Board Games

Welcome to Tiny Towns

Every year, thousands of board games are released to fill eShops and Local Game Stores. For better or worse, some games end up going unnoticed or underappreciated during their release. One of 2019’s releases that managed to slip past me was Alderac Entertainment Group’s Tiny Towns designed by Peter McPherson for 1-6 players.

In Tiny Towns, each player becomes the proud mayor of their town, which happens to be an empty 4×4 grid. Each player will take turns naming a building material that all players receive and must place in their tiny Excel spreadsheet. Each space in their town can only hold one cube, so area quickly starts to become limited.

After each player places the resource for that turn, players can build one of ten possible buildings if the configuration of construction materials on their board matches the pattern on one of the building cards. Simultaneously, players will use up those resources and then place their new development from where they pulled resources.

Each building has unique effects that give you special powers or help you score points. However, the buildings on your player board limit where you can build. Each player also has a secret monument that only they can construct with wildly varying abilities. Once a player has stuffed their township to the brim, they are out of the game. Once all players have filled their towns, the game is over, and final scores are tabulated. Whoever has the highest score is the winner!

Tiny Towns starts off as a calm adventure as you hem and haw over what resource you want to name. Quickly, you start to realize the potential in fouling up other people’s plans by calling a building material they really don’t need. It has a surprising amount of interaction for being a game targeted for families.

The building cards you play with each game are modular, which adds plenty of replayability. It can be easily taught and understood by gamers of all ages. It plays in a brisk half-hour to an hour. The wooden buildings and resource cubes have heft, which feels like an excellent value for the $40 MSRP. If you are looking for a game that can be a crowd-pleaser at all player counts and ages, don’t make my mistake at overlooking Tiny Towns.

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