Boardgames are fun, but learning all the rules is hard. Every other Thursday, Wil Wheaton introduces you to a new game with an entertaining play through against his friends. Six games so far and they are all excellent fun. Here’s a recap of the games so far this season. Watch TableTop today for another new episode.
We have a few staff favourite board games here at Games on the Drive and I’d like to take this opportunity to share one with you.
I’ll admit that a game like Suburbia sounds as dry as toast: each player makes their own suburb using hexagonal tiles, each tile increasing your borough’s income, population, or renown, until you’re all out of hexagonal tiles to buy, leaving that player with the highest population the winner. City planning might not sound all that exciting, but sitting down to play Suburbia with a few friends can quickly turn into a cutthroat competition of buying real estate, and creating communities with more personality than can be contained on their little cardboard hexes.
Mechanically tiles like airports and landfills help drive up your income, allowing you to purchase more expensive tiles before other players have a chance to afford them. But there’s also a satisfaction to be had in imagining the odd borough that is nothing but a community center surrounded by mountainous landfills, and those surrounded by domestic airports full of people desperate to escape the strange smelly suburb you’ve created. Your friends will laugh with you at your ridiculous design, and then stare open mouthed as you purchase a brand new international airport, giving you a huge cash bonus and rewarding your forward-thinking strategy.
Suburbia was given the Mensa Select award in 2013 and it’s easy to see why. In addition to letting you build a small city alive with its own story, Suburbia presents a problem for you to solve, namely: how to create the suburb that attracts people without sacrificing the two core resources in the game: renown and income. It’s a delicate balancing act that rewards careful, strategic thinking and paying close attention to your opponents moves. Buying up hexes that other players have an interest it can be a sound strategy, but only if you aren’t wasting valuable currency on spite alone. Every hex is an investment, and a poor decision on which tile to buy or even where in your borough to place it can make all the difference between true suburb and misshapen slum.
If you’re a fan of video games like SimCity or board games like 7 Wonders that allow you to engineer your own civic machine and watch it pay off or slowly spiral out of control, Suburbia is a game you will want in your collection.