The first time I played Town 66 was at the Oink Games booth at AireCon 2023, in Harrogate, UK. Sitting down and having the rules explained to me, I felt quite confident that this game was going to play out in a straightforward manner, boy was I wrong! I played 3 games back-to-back, the simplicity of the gameplay and the challenge of surviving each turn reeled me back for more. The last game I was even confident enough to teach another group how to play and got them hooked on this puzzler as well. Needless to say, after leaving the booth I immediately purchased my very own copy of Town 66 and have played it non-stop, and it helps that the box is travel sized!
Gather Here All Ye' Townsfolk
Town 66’s rules are very simple; on your turn you place 1 of the tiles from your tile stand into the 6x6 grid, with the caveat that no row or column can have the same color or shape in it. The simplicity of playing a tile then drawing a tile each turn keeps the turns quick, which is where this game shines. One of the challenges is knowing when to discard a tile back to the bag, so you have less tiles than your opponents. Because the winner of the game is decided by who was able to keep adding to the town the longest and then by who had the least amount of tiles left in their possession. The most convoluted ruling in this game is figuring out who has won the game, in short, it’s the order of who was able to place a tile and then who has the least tiles on their tile stand. The compact sizing of the game makes this travel friendly, and the tiles and tile stands are very well-made components.
The simple shapes and vibrant colors of the tiles lining up and seeing the shared town come together always puts a smile on my face, and being the last player to place a tile in the town is very satisfying. There is limited player interaction since often I found myself focusing on what tiles I could play, and not looking at my opponent’s tile stands. The tile stands show the color of the tile to every other player, so everyone has limited information on each other’s tiles. The quickness of the gameplay, the compact size, and the ease of playing multiple games in a row all combine to increase the chances that Town 66 is pulled out! If there is a flat surface, you can play this game; we have played at café’s, restaurants, and even on an airplane. Every time a game has finished, the ease of throwing the tiles in the bag and each player drawing 4 tiles means that you could spend a whole afternoon playing Town 66.
A Party For 1 You Say
If your friends or family are missing or preoccupied you can also play this game solo, which sounds very easy until you realize that the options you have are just as limiting as the multiplayer component. To play solo you have 3 stacks of 12 tiles face up, you get to choose which tile to add to the town, and 2 times each game you can flip 1 of the faceup tiles over and match the color instead of the shape and color. I personally like this game best as a solo game since it offers a nice little personal puzzle, one where you try to get the town filled.
One of the things I like about Town 66 is that the game plays in less than 15 minutes, so win or lose you can play again. Another aspect I like about this game is how compact and travel friendly the game is. Despite the impressive quality, one of the things I dislike about this game is the small size of the game pieces. I like how this game engages the left side of my brain and encourages me to think logically. Something I do not like is the the varying lengths of game play for each player, but it is made up by how quick a single game is. I appreciate that this game has a solo mode included that does not feel like you are playing a different game from the multiplayer version.
A similar product that you might like would be Cascadia, it is a tile-laying and animal placing pattern building game. In Cascadia you are building a nature park and each tile will be 1 of 5 different terrain types and can house 1-3 of 5 animals. The big difference is that Cascadia ends after 20 rounds, whereas Town 66 ends after the town can no longer be expanded. Cascadia is a beautiful game that is very relaxing to play.