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Chinatown

#2 ALBS


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Product Awards:  

Ages Play Time Players
12+ 60-90 minutes 3-5

Designer(s): Karsten Hartwig

Manufacturer(s): Alea

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Product Description

Wheeling and Dealing in New York in the 30s. The world economic crisis is over--and like springtime, the city is flowering again. This is particularly true in Chinatown, that exciting quarter on the south side: new businesses, offices and restaurants spring from the soil like so many tulips or daffodils. All want to succeed and grow even larger. Here there is money to be made, be it over or under the counter.

Difficulty: 2/10

Product Awards

International Gamers Awards
Best Strategy Game Nominee, 2000
Spiel des Jahres
Nominee, 1999
Deutscher Spiele Preis
9th place, 1999

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Karsten Hartwig

  • Manufacturer(s): Alea

  • Artist(s): Franz Vohwinkel

  • Year: 1999

  • Players: 3 - 5

  • Time: 60 - 90 minutes

  • Ages: 12 and up

  • Weight: 1,010 grams

  • Language Requirements: Game components are language-independent. An English translation of the rules is provided.

Contents:

  • 1 game board
  • 150 markers (30 in each of 5 colors)
  • 90 business tiles
  • 180 cards:
    • 85 building cards
    • 9 economic situation cards
    • 81 cash cards
    • 5 summary cards
  • 1 starting player tile

Product Reviews

 
 
 
 
 

Average Rating: 4.4 in 9 reviews


 
 
 
 
 
by Fred
Makes Monopoly Obsolete - Great!
November 03, 2001

One of the truly great benefits of the past 3-5 years' worth of German games is the rising intelligence and quality bar, the ever higher expectancy for great gaming that the consumer has been educated with. We have all (at least, many of us) sat through hours of Monopoly, knowing full well that someone with a complete set was going to skin us alive sooner or later. There was nothing we could do. Or if you had the upper hand, you could have watched TV while the dice kept their interminable rolls, the outcome as certain as death and taxes. And games like Monopoly, etc. did precious little to allow or encourage 'come from behind' strategies, or kingmaker, or develop skills much beyond the ability to score some lucky dice rolls.

Then comes Chinatown, as an obvious antithesis and replacement. It allows and encourages negotiation for properties and content, continues to stress basic math skills, provides (albeit with drab artwork) a board-wide suspense (as opposed to the 15-20 times around the track for your shoe). It is also very cheap, considering the game has now paid for itself many times over the past few decades. It's a really good deal with gamers in mind, first and foremost, and for that I am grateful. My two little kids won't be exposed to Monopoly in my household... they'll go straight through to Chinatown.

Why 5 stars? Because of high replayability, ease of learning, and value. It could have been prettier (it's not Tikal), but I don't know how to suggest that without making all the activity on the gameboard more confusing. After you play this one, you (like me) may one day take a second look at the so called 'classic board games' and scratch your head. I think advertising and distribution are the only reasons Chinatown doesn't sell tons. Its appeal is so wide, it's a shame, really.

 
 
 
 
 
Super
November 02, 2000

As a purely negotiating game, this is not to everyone's taste. After all, you get to play a salesman in this game, promising the world while looking out only for yourself.

The fact that the game is so quick (or should be if you don't have dawdlers) makes it a member of the 5-star club. If the game takes more than 45 minutes, you're missing the spirit and probably not having such a good time. So, sit down, lie, cheat, steal, and do it quickly. That way, your deceit may go undetected and for those not so adept, the misery will be over soon.

The only problem with the play mechanic is that you have to meticulously keep the used cards separate from the leftovers which are to be added back to the deck. One player slipping up on this bit of paperwork can bring the game to a screeching halt.

 
 
 
 
 
Diplomacy minus war!
July 31, 2000

This is a really intense game. I'd describe it as the non-wargame version of Diplomacy. Players negotiate to get control of connected territory, businesses to put on that territory, and money. Others have given excellent reviews on how the game plays, so I won't duplicate their efforts. I'll just say that anyone who enjoys wheeling & dealing will want a copy of this game.


Show all 9 reviews >

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