Suburbia

suburbia gameplay 2
Players:
2-4
Multiplayer:Yes, pass n play or online via GameCenter
AI:Yes, 5 different stategies
Universal App:No
Purchase for iPhone:None available. Buy an iPad now!
Purchase for iPad:
SUBURBIA City Building Board Game
Price: $1.99
User rating:
GD Star Rating
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Suburbia, 8.5 out of 10 based on 89 ratings

A Mensa Select winner for 2013, Suburbia can be accurately described as Sim City: The Boardgame. Players take the role of civic planners, each trying to ensure that their borough outshines the others in the city. Are you ready to build the city of the future?

suburbia titleGameplay

Suburbia is a tile-laying game. 2 to 4 players each take control of a borough of an unnamed city. Each borough starts with a Suburbs, a Civic Park, and a Heavy Factory. On a turn, you will select a tile from the Real Estate Market and attach it to your borough such that it matches edges with at least one extant tile.

suburbia gameplay 1

There are 4 stats to track. Your cash on hand is used to pay for newly added tiles. Your Income tracks how much cash you will get each turn. Your Population is your score. Your Reputation, positive or negative, will be added to your Population every turn. The Population track also has red lines between several spaces; each red line you cross represents an increase on your civic demands, causing you to lose both one Reputation and one Income.

suburbia gameplay 2

If you can’t afford any tiles or don’t see any that would help, you can always turn a tile over and add it to your borough as a Lake. Lakes will increase your various stats based on what they touch. As tiles are taken from the Market, new tiles come from various stacks to fill in the empty spaces. One of the tiles in Stack C is the game-ender. At that point you add 1 point to your Population for each $5 you have in cash on hand. There are also Public Goals, one for each player, awarded to whatever player has satisfied them; each player also has a Private Goal they may or may not achieve. Highest population after final scoring is calculated is the winner.

Implementation

suburbia tutorial

Suburbia has remarkably good documentation. It features an interactivish tutorial – the tutorial is mostly a slide show, but has you tap and drag a few things to give you a basic familiarity with the controls. The app also features a fantastic manual, divided into two columns. On the left is the main rules text, which covers app usage and controls, game play, and includes some discussion of basic strategy. The right side is a list of all the tiles in the game, their significant stats, and how they interact.

suburbia campaign map

In addition to standard AIs and multiplay (more on that in a bit) the game also features a “campaign” mode. This is a solo affair that puts the player in charge of various cities throughout the US and Germany. This is essentially a puzzle mode that starts you out with a few preset buildings not connected. You are tasked with hitting certain stat goals and with connecting the disconnected buildings within a certain number of turns. Completing this unlocks the “Essenspeil” expansion tiles available as an upgrade for the physical board game.

suburbia prepare for computer

The game features both pass n play and online multiplayer. Solo play against AI is handled via the Local Play menu; there are 5 AI players defined, each employing a different strategy to win. Pass n Play games can feature up to 4 players in any combination of human and AI, though only one can be assigned to any given player slot. It is worth noting that when the game launched, the Local Play mode had several fatal bugs associated with it; less than a week later, the developers posted a patch addressing all of them, and the game now seems playable in local mode. We did have a couple of issues with the Game Center-based multiplay; this has not been as widely reported, but mileage may vary.

Verdict

suburbia play

Suburbia is an elegant, understated game of careful consideration and strategy. The iPad adaptation offers great advantage in the automation of record keeping, ease of portability, and reduction in required table space. The inclusion of a whole additional solo play style is a welcome one, serving both to extend the single player experience and as an excellent tutor of the core mechanics. The devs should be commended for acting quickly to address the critical single player mode bugs, but there may be one or two lurking yet in the multiplayer.



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