Even though I screwed myself over multiple times, I loved playing Tiny Towns and I’m ready for round 2.
Tiny Towns is a tableau building game with pattern recognition and simultaneous turns. The goal of each player is to score the most victory points. Victory points are scored through the buildings you construct.
Gaming by candlelight is super romantic
Tiny Towns is made by AEG, who were super cool enough to send me a copy to play! Which I did, with my girlfriend, Audrey. So let’s go over how to play Tiny Towns, then we’ll go through my first playthrough.
Buildings in Tiny Towns are built through placing resource cubes in specific patterns on your town board. On each turn, the active player chooses a resource type (wood, stone, brick, wheat or glass) then every player places that resource cube in any unoccupied space on their board. After placing a cube, if any player has a building’s pattern on their board, they can remove those cubes and place the associated building anywhere in the spaces where those cubes were.
TL;DR – Make the pattern, build the building
The game ends once all players can’t build anymore. Then move onto scoring. It’s honestly one of the easiest games to teach and learn. Audrey was able to pick it up super fast, even though she’s not a gamer. I say this somewhat condescendingly only in knowing that she doesn’t read my articles for the aforementioned reason. So, with that in mind, how did our game go?
“What’s in the box?” – Brad Pitt
There are 7 categories of building and each game will have 1 of each type. The manual recommends some of the more simple ones within each category for your first game. That’s what we did. But Tiny Towns comes with a LOT of building cards to choose from.
Once you have your buildings are chosen and your secret monument card, which is a secret building only you can build, you’re ready to go.
The first few turns were simple enough but it very quickly turned on us. The phrase “Oh no! I screwed up!” was very common. For example, I wanted to build a Theater, so I put the grey stone cube down, thinking that would be fine.
I quickly realized that I had screwed myself because of the placement of my Well (white disc), there was no way I could build the Theater. Tiny Towns, for as simple as it appears, requires a LOT of planning skills and pattern recognition. Audrey screwed up a few times too. She wanted to build a Factory.
You can tell which pictures are hers from the sharp image and lack of dust on the lens
Only to realize that she had lost that opportunity. On my turn, I called Wheat, which she placed on the far right column, in anticipation of building a cottage there. But as soon as she did, she realized that row was her last opportunity to have space to build the Factory, since it requires a full row or column to build. She could have used the 2 Wheat on the left to build a Farm to get the Wheat out of the way, but she had a special Monument which made farms redundant for her.
Long story short, this game has a lot of layers.
With just the 2 of us, the game played pretty fast. But we both genuinely had a great time. It’s a great puzzley game which requires being able to think multiple turns ahead but also keep in mind the various patterns you’ll need. Like a combination of Chess and Tetris.
In the end, she crushed me. Mostly because I had no forward planning at all. I wanted to go with this Well+Cottage strategy, but I learned far too late it’s much better to work from the corners inwards, so you don’t isolate too many spaces in the end, since they count against you. I bisected my board too early and didn’t have enough room to build anything BUT Wells, which didn’t work out for me.
Tiny Towns is great.
I had a great time playing and it was super easy to teach. The rules could be one page if they didn’t have so many illustrations.
There are SO many buildings, you’d be hard pressed to play the same game multiple times, even if you tried. It’s got very high replayability. Audrey and I are both ready to play again to try out different strategies, even with just the same buildings.
And I want to be clear, AEG isn’t paying me to say nice things about their game. If they were, I would have phoned this in way harder and gotten ready to sleep on my mattress made of money, Breaking Bad style.
Tiny Towns – $39.99 – Available April 2019
2 to 6 players compete to build the most amazing Town. Each turn the “Master Builder” determines which resource will be produced, and all the players gain one unit of that resource. Players can decide to use their resources to construct buildings according to the construction cards in play. Choose carefully! Where you build, and what you build will determine how dense your Town will be and how many points it will score! At the end of the turn, a new player becomes Master Builder. Play continues until every player’s Town is at max density, and then each Town is scored to determine the winner.
Thanks for reading!