“Clever” Is an Understatement

“A clever tile-laying game.” That’s what I’ve heard this game described as. But to me, “clever” doesn’t do it justice. “Superbly Elegantly Brilliant” is more like it.

This is the definitive tile-laying game, combining area control with worker placement. As the game goes on the map grows, until at the end you’re treated to whole province worth of towns, roads, farms, and cloisters. Combined with the array of colorful little “meeples” of various shapes and sizes that are played to earn points, it makes quite a view.

The Breakdown

  • Decisions: 4/5. Each turn you are given one tile to place, and the option of placing a follower on that tile. And yet, each tile might have a potentially large number of placement options. It all comes down to balance and risk assessment: Do I use my last meeple and hope that the city scores soon, or do I throw it on someone else’s city just to mess them up?
  • Artwork: 5/5. Love it. The tiles are charming, and full of tiny little details that add to the experience. And believe it or not, the little wooden meeples do as well. Sure, they could have been cubes or dics, but having cute little guys to place is just perfect.
  • Replayability: 5/5. I own Big Box 3, which includes five expansions. The game is variable enough on its own, but it really shines when combined with an expansion or two (or three). The fact that you can mix and match expansions via the Big Box means that you get a lot of game for the money.
  • Awesomeness: 5/5. No matter how you slice it,this game is just plain fun. Each turn is a cliffhanger—where will my opponent put his or her tile? What tile will I get next, and where can it go? Love it!


Bottom line:  It’s so clever and works so well that it’s hard to imagine that this game wasn’t always around. It’s one of those foundational games that (in my opinion) has helped to expand the board game market as well as the gaming universe. If you’ve never played it before, you owe it to yourself to try it.

  • Decisions 80% 80%
  • Artwork 100% 100%
  • Replayability 100% 100%
  • Awesomeness 100% 100%