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How To Play Akropolis

akropolis 2

I love tile laying games. I love easy to learn hard to master crunchiness. I love spatial puzzles. And I am very pleased to say that Akropolis achieves this trifecta of board gaming bliss.

My mighty fellow blogger has reviewed Akropolis, so I am here to give you a quick run down of how it plays. And quick it will be as you will be building like a boss within a few turns!

Set Up

This is straightforward at any count thanks to the handy player number markers on the back of each tile. So, first off, count how many people around your table. Done? Éxochos! Then flip over all the city tiles and pick out the ones with the matching number of minimum players (i.e. 2+ for 2 players, 2+ and 3+ for 3 players, and all the tiles for a 4 player game (I’ll cover the extended 2 player and solo modes in a moment).

Shuffle them up and place them in 11 equal stacks, face down close to all players.

Then give each Architect (that’s you!) a starting tile and a number of stones. player 1 gets one going down to 4th player receiving 4. Well, they’ve got to get something good for picking last!

At the beginning of a round, grab a stack of city tiles and lay them face up in the Construction Site (i.e. drafting pool). They should be in a horizontal line moving away from all the stacks, and before first pick, there should always be 2 more tiles than the number of players.

That’s it! First player (i.e. Chief Architect) is then ready to pick their first tile!

NB: If you want to play an extended version at lower player counts, you can. Just use all the tiles and make 19 equal sized stacks for a 2 player game and 15 stacks for a 3 player game. And If you want to play solo (regular or extended), set the game up just like a regular 2 player game with you as Chief Architect).


Every round of Akropolis you are going to be picking a tile and adding it to your ancient city. Each tile colour/design is a different district types with different basic (and advanced) placement and scoring criteria. The basic rules are:

Houses (blue) – estates are in demand so these need to be placed adjacently to form a group

Barracks (red) – these are your look-outs so they must be on the edge of your city to score

Markets (yellow) – competition is rife, so markets can’t be sited next to each other

Temples (purple) – popular places these, so they must be completely surrounded to score

Gardens (green) – everybody loves a garden, so just having them somewhere is fine!

Stone Supplies

Now you’ll also notice two things about the tiles. The grey hexes – these aren’t mentioned above. These are quarries which produce stone when they are covered up by other tiles. Because, for several reasons, in Akropolis, you can’t just be thinking “out”. You must also be thinking “up”. And why are stones important?

Well, the closer a tile is to those stacks in the Construction Site, the more expensive they become. The first tile in the row is free, but after that, real estate prices skyrocket! For example, if you were to choose the 5th tile in a 3 player game, that would cost you 4 stones! Ooft!

So you need stones, my friend! And luckily, you can place tiles on top of each other in Akropolis! The base layer must be completely covered, mind you. And one upper tile must cover at least two tiles on the layer below it. No hang-over Henries allowed in this game! And don’t forget; after you spend any stones, they go back to the supply(*).

Points For Plazas

The other thing you’ll notice are the tiles with stars on them. Everybody begins with a blue one on their starting tile These are Plazas and these are essential for points! And I mean foundation-bedrock necessary! Because they are the multipliers in this game. So there’s no point having 5 temples or 15 houses unless you also have a corresponding star in the same colour located somewhere in your city. I am no mathematician but even I know 0 x anything is zero! So if you have zero plazas of a certain district type, your score for those tiles will be zero! As such, if you start covering up Plazas, make sure you still have them on show somewhere else!

So once everybody has picked, paid, and laid, the round ends and the unpicked tile becomes the freebie for the next round with the new stack of tiles being unveiled in the row next to it. Chief Architect becomes the player to the left, and it’s building time again! When there is only one city tile left, the game is over and it’s scoring time!

Scoring Time

In the basic game of Akropolis, you’ll score points for visible Districts x visible Plazas of the same colour IF those Districts have been laid according to their basic placement rules. So, e.g. 3 separate markets with 3 yellow Plazas is 3 x 3 = 9 points. 3 separate markets with zero yellow Plazas is 3 x 0 = 0! 3 adjacent markets with 3 Plazas is 0 x 0 = 0!

PLUS, remember I said this game is also about going “up”? Well, if you manage to place any Districts on a higher level, their base value increases by 1 for every level they go up. So a yellow market on level 2 in the above 3 market example will be with 2 points so the total there would be 4 (1+1+2) x 3 = 12! So be sure to add up your Districts before you apply the Plaza multipliers!

Stones are also worth 1 point at the end of the game so be sure to add them into your final score.

Go through each District and fill the score in on the score pad, and the player with the most points is the winner!

Advanced Scoring Variants

Now, if the multiplying mathematicals and spatial puzzliness weren’t fun enough, there is an added advanced scoring variant for each of the District types. As this is some crunchy play even at the basic level, it is recommended that you add 1 or a couple into each game (and I am definitely NOT going to admit that we add them ALL in for brain burn of the highest order!haha):

Houses (blue) – if your group has a value (not number of tiles!) worth 10+, the total housing score is doubled before applying the regular Plaza and level multipliers

Barracks (red) – if any barracks tile has 3 or 4 edges exposed at end game, double its value before applying the regular Plaza and level multipliers

Markets (yellow) – if you can site a market adjacent to a yellow Plaza then its value is doubled before applying the regular Plaza and level multipliers

Temples (purple) –if your temples are on higher levels, double their point values before applying the regular Plaza and level multipliers r – so this could be a multiple multiplying effect if they are on level 2 or 3 o higher!

Gardens (green) – if you green Gardens border an enclosed empty space (called Lakes), their value is doubled before applying the regular Plaza and level multipliers

NB: If you don’t achieve any advanced variants but they are in play, your city will score using the regular rules for that particular District.

And if you’re playing solo, you can add the variants in but beware. The Illustrious Architect you are competing against (who never actually builds a city but rather just collects tiles) will always score the maximum! So it is presumed that they will have achieved the advanced variant scoring for each District AV you add into the game! Check out the solo review of Akropolis for more details!

(*) Bonus Favouritefoe Double Crunch Helping

Now, due to pilot error when we first played a game of Akropolis, we made a snafoo on the rules. Instead of returning the stones we paid back to the supply when we purchased a tile, we popped one (or more) on each of the preceding tiles in the row. That meant whoever picked next (or subsequently) could end up getting stones as well as a tile. And whoeee that ups the trade-off tension to another level! Now, I’m not recommending you break the rules or house rule Akropolis. But we do love double crunch around our table… I’ll just leave this here as a parting gift of the most exquisitely painfully fun sort! You’re welcome! Haha

That concludes our guide on how to play Akropolis. Did this help you? Let us know your thoughts and tag us on social media @zatugames.