An analysis of Machi Koro

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Overview:

Machi Koro, closely means “Dice Town”, is a city-building game designed by Masao Suganuma, illustrated by Noboru Hotta and it was published in 2012 by the Japanese games company Grounding Inc. It is a dice-rolling game which involves 2-4 players and takes about 30 minutes to play. Machi Koro is relatively similar to the famous board game Monopoly, which involves earning money and the buying of properties.

Theme:

You are a mayor of a city and your mission is to earn money and invest in properties to help your city grow.

Mechanics:

Machi Koro is a tabletop RPG (role-playing game). Gameplay includes a set of cards and the use of either one or two dices. These cards consist of 15 establishments and 4 landmarks. The establishments are categorized into 4 groups, according to their colors and effects:
Blue: Earn coins from the bank when any player rolls a matching number.
Green: Earn coins from the bank when you roll a matching number.
Red: Steal coins from an opponent when he/she rolls a matching number.
Purple: Earn coins from other players when you roll a matching number.

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Beside the establishments, there are 4 landmarks. They are the most important cards of the game as they determine the victory of a player.
wpid-2014-10-12-17-30-30-jpg (1)Each card has a certain effect and comes with a price tag and a number. You can use the coins earned to buy establishments or landmarks and the card’s effect is activated when players roll the dice(s) and the total number of the dice(s) matches the number of the card. The coins come in 4 denominations: 1, 5, 10 and 20.
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Rule: 
Each player begins with 3 coins, 2 buildings and 4 unbuilt landmarks. To win the game, you must be the first player to build all 4 landmarks. Each turn, a player start with rolling 1 or 2 dices and end with buying an establishment, activating a landmark or doing nothing. The strategy of the game is simple: you either invest your money in buying more and more establishments to earn coins or be economical, save as many coins as possible and unlock all landmarks the quickest. The landmarks face down when they are still under construction. Flip the landmark cards over when you buy them.

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Personal experience:

Cartoonish drawings of cards and their eye-catching colors are one of my first impressions of the game. The fascinating feature of Machi Koro I realize is that, unlike other dice-rolling games, your victory does not completely depend on the roll of dice but it is also the tactics and strategies that u decide to play along the game determines the result of the game: You can choose to either ‘pay to earn’ by investing your money in buying establishments to collect more money or to save every buck you make to activate the landmarks. This game actually requires logical analysis of which establishments would bring the best outcome at different faces of the game: Depending on what establishments other players are owning, you can decide which establishment would be the most effective to buy.  Besides, this game seems highly interactive as every player can still engage, affect or be affected by each other even if it is not their turn. What I like most about Machi Koro is that it gives me the sense of building something from the ground up and the joy of watching the city I created, which can be found in the famous city-building game Simcity – my favorite and the emerging mobile game Clash of Clan.

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