Say hello to Quadropolis, the latest table top game to be released by Days of Wonder. Known for making games of a high quality, the release of Quadropolis comes with the hope of continuing that trend. Putting you in the shoes of the mayor of a city it is your job to build the ideal city with the best strategy. You’ll need to outmatch your opponents as you send your architects out to build the best buildings and earn yourself the most victory points.
All in the race to become the biggest, best and most successful city. Quadropolis is a game for up to four players to play together and have a great time in this surprisingly complex yet accessible tabletop game. The question is, have Days of Wonder managed to pull off a great product once again? The short answer is a strong yes but let me take you through why Quadropolis deserves that yes.
Inside the rather huge box that Quadropolis comes in you’ll find a great deal of stuff used for both playing the game and for keeping it nice and tidy.
Inside you’ll find:
- 1 Construction Site Board
- 4 Player Mats & 4 Helpers
- 142 Building Tiles
- 20 Architects
- 65 Inhabitants (blue meeples)
- 1 Urbanist & 1 Mayor Figure
- 50 Energy Units (red barrels)
- 1 Scoring Pad
- 1 Cloth Bag
- 1 Rulebook
Once you have popped all of the game pieces of from their frames there is a nice little reminder that tells you to keep the frames. The reason for this is because if you place them under the plastic holder it raises it up meaning that the space between game pieces and the lid is next to none. Resulting in being able to store and move Quadropolis around without worrying to much about pieces flying about and getting damaged. It’s a small but smart idea that maybe more games need to consider doing.
As for the quality of the different pieces within Quadropolis you’ll be happy to know that they are to a high standard. With each element feeling good both in weight and strength. Solid and robust production stands out here and it is further shown through the beautiful and eye catching artwork you’ll find throughout the whole Quadropolis experience. It is hard not to smile when playing Quadropolis as the cheerful look of it all is just a joy to look at and honestly, it really fits the game.
You’ll even find a mini-expansion within the Quadropolis box by the name of Playgrounds. There is one for each round in a game of Quadropolis and replace some of the park tiles in the set. They play out just like parks however they also come with one inhabitant and do not absorb pollution at the end of the game. These help to mix up the game a bit so it is a nice inclusions in the Quadropolis box.
Pre-Game set up
Quadropolis has two game modes available to you a classic mode and a expert mode. It’s recommended that you play a few games of classic before moving onto expert which change some of the rules. For the purpose of this review I’ll focus on the classic rules and then discuss the changes in expert mode later on. Regardless of which mode you choose to play you’ll find that the set up is very similar.
Setting up a game takes only a few minutes meaning you can jump right into Quadropolis and its fun game rounds. Firstly, you’ll place the construction site board in the middle of the play area, so all players can see and reach it easily. Next, all the tokens are put to the side with the player mats and architects put in front of each player. The helper sheets should be put nearby as well so each player can refer to this as and when they need it. You’ll then need to sort all the building tokens by the number of their back, one through four, and place all the ‘expert’ tokens to one side. Place the Urbanist next to the board, pick a player to go first and then put all the number-one buildings in the provided bag and then start placing them face down on the construction board.
Now depending on the number of players, you have to turn the buildings over following different rules. If the game has four players, turn every building face up. Three player games you leave all the buildings marked with a four face down. In a two player game leave the buildings mark three and four face down. This adds a sense of risk and reward to the game as you’ll have to gamble taking buildings which you can’t tell what they are. Once that is all done, make a cup of tea and get ready to play as you’re now about to drive into the city building that is Quadropolis.
A game session
A game within Quadropolis is broken down into four rounds, with four turns per player in each round made up of four steps. Starting with the first player and moving in a clockwise manner each player will do the following:
Take a building from the construction site
Players have a number of architect tokens each with their own numbers on them which they will use to pick and take the buildings from the construction site. The only rules here are that you cannot place an architect over another architect and your architect cannot point to the Urbanist. If you take the number 2 architect it means that you will take the second building from the edge of the board for whichever row or column you put your architect pointing towards. So to take the top left building you’ll need a number 1 architect and want to place it on the matching edge.
At some point during the game however it might just be that your remaining architect only allows you to take a building you do not want or a square with no building. If this happens then you must place your architect regardless and carry on as normal. This is why it is important to think about your long term goal for your city at the start and grab the buildings you want or need as soon as you can.
Move the Urbanist
The Urbanist is a key part of Quadropolis as you can use it as part of your strategy to focus the other players to take buildings they do not want. Whenever a player takes a building for the construction site you’ll move the Urbanist to that now-empty space so that it occupies it. As mentioned above this means that players architects can not point down the row or column that the Urbanist is in.
Place the building in their city
Once you have your building token it’s then time to place it on your city bored. You need to place the building in a row or column that matches the number of the architect you used to get that building. So for example the number 2 architect would mean you can place your building, let’s say a tower block for example, in a row or column that has the number 2 at the edge. It’s important to note though that some buildings are able to be stacked to expand them and the resources you gain from them.
To stack a tower block you need to have that building token ready to place, with another one already on your board. If then line or column then matches the architect number you can play then play it on top of the other. You can also stack buildings when the architect number matches the floor you want to build. Say for example the fourth floor with the number 4 architect.
In the event that there are no eligible squares in your city or the architect you played only let you taking a building you did not want then you simply discard that building. Note though that if you do so, you skip the next phase as you did not build a building this turn.
Receive resources from the building, if eligible
Once you have built your building for the turn it is now time for the final phase, receiving resources. Looking at the token for the building tile you’ve taken and now built and take the matching number of resources on the card. This can be inhabitants, energy or victory points or even a mix of the three. Because you need to activate the buildings using the resources to score victory points and win you need to manage the resources you have carefully. The bottom right of the building token tells you how much and what you need to activate said building. Bare in mind though that you can re-allocate these resources freely during the game up until the end of the game where you allocate and calculate your final victory points.
End of the round
Once you finish a round and all players have used all of their architects you call that the end of the round. Before moving onto the next round you need to clear all the remaining buildings and then replace them with the buildings all labeled number 2 by placing them in the bag and laying them out, same as before. You’ll do the same for the third round with the number 3 buildings and the same for the fourth round with the number 4 buildings.
After four rounds the game is now officially over. This is now the time to take all your resources and start allocating them to active buildings to score the most victory points you can. It’s important to bear in mind that a building must be activated to score points. Any buildings which are not activated should be removed from play before you start to work out the victory points. Additionally you’ll need to remember that for every inhabitant not used to activate a building or placed as a customer in a shop is worth -1 victory point. Likewise, unused energy is also worth -1 victory point as it is considered pollution. You can however put one, and only one, energy unit on each park you own which voids that negative point. Therefore if you find you have a large number of energy, consider getting some parks to ensure you can lower the negative effect at the end of the game.
There are a number of different buildings in Quadropolis each offering different ways to score victory points. It is important to learn how each of the buildings work and then plan ahead to build a city that gives you the maximum amount of victory points. Shops for example gain points based on the number of inhabitants, or customers as they are called, with a total of four earning you 7 victory points. Factories gain points for each adjacent shop or harbour with them earning you 2 and 3 victory points respectively. The full breakdown of each building and how they will earn you points is included on the helpful reference sheet and this will become an important part of any Quadropolis game.
Now that you under the core gameplay of Quadropolis let me just quickly explain the difference that the expert mode has from classic. Firstly, you’ll flip the player mats over so that there is now an extra column of slots to place your buildings on. The board is now also split into five districts which also offer up a number of different options for placing buildings. For example you can now play a building in a row or column with a matching number or in a district with a matching number to your played architect. Speaking of which, in expert mode there is just a common pool of architects that players pick from on their turn. You turn the architects round so they have a gray border and then also add the number 5 architect to the mix. There must be one architect of each number per play in a game so with two players you use two of each number architect. This means that you can play the same number architect multiple times, so long as they are available to be picked up and played.
Lastly expert mode adds to new building types and also changes up the scoring a bit. The new office tower buildings can be stacked up to five floors and earn points based on the number of floors and adjacent office towers. In total you can grab a stunning thirty victory points with office towers. The monuments on the other hand earn victory points based on the types of buildings they are adjacent to. This can be five victory points for an adjacent park but also a -5 for a factory or harbor so plan accordingly. All the other building types have changes to their scores so it is important for players to study the expert rules and make sure they take all the changes into consideration.
One thing that I was continuously thinking as I played through some games of Quadropolis was that it felt so much more complex than it was. The core gameplay is there and designed in a way that you can pick up and get playing within a matter of minutes. The depth and complex nature comes from the way in which you build your city and how you choose to challenge yourself. Play it safe and go for low risk city or go all in and push for the most points in without any care for risk or damage. Quadropolis is so perfectly designed that it allows you to use as much strategy as you want. You’ll quickly learn what works and what doesn’t and you’ll be analyzing the buildings as you play but still enjoying yourself.
I honestly found myself very surprised with Quadropolis in a way that has lead to me wanting to play it as much as possible because it’s just that much fun. Days of Wonder really have created a stunning game with Quadropolis. Colourful and cheerful on the box art but deep and enjoyable when you get down to the game. Quadropolis is a standing example of just how to make a simple concept for a game solid and robust but not making it to simple that it falls short. No matter how much you play you will keep finding new ways to place your buildings and ways to damage your friends plans.
If you’re looking for a game that you can pick up and play with friends and have a great time then you can not go wrong with Quadropolis. I strongly recommend you look at this one and consider getting it as soon as possible. Even with just two players Quadropolis is a brilliant game but for the complete experience, get four of you around the board as it will be blast. Quadropolis is just a shining game that should be in everyone’s collection.
Quadropolis is available for the RRP of £34.99 and if you’re looking to pick up a copy then check out the Esdevium Games store locator to find your nearest retail store.
This review is based on a copy of the product provided by Esdevium Games.