Game Buzz: Quadropolis

Days of Wonder was founded on the principles of providing quality family entertainment with very high production values.  Over the years, they have released some of the defining titles of our hobby – Ticket to Ride, Memoir ’44, and Small World are among them.  In 2014, they started to explore the more advanced game market with the release of Five Tribes.  It’s been a year and a half since that game was released (they traditionally space out their releases to make sure they’re producing the best possible product), and now they’re coming at us with another more advanced game called

image by BGG user W Eric Martin
image by BGG user W Eric Martin

Quadropolis is the first game from French designer François Gandon.  It’s a game for 2-4 players that takes 30-60 minutes to play.  In the game, each player will be building their own metropolis, but are competing for the structures that will be placed there.  The game is due to be released in March.

In the box, you’ll get a construction site board (a 5×5 grid), four double-sided player mats (4×4 for classic mode, 4×5 for expert mode), 142 building tiles, 20 architects, an Urbanist pawn, a Mayor pawn, 65 Inhabitants (blue meeples), 50 energy units (red cylinders), a scoring pad, and a cloth bag (as well as the rules and player aids).

There are two modes of the game, classic and expert.  I’ll start with classic, as that’s the way it’s recommended you learn the game.  You’ll sort out the buildings, marked 1-4.  All the #1 buildings go in the bag, then you’ll draw them out and place them facedown on the construction site.  You’ll then turn them face up (but not all if you’re playing with fewer than four players).  Each player gets a mat, a player aid, and the four architects of their color (numbered 1-4).

A game of Quadropolis plays over the course of four rounds, with each round consisting of four turns.  On your turn, you follow four steps:

  1. Take a Building from the Construction Site.  To do this, you place one of your architects in a row or column on the construction site.  The number of your architect indicates which building you’ll be taking from that line.  You can’t cover another architect with yours, and you can’t play in the same row or column as the Urbanist.
  2. Move the Urbanist.  Take the black Urbanist pawn and place it in the newly created empty space.
  3. Place your Building in your City.  The row or column you place the building in must match the number of the architect played.  Some buildings can be stacked, so the row or column must match the architect OR the floor must match the number of the architect played in order to make the stack.  You may have to discard the tile if you can’t place it.
  4. Receive Resources.  You’ll get energy or inhabitants based on what you built.  These are needed to activate your buildings at the end of the game.

Once everyone has taken four turns, the round ends and the construction site is cleared.  You’ll repeat the process with the #2 tiles in the second round, #3 tiles in the third, then the #7 tiles in the fourth (just kidding – it’s the #4 tiles).

After the fourth round, it’s time to score.  You can allocate your resources throughout the game to the different buildings just to keep things straight, but you now have a chance to do one final reallocation.  Any resource NOT used in the city loses a point.  Each building has different ways to score – Tower Blocks will score based on the number of floors (1-10 points four up to four floors); Shops score for having Inhabitants visit the shop (1-7 points for up to four Inhabitants); Public Services score for being present in different Districts (1-14 points for up to 4 Districts); Parks can use excess energy and also score for being adjacent to Tower Blocks (1-11 points for up to four adjacent Tower Blocks); Harbors score for being in a line (1-12 points for up to four in a line); and Factories score for being next to Shops and Harbors (2 points per adjacent Shop, 3 points per adjacent Harbor).  The player with the most points is the winner.

The expert version of the game uses a 4×5 mat instead of a 4×4 mat, and last 5 rounds instead of 4.  You may now place buildings in Districts that match your architect, as well as matching rows or columns.  You also play from a common pool of architects, which now are numbered up to 5.  There’s one of each number per player, and you may be able to play several architects of the same number in this way.

Additionally, there are two new building types: Office Towers may be stacked up to 5 floors and score based on their height and adjacent Office Towers (0 points for a solo 1 floor Office Tower, all the way to 30 points for five adjacent 5 floor Office Towers); and Monuments score based on what they are adjacent to (-5 for Factory/Harbor, up to 5 for a Park).

image by BGG user goomba_
image by BGG user goomba_

To me, this game looks like a puzzle more than anything.  There’s interaction in that you can block people from getting tiles they need with architect placement, but it’s mostly about building your own area.  In that respect, it seems a little like Suburbia, though I think the puzzle aspect here might be a bit stronger as you really need to work out which architects are needed when, as well as where to place stuff once it gets to your city.  To me, it looks like a pretty good game, but I can hear the multiplayer solitaire critics sharpening their pitchforks as we speak.

Days of Wonder always does a great job with their productions.  You can be sure that, whatever they produce, it’s going to look good and it’s going to play well because they take their time.  It still may not be for you, but you can’t deny their overall quality.  Quadropolis looks like a good entry into their line, and while I don’t think it will be as popular as Five Tribes, I think it looks like a pretty decent city building game.  We’ll see what people think when it comes out.  Thanks for reading!

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2 comments

    • I’d be happy to be proven wrong. It just seems that DoW’s track record is that they release a popular game, then the next several titles they release don’t do quite as well. For example, after Small World, we got Mystery Express and Cargo Noir, neither of which really caught on.

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