Players: 2 to 4
Game Length: 30 minutes
Best enjoyed: With 2-4 players who want a light dice-rolling game where they build a city!
Machi Koro is a simple Japanese dice and card game that combines elements of Settlers of Catan and Dominion. The name Machi Koro loosely translates to ‘Dice City’, and each player will be separately developing buildings for their city that allow them to gain extra income based on the roll of the dice.
Each turn of Machi Koro will start with the current player rolling dice. Depending on the result, players may each receive money or take money from other players, then the current player has a chance to buy new buildings to add to her city – provided she has enough money! The first player to build all four major improvements in their city will be the winner.
A number of the buildings give players the opportunity to gain money even when it’s not their turn, and others allow players to take money from the player who rolled the dice. In this way, each player stays invested in the game and will pay attention to the result, even when it’s not their turn. Hoping for the result that allows you to buy the next crucial addition to your town and keep you ahead of the opposition will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Obviously, as a dice-driven game, Machi Koro is heavily luck-based. There isn’t much strategy to the game, except for choosing when to start rolling two dice on your turn instead of one, and whether to focus on particular dice results or get a range of building types to get something out of almost any roll. However, for beginner boardgamers or those who want to roll a bunch of dice, there is a lot to enjoy in Machi Koro.
Machi Koro plays well from 2 to 4 players, becoming a subtly different game with more players as certain buildings become more useful, such as those that give money on any player’s turn or take money from others.