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Store:  Strategy Games
Edition:  La Città
Genre:  Civilization Building
Format:  Board Games

La Città

original German edition


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Product Awards:  

Ages Play Time Players
12+ 60-150 minutes 2-5

Designer(s): Gerd Fenchel

Manufacturer(s): Kosmos

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Product Description

Each player is an Italian prince and begins the game with two cities. The first building in each city is the prince's castle. First, the princes must provide food for their people. As the populations of the princes' cities grow, so must the food supplies. With their basic needs met, the people look beyond these basic needs for the services their cities can provide. As the cities grow and seek to provide the services their people want, the princes build schools for education, statues for culture, and public baths for health. Of course, not all cities' services are equal. Those that provide better services for their citizens will attract people from those that do now. In the end, it is the prince that provides the best services for the people that will have the largest and best cities. That prince will win the game!

Product Awards

International Gamers Awards
Best Strategy Game Nominee, 2001
Spiel des Jahres
Nominee, 2000
Deutscher Spiele Preis
5th place, 2000

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Gerd Fenchel

  • Manufacturer(s): Kosmos

  • Artist(s): Claus Stephan

  • Year: 2000

  • Players: 2 - 5

  • Time: 60 - 150 minutes

  • Ages: 12 and up

  • Weight: 2,080 grams

  • Language Requirements: Game components contain some foreign text, possibly requiring occasional reference to rules translation. An English translation of the rules is provided.

Product Reviews

 
 
 
 
 

Average Rating: 4.4 in 25 reviews

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Without food you can not grow
March 07, 2004

After reading over the reviews of LaCitta, I was supprised by two things: That the length of time to play the game was listed as 2 hours, and that some reviewers felt that a large city would continue to grow at the expense of the other cities.

We play typically with 3 players, and games last around an hour. Only with 5 players did the game take 2 hours, and that was our first play as well. Even with four we still finish in under 90 minutes.

Second, while a large city can suck people from neighboring towns, this is not always a good thing. Extra people eat extra food, and it can be nearly impossibly to feed extra people in the last round of the game. When people starve, the player who controlls the city loses an action (or points in the final round). Starving people can also cause a city to shrink in size.

Because everyone has only 5 actions per turn, for a player to grow one city rapidly, it is at the expense of his or her other city. If they don't concentrate enough on farming as well as advances in culture, education, and health, then they will be fighting an uphill battle to feed the rush of immigrants.

Better still, a city that loses a person a round may not grow easily, but can still be a wonderful souce of farmland, mining, and with a hospital and a statue, cheap points at the end of the game.

If one city is getting to large, and the person who is in charge of it is winning, feel free to wait until they are low of actions and have just enough food to feed what they expect to gain in people. Then build a new, small city right nearby and then grow into competition with them. No matter what swear words they utter, know that they really are just thanking you for the extra mouths to feed.

This game is one of the best I own. I can't recommend it highly enough.

 
 
 
 
 
Keep your city exciting, or everbody's moving next door!
March 06, 2004

With so many of the same tile-placing games showing up now, it great to see that people are still talking about La Citta. It combines placement, building a city, tight competiveness, and long term planning, in an easy to grok game.

Build your city, and give everyone enough, schools, culture, and other attractions, or your town will shrivel in favor of more exciting towns nearby.

If there's anything I'd knock about La Citta, it is it's potential for one player to become a runaway train, with a city that crushes every neighbor unless everyone else unites against him.

But the pieces, the play, and the overall them are clever and classy. This is one of the big ones that my game group comes back to again and again.

Who's in?

 
 
 
 
 
I love this rich game.
March 04, 2004

Few Euro-style games have this many complex features and are still accessible to everyone.

It has tons of beautiful pieces, and a giant boarad as well.

You must build your city--without messing up--and do it in a way that it sucks away people from neighboring town.

If there's one concern here, it may run a little too long for many gamers. Frequently, the game lasts more than 90 minutes.

It's smart, fun, and pleasantly mean-spirited, too.

I hope it comes back into print soon.

 
 
 
 
 
Complex but worth it (and out of print)
July 22, 2003

The game is well-balanced, interesting, and has dimensions of planning, resource allocation, and competition that make games like the Catan series so popular. People who don't like complex games won't enjoy it; people who like games that make them think about both long and short term strategy with a relatively small amount of luck should.

 
 
 
 
 
When you want a longer game, try this one.
November 18, 2002

I like La Citta because it has all the multiplayer interaction of a good 'Euro-style' game, but it has a bit more beef to it.

You can plot and scheme and build for a good 2 hours--and the game's not that complicated. (I'd say it's about as tricky as Citadels, another of my favorites.)

If 2 hours is a bit too long a session to play, I know folks who shorten play from 6 to 5 or 4 rounds with excellent results.

But start early in the evening, and play out the full, fun game!

 
 
 
 
 
by Bingo
Great pieces, great complexity, great game!
November 12, 2002

This is a great 2-hour game that should appeal to all fans of Settlers and Sim City.

Build a town and, if it's more appealing than the ones around you, your opponents population will be drawn to your town instead.

Of course, if you don't have enough food for all your newfound friends... disaster strikes.

I love this game, because it's very replayable and rich, yet it isn't that complicated at all.

One of my new all-time favorites.

 
 
 
 
 
My new favorite
September 19, 2002

After reading the last review (very negative) I had to chime in with my $0.02.

This is hands-down my new favorite game. I've been an addict of games from this website since I discovered it and bought my first game (Settlers of Catan). Since I introduced that game to all my friends, I have addicted all of them as well. We probably buy at least one new game per month from here since, and this is our new favorite.

To address the doubters: It is a fantastically well-balanced game, as long as you understand how to manipulate the systems. Yes, it can seem like your small city is being eaten alive by your larger neighbor, and there is nothing to do about it. Here's why this is untrue:

1. How did the situation develop in the first place? You knew that the city was next to yours. When he started beefing it up, why did you not do the same? One of the largest parts of the game is keeping an eye on what the neighbouring cities are doing, and making sure to not fall to far behind their development. If you keep up, this problem won't happen.

2. Mis-interpretation of the rules. The first time my group played, we did the same thing many people do: When comparing cities, if one was better than the other on the round, the better would steal 2 citizens; one when the losing player compared, and one when the winning player compared. This is wrong! After re-reading the rules, and reading some online discussions, we got it right. When comparing cities, and your city is better than a neighbour, you take a citizen. If they are tied or you are losing, you do NOTHING. So the most you can lose to one city on one turn is one citizen. Played this way (correctly) the penalty is not too severe.

3. You can catch up if you fall behind. On your first turn, Poll the People. Find out exactly what the desired service for the turn is. Use your other 4 turns to build up that service in your city. Not enough people in the city to build enough buildings to compete this turn? Use a turn or two to build up gold (action card-> get 2 gold) and then use Bread and Games with 5 gold to earn 3 points to add to a building of the appropriate service type. It is possible to compete with that larger neighbour. However, you should still try not to fall that far behind in the first place (see above).

4. If you know you may lose to a larger city this turn, keep a citizen in reserve. One of the biggest mistakes to make is always maxing out your city size. That is, you build one building for each citizen you have. This does increase the amount of services, etc, that your city provides, but there is a problem with this. If you lose even one citizen, you will have to destroy a building! If you had a reserve citizen, you could afford to lose a citizen and not have to destroy a building. This can lead to a downward spiral. If you do decide to max out your city size, make sure you have a building on the outskirts that you can afford to lose if you do lose a citizen.

Anyways, I think it is foolish to disregard a game based on the first playing. IMO, the first time you play the game is a learning experience. Once you have a game under your belt and know the basic strategies, the following playings become much more interesting. My group plays this regularly, and the games are always down-to-the-wire and undecided until the final turn.

As a side note: One player usually tries the mega-city strategy. That is, he builds one big city that terrorizes the neighboring cities in a bid to steal citizens. This player never wins. The other players build up to protect themselves, and if he does win one citizen from one city, he usually loses it to another city anyways, for a net gain of zero. And the whole time, he is neglecting his other city(s), and they fall vicitim to others.

Conclusion: This game is a lot of fun, and tense up until the end. Just make sure to play it more than once, and read the rules closely (we did make a few rules mistakes the first 2 times we played). Highly recommended!

 
 
 
 
 
A super-satisfying strategy event
September 11, 2002

If you want a quick, easy-to-explain board game for the whole family... DON'T PLAY THIS ONE!

But if you want to spent a good, full two hours plotting, scheming, arguing and bluffing, then LA CITTA rocks!

There are lots of pieces, lots to do, simple but complicated planning--and everyone is out to smother you.

What a satisfying game!

 
 
 
 
 
Bits, bits, bits... and a heavy dose of strategy.
September 02, 2002

This game... which has a TON of little pieces, lets you build a city while attempting to strangle out everybody else's city. If yours is more appealing to the population, they'll move over to your city.

While the game can run a bit long (more than 2 hours some times,) it is well worth it.

This one is right up there with Settlers and Puerto Rico!

 
 
 
 
 
Great cut-throat competition in a complex game.
August 27, 2002

La Citta has resource management, bluffing and tactics galore. But at its heart is a mean-spirited wrestling match.

Sure, you're busy trying build up cities and develop your culture. But its much more important that you keep an eye on your neighbors and nip their cities in the bud.

If you can box an opponent's town into a bad spot, he'll quickly run out of food and water. You'll siphon off his dissatisfied population throughout the whole game.

 
 
 
 
 
I'm surprised more gamers don't know about this one!
August 26, 2002

La Citta is rich, rewarding, cut-throat, and has tons of great pieces! I've played it six times now, and it's still going strong.

One tip: Play for only five rounds, not six. It makes the game shorter, and adds a bit of uncertainty as to which city features will be in demand.

This is possibly my highest rated game (out of hundreds.)

 
 
 
 
 
by Brett
If you like a challenge, you will love this game!
July 10, 2002

I find La Citt to be a very stimulating game experience. I disagree with those who have suggested that this game is like Settlers of Catan. I consider Settlers of Catan to be a rather simple, lets-all-get-along type of game. La Citt is more like a knock-down drag-out fight as the players scramble to get citizens, keep citizens, attract more citizens, and feed citizens. The game moves fairly quickly despite the complex strategy involved.

I have played this game with 3, 4 and 5 players. And much to my surprise, this game was outstanding in all 3 scenarios. Due to the flexible game board, the game is virtually identical regardless of the number of players. Having said that, I must admit that I myself prefer the 5 player version because it feels the most 'challenging.'

I think the game that is most similar to La Citt is Tigris & Euphrates. Both games involve building cities (or kingdoms) while maintaining a balance of services. Both games have conflicts which ultimately decide who succeeds and who fails.

I like this game because I find the game play to be intense and I like the idea of building cities in hopes of attracting people to live there. However, this is not a light game. It is very deep and the strategy can be mind-numbing as you try to balance all of the goals that the game presents.

 
 
 
 
 
by Doug G
Complex, fun, and Great Bits!
February 24, 2002

I've now played this great game 3 times, twice with 4 players and once with 2, and each time it has been an enjoyable experience. What starts as an interesting attempt to juggle resources can become a fierce competition for population (the ultimate determiner of victory) as opposing cities come into conflict.

Others have compared this game to Settlers, and I agree, though I find this game MUCH more interesting, with more complexity and thus much more to pay attention to. The one drawback can be a bit of analysis paralysis, but there's enough to think about on your own moves that planning can happen while others decide their own fates or mess with yours.

 
 
 
 
 
Settlers II or not?
April 03, 2001

Definitely NOT.

BAD THINGS:

  1. As in Settlers, the game is suffering from what I call: '1 strike and out'. If you have made a mistake it can be so expensive that you'll have absolutely no chance of winning it back. And as others say it: 'I hate to play a game for 1-2 hours with no chance at all of winning.'.

GOOD THINGS:

  1. Nice replayability.
  2. Nice layout and good materials--I just love cards with rounded corners.
  3. Simple to learn but hard to master.
  4. Good versability in number of players.
  5. Good theme--I actually feel I'm building a city. Something lots of games try to do, but don't succeed in.

 
 
 
 
 
by Kevin
Excellent Game! Great replayability!
December 30, 2000

I've played it half a dozen times now, and with the ever changing board each game, quick game play (about 1/2 hr per person playing), and different strategies for different numbers of players, it is a great game.

You have many options, but can't do them all. Just make sure you get food... it is a key part of the game. But then you must make sure you keep it.... About the only tweak I would give would be a way of purchasing some food production or having a large building of a machinery farm which produces double. (with a max. of 5 food for any given farm or machinery farm)

Great last player strategy in 4 or 5... squash the 1st player bonus location if he/she is too greedy, trying to lock everyone out of top food spots. Especially ruthless when crushing the outside 2 food...

 
 
 
 
 
Wonderful game of city expansion
September 20, 2000

This is a wonderful game of expansion and city control. It appears a lot more balanced and controllable than Settlers (for example). It has a really nice balance between all the different elements of the game you need to control the board; expanding too fast, or cutting off your options can be extremely hazardous, as can be expanding your ability to take citizens from other cities without increasing your food supply. It is a game of many trade offs and difficult decisions.

Really impressive game; I have been enjoying it immensely.

 
 
 
 
 
by Fred
Worked well with 5!
January 07, 2002

I've played this a few times since my past review. 2, 3, 5 players. I had thought 5 players would be a nightmare scenario, but it actually went very well! Though predictably long (the formula being 30 minutes x number of players = La Citta game length). If you can stomac the game length, the game will pleasantly surprise you.

Sample game session:

Final scores for the five players: 30, 29, 28, 27, 26, 17. Range in cities by game end: 1-3. Strategies: varied, in spite of closeness in game scores.. some people went with a couple of large cities, others with 3 smaller ones. Some people went heavy on quarries, others on farms. Others gambled on Golden Times and Harvests to barely keep from starving people.. quite a mess. It was a pleasure to see the board grow.

I still think this is one of the best values for the money spent. Lots and lots of high quality components.

 
 
 
 
 
by Fred
Good for 2 players - not light fare though
August 28, 2001

I bought my own copy recently after having played a friend's. Some comments: (1) You get a lot of very good quality stuff for your money--that's always nice. (2) The game has a lot of meat in it but it's not that hard to explain. (3) I think it plays best with 2 players, strictly from balance and game length considerations. (4) It won't be seeing much game time from the light gaming crowd, and the hardcore gamers will likely prefer [page scan/se=0899/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Princes of Florence due to the faster play. It is a wonderful buy, but it risks gathering dust in your collection. Recommended if you have extra money in your pocket.

 
 
 
 
 
Very good Catan derivative
June 23, 2001

A quick read through the other reviews of La Citta will show that there is a definite Settlers of Catan feel to La Citta. While this comparison can be seen as a blessing, it can just as easily be seen as a curse.

La Citta is very definitely in the same vein as the Spiel des Jahres winner, but takes off into its own unique territory. The game relies far less on luck than Settlers, and--as others have stated--this means that bad play can result in a huge loss.

Is this necessarily a bad thing? No. Think of this as a cross between Settlers and [page scan/se=0035/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]chess. Make a stupid move in the opening moves of chess, and a player will pay for it throughout the game. The same holds for La Citta. This is a strategy game, not a light family game, and should be approached with that mindset.

Is La Citta a luckless game? No, but the luck factor definitely takes a back seat to good planning. The only luck factor that plays a major role in the game is the distribution of the Voice of the People cards, and even this allows a good strategist to cut his losses accordingly. Initial placement of castles is every bit as important as it is in Settlers, but using the standardized setup will result in a relatively balanced game.

How does the game differ from Settlers? In several major ways. There is no trading between players, and there is no luck to the acquisition of the very few commodities. There is much more of a developmental feel to La Citta, somewhat like The Settlers of Catan Card Game, as specific buildings provide specific benefits.

La Citta scales quite nicely from 2 to 5 players, but with a commensurately longer playing time with more players. The players are constantly involved, as there is little downtime between players, and even that time can be spent in strategizing and figuring out whether you have enough food to feed your anticipated population at round's end.

This is not a game that is going to knock your socks off, or one to play with Aunt Millie from Hoboken. This is a game for thinkers, who want something deeper and more satisfying than Settlers of Catan, but want a similar feel. Recommended.

 
 
 
 
 
"Feed the people" or be left behind.
December 11, 2000

La Citta is a frustating game where you have to balance feeding people, income and building the right buildings to win. By turn two of the game, you are basically building a few farms each turn to feed your people. My dad, step mom and myself were calling the game 'Feed the people'. The game has a few problems but are easily solved. We tried using the full board instead of the restrictive board. These really opened the game up and you can still build by other cities attempting to 'steal people'. Otherwise, the board gets cramped. We eliminated the 'double whammy' of people migration. The way the rules are written, if your city is outnumbered by another city in a category (education, culture, health), when you check your city, you lose one person. Once the other player checks his city, you lose another person.

Otherwise except for these minor problems, we have enjoyed playing it. After one game, we were starting to pick up on the strategy and 'count' the colored arches and see if you had enough food. I don't know how they produce a game with fine components for the cost. It's a gamer's game since you really have to think, concentrate and pay attention.

 
 
 
 
 
Balance people, food and expansion to win
August 05, 2000

Its play mechanisms are very similar to Settlers of Catan with the initial placement, but the game is much more complex than that. The basic struggle is to balance your city's culture, education and health so that your citizens will want to stay and you'll be able to attract citizens from your opponents' cities. Then, your people need to be fed. If you starve your people, they'll run off and look for berries and nuts in the wilderness and disappear and you'll have one less action you can play in the following year. Each game takes about 1.5-2 hours, but is well worth the time. The player with the most citizens residing in their cities wins.

 
 
 
 
 
nice bits, but nothing to write home about
April 21, 2001

Physically very nice. But so-so as a game. It requires skill but our group didn't enjoy playing it (we played it twice). If you fall behind in a city you enter a vicious cycle where you continuously lose from that city. Most of the card plays are obvious, and it boils down to a negotiating game. It's not bad, but it's not good. With so many other great games out there, no reason to play this one.

 
 
 
 
 
by Greg
Don't fall behind early or you're dead!
November 14, 2000

The game has beautiful components and some clever rules systems. It takes skill and negotiation to win. But if you fall behind in a city it can be almost impossible to come back. And it's frustrating to play a 2+ hour game with no chance of victory.

 
 
 
 
 
by Ben
Lots of choices, but...
September 12, 2002

I hate to rain on the party, but I can't handle seeing any more 5 star reviews of this game without giving by input. This is the only game I have owned that I have never wanted to play again. It sounded so good from the reviews, but my game experience was completely different.

The problem I had with this game is the mechanics basically guarantee that the player with the largest city will continue to grow at the expense of his neighbors. Citizens leave smaller cities to migrate to the large, and in doing so eventually abandon ammenities that would allow that small city to pick up citizens later. The game was a complete blowout with absolutely no competition. Decisions about what to do in a turn seemed arbitrary.

I would compare this game to Settlers of Catan, but never Euprat and Tigris (my favorite game) except for loose theme similarities.

If I simply had a bad experience with this game, it was bad enough that I did not regret selling it after one play, despite the beauty of the components.

 
 
 
 
 
by Jae
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
May 18, 2003

To start with, this game is far from ugly.

It is actually quite attractive. Unfortunately this is as good as it gets.

There are far too many bitz, and that makes this game a nightmare to set up and tear down.

The game is interesting on paper, but becomes a practice in tedium during game play.

Pieces are far too little and far too many.

I was all but too happy to unload this game at the first chance I got. I traded it for the much better game, Tikal.

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