places. Police crew prepared their helicopter on the highest tower of the city, and special forces are waiting for instructions. City still lives their traditional life, people go to pizzeria for lunch, collect money in the bank and watch passing ships from the lighthouse.

Thieves know, that the police are aware of their intentions. Some careless man spoke, when he was supposed to be quiet and now everybody knows. But still there is a chance, that they will succeed and nothing is finished. The city is large and there are only four criminals. If only one of them succeeds, then they can all celebrate together after leaving prison and enjoy gathered wealth.

But today, the duty to prevent them from doing the bad thing, lies not with the police, but with players in board game City Alarm from company. City Alarm belongs to a series of new board games for spring , along with the already reviewed Mini-Taurus (review). Also City Alarm is originated in mind of author , , a newly also .

City Alarm - game is ready

The fact, that this is a LEGO game, means that instead of conventional preparation, building the game board awaits you first. The city is situated on a green board, whose one corner is surrounded by a blue piece indicating harbor and the sea. There is a lighthouse. But the most interesting part of the whole composition is a beautiful police helicopter with moving propeller.

But the whole city is nice at first sight, because it has lot of buildings with unique logos. You can easily recognize bakery, bank and post office. The only drawback to the first assembly is, that thanks to a large number of small buildings, the building can be a little stretchy. Although the instructions guide you through the building proces and ultimately location of buildings around the city, you can put the finished building, as you like. Thieves need just to stand next to the shop to lift few hundreds from their cashier.

There are also tiny things, that do not lie directly on the board, but still are part of the City alarm game. From two tiny pieces you put together an elongated green bill and with the rest, you complete LEGO dice, which however does not have any dots on its sides. So how will the characters move around the city? They will use a different approach this time and much better systém, which is used here for the first time. On the table, there will be seven cubes with numbers from one to six, but they are shuffled and put with dots down, so you cannot see, which cube is where.

City Alarm - game in progress

But the movement of police and thieves will come back later. First we must prepare players and city pieces for the game. You stand LEGO miniatures of thieves in the corners. They just came to town. The two police stations are waiting for their chance with two figures of contables and over the city on the tallest building, there is a helicopter. Players can now break down their roles – one puts himself in the role of robbers, the other will be representant of law. If there are more players than two, they can be divided into teams and each can control one pawn or simply consult next moves together. Simply play as a team against team. Next to the city board, you place ten money tokens, which are goal to get for the thieves.

The game is very simple, like all the LEGO games, but this time the player’s move consists of two events, at least for villains. Thieves start the game. Police and thief turn is usually the same – they turn one of the number tokens and move one of their miniatures for as many fields forward. Then its the other side turn. One of seven tiles does not contain number, but a picture of a train instead. Machine transports your character immediately onto a train station field.

Players must always use the whole number for movement and cannot turn around. That makes it difficult for police to catch the thief, because they have to stop on the exact spot, where the villain is located. Yet they will not find any money in thief pockets, they only weaker them by putting this villain behind bars and leave him there until the end of the game.

City Alarm - game in progress

Whenever a thief stops next to the building, he can try to steal some money from their cashier. He must only roll the LEGO dice, which decides on one of three possible robbery outcomes.

Best side for thieves is the white side with two money bills. In that case, the robbery was successful and thieves can take two tokens of money from the bank. In both other two situations a helicopter appears on the crime scene, because the thief was not careful and he set the alarm. In first possible outcome, the thieves still get one money token, but the other makes them go empty handed. But the helicopter cannot make arrests.

If thieves manage to set the alarm, police player can move his helicopter on any building in town. Thieves cannot now steal from this building, because it is protected. Rules offer to all players also more variants for play, which offer for example thieves escaping from prison.

City Alarm - prison

Game ends with the possible endings – thieves manage to get all ten money tokens and can live happily their lives of rich citizens. Or the police arrests and puts in jali all four robbers. Then the order is preserved and good wins.

City Tycoon is a simple game of cops and robbers, in which everything happens very quickly. Luck plays still major role in the game, but there is not too much of it in comparison to former LEGO games. The move itself does not rests simply on luck of dice roll. Players can plan according to already rotated cubes, because they know, what numbers are still hidden and ready for revelation. And this is also the biggest change from the LEGO games, which we had the opportunity to review earlier. All pieces being moved in them is purely random. Not in City Alarm.

Now this makes a little strategy game balanced for two players and great suspenseful entertainment. Each player has a task to fulfill. Chances are very close and the game is quite nicely balanced, so that both sides have a chance to win. They only need to follow basic strategy, which binds to their role. While thieves exceed the number of police officers and should be able to use it, police officers have a super powerful helikoptér, which compensates the state of strength.

City Alarm - dice

Processing certainly deserves praise. The city looks very pretty, because it is filled with a variety of buildings and all of them are nicely colored. All is beautifully finished by the blue bay in the corner. Naturally you will enjoy look at the beautiful helicopter and a special prison building, that is not directly part of the board.

LEGO City Alarm is a nice board game, that will delight children, which are in fond of playing cops and robbers. This is a bit limited audience rather for boy players, but also girls will like to stand in the role of strict law enforcement officials. Players use strategies to fight each other in a thrilling battle between good and evil.

DesignerNicolas Assenbrunner, Bastiaan Brederode, Cephas Howard, Jesper C. Nielsen
ArtistTore Magelund Alexandersen, Emilie Røndal Nielsen, Martin Rathschau, Thomas Robert Van der Heiden
PublisherLEGO
Year Published2012
# of Players2 - 4
User Suggested # of Players Best with 2 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4 players
(3 voters)
Playing Time15
Mfg Suggested Ages6 and up
User Suggested Ages6 and up
(2 voters)
Language DependenceNo necessary in-game text
(2 voters)
CategoryChildren's Game, Deduction, Dice, Racing
MechanicArea Movement, Dice Rolling
FamilySeries: LEGO Games, Toys: LEGO
Primary NameCITY Alarm
Alternate NamesCity Alarm, LEGO City Alarm, LEGO CITY Alarm

Infos courtesy of boardgamegeek.com. More Infos.

Review: City Alarm – cops and robbers in LEGO
Final word
City Alarm is a nice LEGO game. It would not differ from all the other of the same LEGO group, if it was not for a new moving mechanic, which allows you to walk with policemen and thieves. Players choose from the menu of dice turned with their value down, but they can be always certain, that an already drawn number will not appear again until reshuffle. That lowers chance influence caused by the LEGO dice. Players can now plan their moves in much better manner. Thieves have their goal in stealing all money from the town, policemen has to arrest all criminals. There is a nice helicopter guarding the town, which can protect one building at a time. Another game variants prolong variability. City Alarm is game appropriate for all fans of thieves and policemen games.
Reader Rating0 Votes
Pros
nice helicopter
lots of different buildings, a bay and option to rebuild city
movement does not depend on dice
good for two players
more players bring cooperation
variants
Cons
ending might last longer than pleasant
3
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