Machi Koro from Pandasaurus had been on my radar for a long time. Recently a 5th anniversary edition was released and it took a bit of time and effort before I could get my hands on a copy. However, On my first trip to Target after my second vaccine shot, I saw it on the shelf and scooped it up! It was like picking up a puppy from the adoption center and taking it home to introduce it to all its new game brothers and sisters (that is to say, I have a large tabletop game collection!). I hope Machi Koro is as happy in my game cabinet as a Golden Retriever with a tennis ball! The game was created for 2 to 4 players ages 10 and up, and a standard game plays in about 30 minutes. The entire family was as excited as I was to give it a shot, so we opened it as soon as we got home!
Ease of Set Up and Play
Machi Koro is comprised of two decks of cards, three types of coins and two of the chonkiest dice I think I’ve ever seen in a board game! Each player starts with a Wheat Field, a Bakery and 3 coins. Also set aside for each player is a Train Station, Shopping Mall, Amusement Park and Radio Tower. These are initially face down to indicate they are not purchased and inactive. To win, a player has to be the first to buy all four of these special locations.
This game is great to replay as a gaming group or household, as there are different ways to get to the goal of owning all the special locations. It is also what I would consider to be a moderate strategy game, and as such can be enjoyed by all levels of board gamers. I also enjoy that while Machi Koro is a game that requires thought and planning, it isn’t so complex that you struggle to have a conversation while playing. This is a perfect formula for our home, as we can feel challenged while playing, but can also laugh and catch up during the course of the game.
This may seem like a silly shoutout but I love the mountain on the cover! Living by the coast all of my life, I just really love the imagery of a good mountain vista. They almost seem magical to me! The cartoon artwork of the locations are bright and beautiful. I also appreciate the colors on the top of the cards, as they indicate what type of location they represent. This is important as you can get bonuses depending on the location type (Primary Industries, Secondary Industries, Restaurants and Major Establishments).
As the winner of this game, I enjoyed it very much! I would’ve enjoyed it all the same, regardless of whether I had won or lost. Discovering new ways to earn coins and having to choose which locations to build in my city made for a fun time. I really appreciated that there was more than one way to get to build your city and save up for your special locations.
Bugvilles describes Machi Koro as being appealing “For those who enjoy the capitalistic endeavors of Monopoly, but get easily exhausted by the lengthy play time. This game provides an exciting alternative with a fresh modern feel, providing a whole new gaming experience!”
Truthfully, this has just been a year of wonderful games. For me, gone are the long games of Monopoly, replaced with fresh new objectives and strategy. Machi Koro is an excellent game, which lets players of all abilities have a chance to win. It’s quick enough that you don’t need a long attention span to get the most out of it. It’s a sure bet for me that good times will be had with Machi Koro at anyone’s game night!
*Photo Credit: Variant Berry