Review: Mad City – city of building and destruction

Mad City - packaging

It has long been my impression, that I live among freaks. But yesterday, my dearest concerns came true. Who else but a fool would build a factory for radioactive waste processing next to residential area? They go from house to house with leaflets, supporting their cause. But I know well, that even the best intentions can not prevent human error. So now I know it for certain. I live among freaks.

And this madness has found its way into board games. Its all because of , who in created a board game called . With illustrations helped him and and their combined contribution was a game, that bears logos of Mayfair and Funfair companies.

In small box of classical carcassonian shape, we get everything we need for building. But first, we have go unnoticed around animal builders, who are calling all the shots on the lid. Inside, player´s can look forwards primarily for sheets with a total of 54 square city tiles. They have different zones drawn on them, whether residential, commercial or factories. Tiles are also intersected by roads and from time to time also by water park. Most of them also have symbols of buildings drawn and those play important role.

Mad City - game is ready

But list does not stop there. Cardboard markers are still used by two dozen contract and 54 scoring tokens. Both of these groups are divisible into six groups for maximum number of opponents. Game is complemented by hourglass, wooden tree, one cube for each player, but especially two-sided boards. Those include private point counter, but also scoring summary and everything in two versions – basic and advanced.

At the beginning of the base game, players get nothing. But because it has fairly simple rules, we jump right into the arms of advanced version. Therefore, each of rivals takes sets of contract tokens (and spreads these four tokens in front of him) and receives also nine scoring tokens. These form square and players should give close attention to their correct rotation (highest value directed upwards). On his scoring card, everyone places token on zero spot. In the middle of the table, tree and shuffled tiles are placed.

Players can now start the first round, which is the same as all subsequent ones. Everyone randomly selects nine tiles and gives this pile to his neighbor. One of the players turns hourglass in the middle and round starts.

Mad City - game in progress

Task is basically simple. By placing tiles into square formation, they try to create the most efficient disposition of the entire city. Players try to create a set of interconnected buildings on territory of the same color, but also for example longest road. Each level has its own scoring, but before players even begin to earn points, they will have to complete tasks of scoring tokens. They have a different number of sides and will stand in the way of player and gaining points.

Players must show show their versatility in first few rounds. It´s not just to assemble together zones with most houses. Rather, players need to clear assignments, when they must acquire land of a specific values. Only then can scoring token be rotated by one side. Only when all obstacles are met, player can get points for this combination.

Gaining points depends on the number of buildings, that are located on the territory. A small number actually does not do anything (for example, two buildings of residential character). Road serves as a watershed, but again, it can be particularly scored. Points for forests and lakes on the contrary are acquired only by one player: whoever finishes first in round and picks up a tree token in the middle.

Mad City - game in progress

To gain more points, players can also use their contracts. Whenever they feel, that they will have the largest number of buildings of some type in current round, they may pick up one (or perhaps even more) matching color tokens. If it turns out, that they really succeeded and have the most buildings, they get another three points as a bonus. Rounds alternate until the moment, when one of the participants reaches end of the scoring scale, which is set to one hundred.

Mad City is a simple game and puzzle in one piece. Each round, players have a slightly different task in front of them. In the basic version, this is gradually repeated, but an advanced version evolves. Because everyone must first grapple with basic number of tasks, before they can even begin to earn points. The more complex the group, the less sides (and thus meet required) it has. Exceptions are highest scoring groups, which are not limited in any way and points for them are scored immediately from the start.

Contract tokens are often very risky and depend only on players, whether they will use them. For us, we usually let them lie in our games. On the other hand, they have potential power to decide entire game and are necessary, if attacking from behind. These three points can then mean difference between victory and defeat. Just be careful, because bad tip leads on the contrary to loss of two points!

Mad City - game in progress

Ranger token (tree), however is forcing players to maximize speed. It is not enough to complete until all the sand runs out, but it may be essential to be first. Sometimes even at the cost of truly imperfect disposition, if pieces have enough parks and water. When someone misses to complete project within a designated time, remaining blocks are randomly distributed in his city.

There is essentially no competition as such, so resulting impression is same in all available numbers. The exception is in two, which has directly in the rules necessitated an adjustment for contracts. This is moment, when both opponents should not see each other´s cities, so they have to take a chance with contract tokens!

Another option applies to all counts and reduces influence of luck, which could otherwise be noted as one of the most distinct cons of the whole game. Originally, all tiles must be placed, so there is not always a chance to build a competitive city. Then its good to be able to directly select from ten tiles and use only nine of them.

Mad City - tiles

We really like, that Mad City is a quick game all of the time. Puzzle element, which wants you to be completed within required time, only spoils impression, that everyone has different conditions. It is therefore not easy to compare results, because chances of points gained are a bit different. This reflects impact of above-mentioned coincidence.

Game graphics is not breathtaking, but rather basic. Nevertheless, we appreciate good choice of colors, which makes it possible to distinguish different areas apart quickly. This is crucial, when every second counts.

Mad City is a pleasant discovery for us. Puzzles can be fun, when you are dealing simultaneously with others. No, it´s nothing new, but it is not easy to make game a real challenge. Different ways of scoring can guarantee it here for you. Mad City manages to keep your attention until the end.

DesignerKane Klenko
ArtistJared Blando, Patricia Raubo
PublisherMayfair Games, FunFair
Year Published2014
# of Players1 - 6
User Suggested # of Players Best with 5 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 5, 6 players
(4 voters)
Playing Time30
Mfg Suggested Ages8 and up
User Suggested Ages6 and up
(5 voters)
Language DependenceNo necessary in-game text
(2 voters)
CategoryCity Building, Real-time
MechanicTile Placement
ExpansionMad City: General Contractor, Mad City: The Capitol, Mayfair Games' Limited Edition Promo Expansion Set #14, Mayfair Games' Limited Edition Promo Expansion Set #8
FamilyComponents: Sand Timers
Primary NameMad City

Infos courtesy of More Infos.

Review: Mad City – city of building and destruction
Final word
Mad City is a very good game for beginners. It tests their ability to build a working city from scratch. It is always exactly nine pieces and their correct combination leads to victory. Compilation of large blocks of same type of buildings still does not necessarily mean your win, because from the beginning of the game, you must first meet basic requirements and show, that you are versatile. Only then, its a real hunt for points. Contracts give a chance to gain points, but they are too risky and you will not use them too often. In addition, game is quite dependent on luck, handing out tiles. Overall, Mad City is fun to play and that is the main thing.
Reader Rating0 Votes
simultaneous puzzle solving
depends on the speed
gamble on contracts
deferred scoring
different ways of scoring
good choice of colors
tests your combinatorial skills
excellent for beginners
tokens of contracts are rarely used
luck can decide the winner
unimpressive graphics
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