Urban Sprawl is a game for 2-4 players. Urban Sprawl abstractly models the growth of a town into a thriving city into a teeming metropolis.
Players assume the roles of entrepreneur, tycoon and politician -- each helping in the development of a hypothetical "Anywhere, USA." Wealth and Prestige will be earned and spent throughout the game. Buildings will rise only to later be demolished for better and larger fare.
Throughout the game players will gather valuable Permits. These will result in either a wealthy Investment or the foundation of a new building Contract. Players will strive to become dominant in one or more building Zones in order to acquire beneficial political offices.
All of this eventually leads to the end game - a vibrant metropolis that is revered around the world - when the player with the most Prestige will be crowned the winner.
The grid of streets on the board provides the framework for building the small town. The buildings will be placed within the grid and identified with control markers (wooden cubes) to show each player’s contribution to the growing urban area. Each building’s value is determined by the cumulative Wealth and Prestige values of the block in which is it constructed.
At the start of a player’s turn he may discard one or more Building Permit cards from hand as "Investments," gaining Wealth in doing so. Next that player gets 6 "Action Points" (APs) with which to spend on any of the the following activities:
• Acquiring new Building Permit cards from those available to choose;
• Constructing new buildings from those currently available;
• Acquiring a "Favor" -- a Building Contract that only that player can build.
Each activity carries with it a variable cost in APs, depending on where the chosen card lies on the board.
Once a player has spent his APs it’s time for a quick reset phase in readiness for the next player’s turn. It is during this phase that events can occur, elections can be held for the various political offices, and players receive payouts in Wealth and Prestige. Wealth payouts provide funding for new buildings while Prestige payouts provide victory points.
Generally, players will be trying to build in areas that provide better payouts. Players are also looking to construct more buildings of a particular "zone" - Government, Residential, Industrial or Commercial - in order to help them win an election, as the politicians each confer a special ability to the player holding the office. Many of the buildings also provide a one-time bonus as they are built, and players can benefit from construction in the right neighborhoods.
Throughout the game, the values of the buildings will generally increase as the town grows into a city and then a large metropolis. Neighborhoods that were once valuable can become run down and new city centers spring up as the urban areas sprawl out across the grid.
When the game ends, players will conduct a final scoring of each Prestige row, earn points based on accumulated Wealth, and score bonus points for political offices held -- after which the player with the highest Prestige total wins the game.
Playing time is about 45 minutes per player.
Game Development by Kai Jensen
one game board
four player mats
144 wooden cubes in four player colors
four wooden cylinders in four player colors
one orange wooden pawn
• 54 in the Building Permit deck
• 37 in the Town deck
• 37 in the City deck
• 37 in the Metropolis deck
four sheets of die-cut tiles:
• 128 buildings
• 24 Vocations
• 6 Politicians
• 1 Contractor
• 6 Wealth markers
• 3 Prestige markers
• 1 Active Player marker
• 1 Extra Favor marker
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Posted by: khryztophfer (12 reviews)
Date: 2011/12/24 Time: 3:13am
I just played this game tonight - 3 players. It was a lot to take in at first - there are 14 pages of instructions - but once we started playing and got the hang of it, it turned out to be a lot of fun. It took us about 3 hours to play, plus the time we spent reading the instructions, but I think it will take less time on future game plays, now that we know what we are doing. As Galdalf pointed out, there is a bit of randomness to the game, but that's what makes it like real life - things that you don't expect, sometimes happening at inopportune times.
There is definitely a lot of strategy involved in the game, and some head-to-head combat over space on the board (especially if you demolish another player's building(s) in order to play your own!)
I would recommend this game to the advanced gamer who appreciates the time and strategy involved in a good game. Not for people with ADHD or those who are easily overwhelmed!
Posted by: Gandalf (9 reviews)
Date: 2011/12/06 Time: 6:53am
I have played 4 games of this now and have read the comments on The Geek. I really like this game for a number of reasons: 1. I have always liked city building games and for me this is definitely that kind of game 2. I like the way the game plays.It has a lot going on each turn and multiple ways you can win. 3. the sense of the right place at the right time is pretty strong. In general not a game for everyone but for the serious gamer worth a try. To address the two criticisms about the game it does have a long downtime between turns but in the 4 player game we all found ourselves talking about how things looked or planning multiple strategies for our turn. If you have an AP player this is not the game to get them to play. Secondly some find the game very chaotic and random. Yes it is to some extent but I have found that after a few plays to begin to plan for randomness and plan a very flexible response for each turn. You can influence other players in what you do on a turn and you can develop strategies that work. Overall a really good game but not for the faint at heart.