Tag every surface of your city to become the new all city in this roll-and-draw game. This is Tag City.
Setup And Gameplay
A Tag City game is set up with an HQ board and 9 graffiti shapes in the middle of the table, and one more die than there are players. Each player has a city board and a marker.
The HQ board contains 6 graffiti shapes in a circle, with the die results 1-6 between them, and 3 smaller graffiti shapes in the middle. The city boards show the city laid out on an 8x12 grid, divided into 5 coloured districts.
Each round, one player (the round’s leader) rolls the dice. Each die result has two shapes next to it on the HQ board, and the leader places the dice to decide which of the shapes are available this round. Players then take turns choosing 1 die from the HQ board and deciding what to do with it. Either:
- Simply draw the shape the die was placed with, in full and without overlapping previous shapes, or
- Use a drone to draw any shape on the board but take minus points, or
- Pass the turn but take minus points.
When every player has used a die, the final die is used by all players simultaneously. Players gain points for being the first or second to fill out a full row, column, or district.
The game ends after the round where all rows, columns, and districts have been scored at least once, a turn is passed for the 5th time, or one player has used their 5th drone.
Something For All Player Types
Tag City is a super chill game with the potential to become fiercely competitive.
The rules are short, the setup is quick, each game does not take very long, and your actions on any given turn are limited to deciding which shape to use (if any) and drawing it. A little more if you are the round leader, but even so this is a game you can easily play while watching TV, listening to a podcast, or some other light activity.
At the same time, and again due to the short nature of the game, rows, columns, and districts are filling up fast and you need to get in there at least before the second player does. Can you make do with the inopportune shapes that are left for you, or is it worth it to use a drone? Or even pass your turn?
It’s a game that can suit a lot of different types of player temperaments and moods. Both the city boards and the HQ board have an A and a B side which can be used to scale the game’s difficulty - changing which shapes are available for play or the layout of the districts.
Tag City has a good mix of randomness and choice, and the rounds and turns are designed well to be balanced between players. The combination of rolling dice and one player deciding from a limited list of options what the results can be used for ensures that turns will rarely be identical, but will also be neither entirely based on chance, nor take ages to get moving.
I like that the round leader who chooses which shapes are available is also the last player to pick a shape to draw. And that the extra die means that even if one does pick last, there are always two options.
I also like that you have the option of sacrificing points in order to use a better shape and that doing so helps move the game closer to the end. You have to consider carefully whether using the drone is worth it, both in terms of points and in terms of ending the game. But the option is there if you need it.
Finally, I like that there is a cap on how many times a turn can be skipped before the end game is triggered, as it ensures that most players will get a similar number of useful turns - no one can continue to add shape after shape to the city while the other players cannot do anything.
Theme, Art And Components
Tag City has a strong thematic connection. It’s a game about painting, about covering as much space in paint as possible, and that is what the player is doing too, in miniature. The art of the game itself is vibrant and beautiful and the style suits the theme and setting. While the individual characters on each player board do not do anything mechanically, they enhance the feel and implicit narrative of the game. A cool avatar for your tagging.
The boards and shapes are made of thick, good quality cardboard with a shiny finish that receives the marker lines well while also being easy to clean. Finally, I want to bring attention to the physical graffiti shape components. You do not have to use them in a game, but they are there to let players see the available shapes from multiple angles as well as try them out on the grid. It’s such a simple but, I think, very kind feature.
Tag City is a quick and easy game that’s exciting to look at and has a solid connection between theme and player action. If you like roll-and-draw games, I recommend you give this one a try.