Quadropolis is a city building game from designer François Gandon with art by Sabrina Miramon, and is published by Days of Wonder. Quadropolis can play from 2-4 players and plays between 30-60 minutes. In Quadropolis each player has a team of four architects who are vying to secure buildings from a central board to build in their own city. As players utilize their architects and the central board diminishes, the choices on which buildings to buy become more difficult. After three rounds of play, the player who has the best city is the winner!
At the beginning of the game each player has an empty player board (4×4 grid) which consists of four districts, and rows and columns labeled from 1-4. They also have four architect tiles, also labeled from 1-4. A central board (5×5 grid) and the building tiles for the first round are randomized and placed on the board. The buildings consist of parks, towers, shops, harbors, factories, and public services, and each type is scored in a different manner, for example public services score more points if you have them in more than one district with the maximum points obtained if you have one in each of your four districts. Factories score based on each adjacent store or harbor. Towers are unique in that you can build “up” by placing a newly acquired tile on top of a previously placed tile, and they score based on how tall they become. To obtain these buildings players take turns placing their architects around the central board, pointing at a single column or row. The number printed on the architect indicates which building you obtain. For example, in the image (by Henk Rolleman, BGG) the green player has played their number two architect, and must now take the factory. The building must then be placed on your player board in the row or column which matches that architect with the one caveat being the tower. Towers may also be placed on top of other towers following the same rules, but you also consider the architect’s number as it compares to the floor that you will be building. For example, if you have an existing three-height tower in space [1,2], if you use your number 4 architect to obtain a new tower then you may place that tower in either column 4 or row 4, or you may place it on the existing tower, since it will be level 4 of that tower. When a building is placed on your player board it may also produce either inhabitants or energy tokens. These tokens then are distributed among your buildings and may be re-distributed at any point during the game. At the end of the game, depending on the building, it must be either occupied by an inhabitant or powered in order to be eligible for scoring. Once a building is removed from the central board the Urbanist token is placed in the empty spot, and the next newly placed architect may not be placed such that it ever points at the planner. Architects remain in place until the end of the round, so each new architect placed limits the available rows or columns for future architects. Availability is further reduced by the presence of the Urbanist. In addition, as buildings are added to your player board, you become more and more limited in where you can build your newly acquired buildings. If you are forced to place an architect such that it points to an empty square, then you are out of luck and do not get a building. Likewise, if you get a building but are unable to place it in the proper row or column, then it must be discarded. After each player has played all four of their architects the round ends and the central board is cleared of both the remaining buildings and the played architects. Pieces marked for round two are then added to the board randomly and play continues. The game lasts for four rounds after which final scoring is done based on the building type and whether it is powered and/or occupied. Additionally, each inhabitant who is not placed as a customer in a shop of is occupying a building is worth -1 point, as is any energy token that is not being used to power a building, though each park in your city may be used to house 1 energy token, negating the negative point. Whomever has the most points is the winner with the tie-breaker being the player with the most total inhabitants.
Quadropolis is the featured game for May in Blue Highway Games’ Board Game Challenge. A group of us decided to learn the game after we didn’t make the top table for April’s BG Challenge. I am intrigued by Quadropolis. I am drawn in by the theme of urban planning and I love city-building and tile-laying games. The mechanic of using the numbered architects, correlated to the numbered board spaces on the player board is unique (as far as I know) and makes the game much more interactive than something like Dice City for example where you can interact with your opponents, but it isn’t a good win condition. In Quadropolis, if I was watching my opponents closely enough, I could make plays that force them to use architects for empty spots, or force them to take buildings which they can’t build based on the limitations of their player board. Then again, it is probably more important that I obtain buildings that I need, rather than take something I don’t, just to force an opponent into a bad play. If, however, I had a choice between two buildings of the same type, one of which would negatively impact the opponent, then I may choose that one… assuming the opponent isn’t my wife!
The components in Quadropolis are also top-notch. The tokens and meeples are clear plastic that look awesome stacked on your board, as are the urbanist and start player markers. The tiles are nice and thick, and seemed to be a very high quality, and the artwork is superb.
I am considering Quadropolis for purchase because of how much I enjoyed playing it, but I have several city-building games already (the aforementioned Dice City for one) and so I am not sure if I can justify it. I am also looking forward to more information on the recently announced Charterstone from Stonemaier Games, which is a village building “Legacy” game, though I know that won’t come out for quite some time.
The verdict on Quadropolis is that I quite enjoyed it, and I look forward to getting it to the table again soon. I want to buy it and might end up doing so. If you like city-building games, particularly ones that impose limitations (limitations breed creativity, or so I’m told), then Quadropolis is for you.