Sorcerer City is a one to six player real time, tile laying game from designer Scott Caputo and published by Druid City Games. Your job as a wizard is to use your magical powers to rebuild the Sorcerer City every year. Move city blocks, reshape your district, expand and rebuild the city over the course of five years. Gain the most money, influence, magic and Prestige. But watch out for the monsters that will turn up at the most inopportune moments to ruin your perfectly laid out city.
Sorcerer City is played over the course of five rounds (or years). Each year players will have two minutes to draw tiles from their stack and lay them in their city. There are not restrictions on what a district can be placed next. However, players will want to lay their tiles so that like districts connect to score the most points in four categories (raw magic, influence, money and prestige).
Over the course of the game monsters will be added to a player's stack of tiles with special abilities and rules that must be adhered to when placing the tile. At the end of the two minutes the players will be able to convert their raw magic in to one of the three other categories (influence, money & prestige). The players then receive prestige and/or influence rewards based on who has the most influence.
Players then take it in influence order to purchase tiles from the market, spending their money in the process. At the end of the round all players dismantle their city and shuffle their tiles including any newly purchased tiles and monster tiles to form a new stack for the next round. New tiles may have bonuses, abilities or point scoring opportunities which will make for more efficient subsequent rounds.
This is repeated for a total of five rounds with the player earning the most prestige at the end of the fifth round being crowned the best magical city building wizard.
Laying out my Thoughts
I want to start off this review by clarifying that it is the deluxe edition that I have been playing. The deluxe edition has some top notch components including the insert having a little recess for the two main boards and the rule book to the metal coins. All of it smacks you in the face of a top quality, deluxe game. But components aside, does the gameplay match the component quality? Well, read on to find out what I thought of Sorcerer City.
I have been truly having such a blast with this game. First round seems quite sedate. You have two minutes to lay twelve tiles. More often than not you can take it easy and there doesn't seem like there is any pressure. Come round two and onward, when you have a few more tiles in your stack, the pressure is felt. And I love it. The time pressure of needing to lay your tiles as efficiently as possible whilst racing against the timer is wonderful. Then throw the monster tiles in to the mix and you have the added complication of how to deal with them.
After laying the tiles the decision to convert your raw magic in to influence, money or prestige is a hard one. Having the highest influence seems very important, but is it worth it, or do you need the money to buy additional tiles. The prestige bonuses and the influence rewards make this choice even more crucial.
The variety in the tiles is pretty decent and the options available in the market always gives players further interesting choices to make. Players can normally only buy two tiles. But if they don't have enough money they might only be able to afford one high value tile or two smaller value tiles. The tiles themselves have scoring opportunities or bonuses on them so what you pick is not an easy decision. Some tiles may allow you gain a tile of certain value for free or purchase additional tiles.
The two player variant which simulates a third player is interesting. When comparing influence to determine who is first, a card is flipped to determine what the dummy player scores. Players know the range that the dummy player will be in, but not the actual value of their influence. Figuring out what to convert your raw magic to is even more crucial in the two player variant as the third player reward is the equivalent of coming last place at a higher player count.
Sorcerer City Final Thoughts
I think Sorcerer City comes together in a really nice package with gameplay to match. The components are beautiful, especially the metal coins, but there is solid gameplay behind it. The real time aspect is fun and forces you to play fast and not necessarily to your optimum. Great fun & fast paced. Check out Sorcerer City if this sounds like your kind of game.