We Built This City
I had a great time playing through the original My City game, a fantastic legacy game in which you open up envelopes and stick stickers on your game board as you progress through all the chapters of the game building up a new city each round. Each chapter added a tweak to the existing rules or a new mechanic to learn, games were short and it felt like a great introduction to legacy games for anyone wanting to try one and with a low cost making it even easier to recommend. With some upcoming camping trips in mind, I picked up My City Roll and Build to see if this would match up to the enjoyment of its bigger sibling while being small enough to take away with us.
This is more of a campaign than the legacy game the original was. I don’t want to give away too much of what happens over the course of the campaign although this shares a lot of similarity with the original My City with some interesting changes. In this game you will be drawing polyminos of various shapes and types on a map grid, trying to fill up as much of the map as possible while covering up rocks and trying to avoid covering up trees. Each chapter takes around 15 minutes and there are 12 to play through, split into 4 episodes each scored individually, with a cumulative scoring point at the end of the chapter in each episode. I don’t want to go into how the game evolves and changes, as that’s part of the excitement of the game, so I’ll leave if for you to discover yourself.
To play each player takes the chapter they are playing and then turns are taken by rolling the dice and , firstly, to select the polymino (for those unsure what this is, think Tetris shape), a player will roll three dice, two of the dice have various shapes on them which when pieced together give the building shape you have to draw, and the final one gives you the type of building, which is lined, crossed or shaded meaning you don’t need various coloured pencils. For me the most innovative thing in the game is the rolling of the two dice with shapes on them and putting them together. There may be other games that do this, although if there are I haven’t come across them before, and I think it’s fantastic and exciting every time they are rolled.
As with other Reiner Knizia games, the rules are clear and simple with little ambiguity, which is great, and the game slowly drip feeds new rules each chapter which means it never feels too overwhelming. Each chapter builds on the last and on the start of each new set of chapters a new major rule is implemented which is usually expanded upon through the chapters of that section.
The included pad has plenty of sheets which means you can play through the whole campaign a few times before running out and every sheet is double sided which is another bonus. The art style is clear and functional but nothing outstanding. My only real complaint of the game is that the dice feel really lightweight, cheap and not great to roll. I wish they had invested in some slightly higher quality dice, even if that meant the price of the game was slightly higher. It may seem minor, but with the dice being rolled multiple times each round, it would have been nice if they had slightly more weight and felt more satisfying to throw.
Built To Last
If I found My City an easy recommendation to someone wanting to try a legacy game due to price, ease of play and enjoyment, well this Roll and Build version is almost easier to recommend. You may not be stickering up your player board between chapters in the same way, slowly changing the landscape of the environment you are building up but the way the chapters develop and the new rules are implemented are broadly the same across the two games. Games are snappy and fun, rules are easy to learn and the game builds nicely over each of the chapters. Other than the quality of the dice, there is very little to not like about My City Roll and Build. Joining the dice together and the changing chapter mean that there is more than enough to set this apart from the crowded market of roll and write games that are out there at the moment and whereas most legacy games will end up in the bin once you’ve finished the campaign, with the amount of included sheets this one can stay in your collection for at least a few more run throughs to learn from those earlier mistakes and ultimately build the best city.