Little Town is a fantastic game for 2 to 4 players with an on the box play time of 45 mins over four rounds. You will need to put your worker placement and resource management hats on for this one.
This is a great gateway game or one to use if you are experienced but want something a little lighter.
The artwork is lovely. It is colourful and calming. To be honest, it kinda makes you want to be there building a new life along with the chipper villagers who will be living in the new town.
I am a sucker for wooden components and this game has some wonderful ones. The little worker meeple with his axe. The ridges on the roof of the houses. The hollowed star Victory Point markers and Round token etc.
The rulebook is very informative and laid out well. Lots of pictures, examples and diagrams. Every component is pictured and explained. It describes everything it needs to in a concise way.
The game is compact. The box is only 25cm x 25cm x 6cm (roughly 8” x 8” x 2.5” in old money). It will not take up loads of space on your shelf and is easy to transport.
The Backstory (as interpreted by me)
Seeking independence, you trot off to find pastures new and start a fresh life for yourself.
You stumble across the perfect spot. Then you set to work at building your Little Town, directing your workers and making sure they have all they need to ensure joy, peace and success.
It’s not a long back story but a chipper one.
Little Town – How to Play
The objective of Little Town is to have the most Victory Points (VPs) at the end of the game. You gain victory points by constructing buildings, activating buildings and completing objectives.
Aside from coins there are four types of resources to collect: Wood (Brown cube), Stone (Grey Cube), Fish (Blue cube) and Wheat (Yellow cube). These are used to construct building tiles and feed your workers. Some buildings also require you to pay resources before you can activate them.
The upper half of the board is the land in which you will build your new life. Here you will find grassland to build on, lakes for fishing, forests for gathering wood and mountains for stone. Sounds idyllic does it not!
The lower part of the board contains the Round track (“Round Track” as in you have 4 rounds to play. Not “Round Track” as in running in circles…no time for that), VP track, Construction Site and Market.
At the start of the game a pile of five wheat fields is placed in the Market along with 12 randomly selected buildings. There is also the option to use the 12 buildings that have a little picture of a cute Robin on them. This will make the game a bit easier.
Take turns to place one of your meeples on an open square. You can then choose to activate some or all of the surrounding squares. This will enable you to gather the pictured resources, coins or victory points.
Should you activate a building belonging to another player, you must give them 1 coin…a little bit of quid pro quo going on there!
If you are wanting to build, you will first need to send one of your workers to the Construction Site, then check out the Market and:
1) Select one of the buildings,
2) pay its cost (if you do not have enough resources you can pay 3 coins for each one you are lacking),
3) place it on an empty grass space and,
4) claim it by placing one of your House tokens on it.
Just like that your Little Town is taking shape.
Once all your workers are out, the round ends and they are hungry. You can feed them with fish or wheat. If you cannot feed them or do not wish to, they will eat your VPs at a rate of 3 each…so always best to give them a meal! Then pull em back in a get ready for the next round.
Although the objectives are closed hand, you reveal them and claim the VPs during the game, not during end game scoring. This allows a more open scoring method rather than the end game scoring curve balls. Some of the objectives can be left until the last round, but a fair few will need to be claimed as soon as the criteria are met.
Game ends once the 4th round has finished.
Little Town – How it Played
As mentioned in the outset, this is designed for 2-4 players. We enjoyed this game with however many we played.
In a 2-player game over 4 rounds you have 5 workers to use. These are sent out to get you your resources, build your buildings and get your victory points. But remember meeples are peoples too, so make sure you save enough fish and/or wheat to feed them at the end of the round or you will lose VPs. This makes for great training on forward planning and resource management.
We loved the fun interaction. As you have objectives, few workers, and the need to feed, you do have to use your thinky to plan your round. There are also the other players to think about. Could you build a building where they are likely to want to activate it so you can get some coinage off them or scarper one of their objectives?
There are times when other players may deploy their workers in the exact same spot where you were planning. It’s always good to have a plan B.
I had an objective to have 0 coins. Every time I got close, people would activate my buildings and pay me money. After hearing my deep sigh, Jude (my 7 year old son) said "Daddy, why don't you just spend your 3 coins for resources then you can get rid of coins and build better buildings"....what can I say?
You don’t get that epically long wait between turns like you do on games like Star Trek Ascendancy (another awesome game BTW). Even with 4 players Little Town generally gives you just enough time to have a sip of your tea and make any needed quick adjustments to your plan before getting back to you again.
One of the reasons I think this is great for all ages and groups is the fact that everything seems to do just what it pictures on the tin. You may at times need to check your objective cards, but everything else details costs and rewards in picture form. This is so much easier and engaging for younger ones or those who may struggle with fully understanding the printed language. It is a great way of giving them some board game independence and can boost their confidence as a player in their own right.
This is an attractive and fun game.
As a base game its great, but there is also a lot of room for potential expansions. Given the price and replayability, the cost to play time ratio is low.
It is quick to set up and not too complex for those who are just starting out or for a chill out game. Not too challenging to exclude newer/younger ones but just enough to make it fun for the experienced.
Normally there is a “Not so Much” list in the reviews, but in all honesty I struggled to think of any. I can do a “What I Would Like to See” though:
- An expansion to potentially include things like: Top Secret objectives that are claimed at end game for extra endgame scoring dynamics, additional buildings, new characters and another board layout.
- Resource upgrade pack with metal coins and custom shaped resources. (Yes, I am one of those who love that sort of thing)
Aahh! There it is…my “Not so much”…Generic cube resources. Yes, they are different colours to represent the types of resources, but I would love to have seen custom shaped resources. Fish, wood, stone and wheat are fairly common shaped components. This would make the transactions and gathering feel more thematic at the same time as taking the aesthetics up a notch.The swing to that roundabout though is that the production costs would have gone up. This would increase in cost in the base game.
So on balance, having the cubes was a smatter production decision to enable more people to be able to buy and play this gem.I love this game. It will be played regularly and I really hope to see it expanded!