First let me say that this is one of the best building games I have played in a long while. Having said that I will now mention the couple of things that we didn’t like, mainly so that I can then fill the page with the things we did.
First off, the board, once loaded is a mess. It is too small and too busy (confusing). The building pieces are colour coded with different shapes specific to each colour. The problem is that under normal home lighting conditions and because the board is so full and small it is difficult to view it with clarity.
The second, and only other, complaint is that the building pieces are supposed to be shuffled and randomly placed on the board during set up. As each piece is a different shape and visual design and colour shuffling isn’t easy. Luckily I had a spare drawstring bag and by putting the building pieces inside it made the distribution easy and random. Perhaps Mayfair could have included a bag ?
There are three types of card used in the game. One of these is a set of Building Specialists - each one is assigned to one of the building types. There are 6 of these. The next set are the 31 Project cards which players can use to predict how the board will look at the end of the game and will score Victory Points if the prediction(s) are correct. Finally there is the main Resource deck. Resources are required to reconstruct the buildings. Each building has a VP value clearly printed in white on it. There is also a resource cost which has to be paid with the correct colour matching resource.
Players have two actions, chosen from a possible four: -
DRAW: The player can draw 2 cards
RENEW: read Build.
HIRE: Pay for a specialist’s help (VPs)
SUBMIT: Play a Project card
These can be taken twice in the same turn and drawing cards means you can draw from the Resource pile, the open cards or the Project piles.
Players can hold as many cards as they want, no hand limit, the only exception is they may only play 3 Project cards (they can hold more). To build (renew - the game is about renovating old buildings) you pay the correct or above (no change given) in Hard Hats (resources shown on cards) the cost shown on the chosen building. You then collect the VPs - also shown on the building - and flip the building over to show its renovated side.
Having Specialists in front of you also give you VPs. Each time a Specialist is bought their marker moves along the skyline and their value (cost and VPs) increases. Specialists can be taken (bought) from the line up or from in front of other players.
When the game ends players cash in their Predictions and add any VPs these give to their running total.
Each of the cards has only one colour resource on it but this may be Coins or Hard Hats. Coins are used to buy Specialists while Hard Hats are used as Building resources. There are also some Rainbow colour cards - the Coins and Hard Hats on these are Jokers, they can be used as any colour.
As I said earlier, this is one of the best building games on the market. The mechanics are simple but offer enough options to make it a thoughtful and strategic game.