MegaCity Oceania – for the Artful Architect
There are many city-building games out there. But how many of them let you physically build the buildings?
As an architect in futuristic MegaCity Oceania, you’ll raise buildings of glass, concrete, and steel, meeting the requirements of contracts to gain the most prestige.
How to Play
Your goal in MegaCity Oceania is prestige points. Gain prestige by completing contracts, building tall buildings, and making sure there are parks with monuments near the buildings you’ve built.
On your turn, you’ll take two standard actions, or choose instead to deliver a building to the city.
Most often, you’ll take building pieces. Reach into the bag and take three random pieces. Or, announce your material of choice (“concrete”), and search the bag for a single piece of that type.
You could also take a building contract (the top card from one of the face-up piles, sorted by type). Or take a platform tile to build on.
Not happy with your choices? Refresh the platforms (cycle the three available platforms to the bottom of the deck and pull three new ones), rezone a platform you already own (flip it to expose a different zoning type), or reorganize the building contracts (move a card to the bottom of its stack).
Building is not an action. You can (and should!) work on building your building(s) during other players’ turns.
If you have a building that can fulfill one of your own contracts, you may choose to deliver on your turn instead of taking other actions. Check that your building fulfills all the conditions of the contract (type, height, number of pieces, and a special requirement). Place one of your colored cubes on it to mark who built it. Then gently slide the platform into position in the MegaCity.
Yes, that’s right – not only will you build a structure, you must physically deliver it – and it can’t fall down. If that happens, you take all your pieces back and forfeit your turn.
After a successful delivery, choose from bonus optional actions like placing a new park or setting up a monument in an existing empty park. A monument gives prestige to all the buildings surrounding that park at the end of the game.
And of course, you will get a bonus prestige point when delivering the new tallest building, or a building made of a single material.
After the last building contract card is taken, a special set of Landmark contracts come into play. These are more difficult and worth a lot of prestige points – but you can only take one if you’re all done with standard contracts.
Once the last standard contract card has been completed, each player gets one more full turn. Then each player gets one last choice. Play it risky and try to deliver one last Landmark contract – but you only have one chance! If it falls down – even while building it – you’ll take all the pieces back. The safer choice is to recycle all your pieces and receive a single prestige point.
Once all players have made their choice to deliver or recycle, it’s time for final scoring. Claim prestige tokens for buildings next to monuments and receive awards: specialization in each zoning type, tallest building, and any player who has created buildings in all four zoning types also gets an award. Lose points for pieces you have left over. And don’t forget to tally up the prestige points from each completed building contract!
Who can claim the most prestige?
The very first time I saw MegaCity Oceania, I was struck by how the pieces looked like Tokyo Jutaku – unsurprising since Jordan Draper is one of the designers. But in this co-design with Michael Fox, there are fewer restrictions on how to build, resulting in a more rewarding experience for would-be architects of all ages.
The components in this game are fantastic. The plastic pieces making up the glass, concrete, and steel are thin enough to be a little unstable when placed on end, but thick enough to be used with others to build a solid structure. There is only a little bit of iconography to learn to play, and the requirements and restrictions are extremely clear. Hub Games has done a remarkable job crafting a game where the end result just looks awesome on the table.
Contracts all have restrictions for minimum height and exact piece count. Each contract will also have an architectural requirement: avoiding building materials, including a courtyard or archway, or building with no overhangs (the hardest, in our opinion). But none of these restrictions are truly onerous. Instead they seem to be just enough to encourage creativity.
Surprisingly, your biggest restriction will be gravity. You’ll want your building as stable as possible so it doesn’t collapse in delivery; but can you eke out just a little more height and get taller than the tallest building? There’s a pleasant tension here and it reminds you that this is in fact a multi-player game.
It’s incredibly rewarding to craft a structure that looks just the way you want – especially if it gives you bonus prestige!
There’s a significant dexterity component to MegaCity Oceania. You don’t lose much if your building falls down, but if it happens repeatedly, it’s frustrating. This isn’t a game for shaky hands or pounding on the table.
There’s not as much player interaction as we expected for a competitive building game. You can snipe a contract card that your opponent is eyeing, or build a taller building to take away end-game points, but most actions will have no effect on your fellow players. This isn’t necessarily a negative for our family, but until it’s time for end-game scoring, MegaCity Oceania feels more cooperative than competitive.
The parks and monuments seemed just a little confusing for a game that should be accessible to children (the box suggests ages 8+). The rules do suggest a simplified version, which we played several times and enjoyed.
Strategy combined with set collection, blind draws, and dexterity makes MegaCity Oceania stand above other city-building games. It’s just plain fun to construct your buildings and watch the city grow.
If you have a budding architect or two in your family, get them MegaCity Oceania and watch them construct a futuristic city beyond your imagining.
The Family Gamers received a copy of MegaCity Oceania from Hub Games for this review.
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Age Range: 8+
Number of Players: 2-4
Playtime: 45-60 minutes