Since discovering Carcassonne many years ago, I have kept my eye out for new tile-laying tabletop experiences to investigate. To go with that, I have long enjoyed the idea of city-building as a theme for gaming.
Now Bezier Games and designer Ted Alspach have provided me with a way to enjoy both things in a game that is simple to play and teach while being one of the more enjoyable games I've played this year.
The game is Suburbia.
In that game, 1 to 4 players are taking charge of creating suburbs for the same metropolitan city. The goal of the game is to balance buildings that will increase income with those that will attract people to that player's burb.
There are 100 tiles divided into groupings of residential, industrial, commercial and civic structures. Each will have benefits and some will have drawbacks. Some will give a one-shot increase to the player's population. Others will give a lasting change to the player's income and/or reputation, which will change that player's resource collection and population at the end of each turn.
Properties appear on a real estate market piece. The two pieces to be up on the board the longest are free for the purchasing and only cost whatever is noted on the building tile. The other five available properties have increases of +2 to +10 depending on how long those pieces have been up for grabs. Each turn a player selects a tile and that tile is replaced by all of the existing tiles sliding to the right to fill that gap. Then a new tile is taken off the stack and added to the end.
Each tile is marked as belonging to stacks A, B or C. A certain number of each are placed in each of those 3 piles depending on the number of players. A “1 more round” tile is placed in the final C stack and that is how players know the game is about to end.