on 4 July 2015
LONDON is a card driven game, but also has a beautiful map-board, where you occupy boroughs and eventually may build underground stations, all of which will give you victory points at the end.
Everyone I played this game with was really impressed with the simplicity of its rules, but at the same time with the vast diversity of choices and strategies to win.
The cards basically contain buildings or services (like "Street Lights" and "Sewers") that were made/supplied beginning after the Great Fire of 1666. The art work of this game is amazing, cards and map-board included. There is not a score track in the map-board, but victory points chips (like in PUERTO RICO).
Each turn, every player must perform one of four action. One of them cause the player to increase the poverty in its administration. Controlling the poverty is crucial to a successful strategy.
However, be careful: some cards have a power to really change the game in one's favor, like the Stock Exchange card.
on 3 June 2013
London is a Martin Wallace (a well known game designer) game that is relatively light and accessible. It's a card based game at heart, but one that comes with a board showing districts of ye olde London and a discard area for the cards - but the meat of the game is in the cards and the way they interact.
On your turn, you can acquire districts by paying their cost, which gets you victory points (VPs) and extra cards - this is important as it uses a mechanic (similar to, but not the same as, games like San Juan and RFTG) that requires you to discard cards to play cards. Your cards in fact represent buildings or institutions in London and the card draw pile is set up so that there are essentially three eras stacked up, the most modern (including for example building the tube) at the bottom. So the aim is to build buildings (ie play cards to your tableau) which then get you various benefits in either money, VPs or povery reduction... poverty reduction? Oh yes, one of the nice thematic elements is that as you build up your London, you risk turning it into an overbuilt slum by building too many buildings in too small a space and this will get you negative povery points! These can be ameliorated by owning more areas to build in (ie spreading out your buildings so less slumlike) or building facilities like sewers and parks which reduce poverty.
The buildings are generally one of three types: financial (brown - which generally get you money); civic (blue - such as statues, parks etc which often reward you with VPs and poverty reduction); and political (pink - which usually get you VPs and possibly other benefits). There is plenty of variety in the cards that you can obtain and use, with some tweaking the rules of the game - such as allowing you to exchange more cards or build without discarding the correct card, or use a buidling twice etc etc. Needless to say, there's a lot more to it than I've included here!
Ultimately, it's about balancing your build rate with your area acquisition rate and balancing your buildings which get you money (allowing you to build and buy more) with prestige buildings (which generally get you VPs) and trying not to turn your London inot a slum!
Highly recommended as a relatively light thematic card based game.