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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!
Rio Grande Games
Players: 2 - 5
Time: 60 - 150 minutes
Ages: 12 and up
Weight: 2,100 grams
Language Requirements: This is an international edition or domestic edition of an imported item. Game components are printed in English. Manufacturer's rules are printed in English.
- 1 variable game board
- 141 building tokens
- 150 citizen figures
- 32 gold coins
- 65 food tokens
- 74 cards
- 5 summary cards
- 1 starting player marker
- 1 rule booklet
Average Rating: 4.4 in 25 reviews
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.
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.
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.
Show all 25 reviews >
Can you expand from your initial castles into farms producing enough food for your citizens, who gain the winning Victory Points? Insufficient food forces many citizens to flee. Other buildings offer resources or permit population expansion. Buildings represent Culture, Education, or Health. When cities meet, cards representing the Voice of the People are consulted to see which attribute is most in demand; citizens migrate to cities that best cater to their needs. Reusable Action Cards and a constant supply of faceup Political Cards assist your plans. Our plan is to play last year's genteel Advanced Strategy Runner-Up for many years to come.
Butter, not guns. Competition, not conquest. Prestige, not power. History unfolds graciously in this gorgeous game. From Castles initially housing three people, you expand into thriving cities. Buildings, some requiring construction next to essential terrain, are added, provided there are enough extra people in the Castle to inhabit them. Some buildings earn income and resources, while others are required for indefinite population expansion. Citizens gain you Victory Points, but below-par food production compels the hungry to leave and forces you to pay harsh penalties. Buildings represent Culture, Education, Health, or a mixture of these. When cities meet, consult the Voice of the People (a set of cards) to determine which attribute is currently in demand. As citizens emigrate to adjacent cities that best cater to their needs, other cities may lose buildings. Reusable Action cards and a rich offering of faceup Political cards of 10 varieties are at your disposal to assist you in your shrewd plans during a well-spent evening of genteel creativity.
La Città, the new one from Gerd Fenchel, is a substantial game about the growth of medieval cities. Gerd's previous game (also from Kosmos) was a somewhat lightweight affair about growing vegetables in a garden, so this is something of a change of direction.
Each player acts as an Italian Prince and starts off with two castles, each of which becomes the hub of a new city. These cities then expand into neighbouring territory through the placement of buildings at their edge. Eventually, cities belonging to different players will come be enough to become rivals and then citizens are liable to migrate from one city to its more attractive neighbour. Assuming you can feed your ever-growing number of citizens, your power will increase. After six years, the game ends with the winner being the person who has achieved the best level of expansion.
When you receive La Città, the first thing that will strike you is the heft factor. With 121 hexagonal tiles (the size of [page scan/se=0428/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]18xx tiles, but more substantial), 22 large triangular landscapes, a grand board and a multitude of citizens (in 00 scale plastic), this game provides a wealth of bits. "Nice bits" is the early call, as not only the volume but also the quality impress. Kosmos have produced the components to very high standards, with graphics that are good, clear and large enough to please even those whose sight is not as keen as it once was.
The large board is a series of single hex routes around large triangular areas (each the size of 6 hexes), into which the landscape pieces are placed. These are of three types: agricultural areas of varying levels of fertility, which provide food; mountains, which you can quarry for marble and thereby earn gold; and water, which you need for various city improvements. Cities initially start at the confluence of these routes and then expand by placing new tiles at their edge. This is carried out in one of two ways. Players get three general action cards, which they can use for a free build of a one-value building. They may also use one of the 7 specific political action cards which are available to all players. Some of these allow buildings to be added to cities. The higher value buildings can only be built using these political cards, but building with political cards costs money. A general action card has two further options--receive 2 gold or found a new city--and it can be used once per year. Once played, any card is turned face down and each player can play 5 cards per year.
The various buildings have up to three symbols on them, generally all of the same colour. The white ones represent culture and are seen on statues, palaces and cathedrals; blue represent health and are on fountains and bathhouses, while the black symbols represent education and are seen on schools and universities.
The expansion aspect of the game is very pleasing--it is easy to do and there is a sense of improving your position, which in itself is satisfying. However, there are hurdles to be crossed: if you want a city of more than 5 citizens, you need a market; while expansion beyond 8 requires a water-based building--either a fountain or bathhouse.
Each city starts with 3 plastic citizens. More can be acquired later through natural growth or the play of certain political cards and each new building that you erect must contain a citizen. As your city expands, it will eventually come into contact with other cities, which happens when two cities are separated by less than three hexes. When the assessment of the citizens' needs is considered, any city with a higher number of attractions of that colour than its neighbours will attract citizens from each rival. If the rival does not have more citizens than buildings, this can be a serious blow, as at the end of the year empty buildings have to be demolished. This goes round in order and it is possible that a city will lose to an early city, only to gain one from another adjacent one later in the round. This form of economic migration is an intriguing way to change the game position.
Once the migration has taken place the players have to feed their citizens. Each player counts the wheat symbols on the land bordering their farms and castles and sees if this total, together with any stocks of food, is enough to feed everybody. The consequences of failure are severe--in all years bar the last a player loses one of their actions for the following year and if it happens in the final year he loses 5 victory points. So if a player has just gained population through new migrants, he still has to deal with the problem of feeding them. Planning for this is therefore important and is likely to involve building more farms, or playing one of the good harvest action cards that are part of the political deck. These double the production of one farm and this will usually be enough to cover one miscalculation of growth. Cities also automatically expand by one citizen each turn and this too has to be part of your calculations.
Careful planning is thus very necessary if you are to win the game. If you don't like this sort of thing, treat that as a health warning.
The political action cards offer a variety of options. As I have already indicated, one type increases your food supply. Another enables you to boost your population, which is useful if you don't have enough citizens to occupy the buildings you want to put up. Others entitle you to add new buildings (at a cost in gold) and one can be used to see what issue the citizens will use as a basis for their migration decision when the Voice of the People is considered. This migration aspect is the core of the game.
The people's decision is determined using a set of cards and at the start of each year, four are displayed--one face up and three face down. The cards in the deck are equally split between the three colours (health, education and culture). The majority among the four cards dealt will indicate the choice of the citizens for that round. (In the case of a tie each player can decide which to use.). Three cards will be left over at the end of the game, so the distribution cannot be completely determined by the card counters.
The way in which you can change the predominant focus of your city (education, health or culture) is another well-handled aspect of the game. Besides placement of the correct buildings, there are political cards that cause temporary influence of a particular attraction. These "bread and circuses" cards add a temporary citizen figure in your own colour to a particular building and increase its value by one for each allocated citizen. As normal with the political cards, gold spent increases the effectiveness.
Gold is another of the game's sub-systems. Initially, you can only receive gold via your general action card, at a rate of 2 per card, and doing this counts as one of your 5 actions in a turn. Later, you can build a quarries and these bring in 1 gold per quarry at the beginning of your turn. Like the farms and markets, the quarry has no attractions on it. However, a person who has four quarries, receiving 4 gold at the beginning of their turn, will be able to buy practically any card and use its full value, which is quite a threat to the neighbouring cities of this player.
The game is fairly dry, but there is a lot of interaction and choice. The interaction comes from deciding which political card to choose and which city to expand. In games that I have played, there seem to be two strategies followed:
- expand one super city that is difficult to beat, so it has all three features that the citizens may decide upon, while leaving the remaining cities to be small and limit their growth;
- expand cities evenly and hope to pick off the small ones, while scoring the occasional victory against the big ones.
In addition, building newly built cities at the edge of the game board affords them some form of protection from the larger cities.
The choice of political cards also influences your tactics. If there is a hospital, which has a health and education symbol on it, then take this, as it is a good bet. If, however, the cards on offer look unattractive, it is better to play one of your general action cards and hope that another player will take a political action card and that its replacement will be more helpful.
At the end of the game there is a bonus of 3 points for any city that has all three attractions, which favours the even expansion of cities. However, the majority of victory points are scored for the number of citizens on the board. I have played 3 and 4 player games of this and the game lasts about 90 to 120 minutes if you don't ponder your turn for too long. (SWD: Half an hour per player was the message from people who played the game at The Gathering.)
Overall, the game follows a similar pattern to the computer game Civilization: city management is important and as Stuart's excellent translation says, "Be careful if another player moves ever closer to you. He is up to no good."
Recommended for those people who, like me, appreciate substantial games where some thought is required and where there are plenty of options.