Published by: Stonemaier Games
# of players: 3-7 (variants for 1 and 2 player games)
Stonemaier Games is known for their quality components. Between Two Cities will not disappoint you even with so few component types. Building tiles are thick cardboard that should not wear with many game plays. I am not a big fan of the art on the tiles but it does fit well with the theme of the game. The wooden city tokens each have a shape of a different famous monument or building and are painted in very bold colors. The scoreboard which is only used at the end of the game is huge and double-sided. The scoreboard is double-sided so that those who like their victory point tracks a certain way have the option of zigzag or straight lines. Seven reference cards are provided to show how each type of building tile scores and also there are cards with different criteria on where people sit.
Rulebooks are provided for single player rules and another for 3 to 7 player game and 2 player variant. Each rulebook is colorful and well designed. The rulebooks provide illustrated examples to help you easily comprehend how each tile scores. Everything is clearly exampled and each time we had a question, we could easily find it in the rulebook and it was answered.
A game of Between Two Cities takes place over 3 rounds. During these rounds players will be selecting two tiles per turn and placing one tile in the city to their left and their right. In rounds one and three, players will start with seven tiles and after placing these two tiles all players will pass the rest of the tiles to the person on their left in round one and the person on their right in round three. You will keep doing this til you are left with one tile which gets discarded to the center. After you discard the remaining tile in round one you will move onto round two. In round two players will be dealt three duplex tiles. Duplex tiles are tiles that have 2 buildings on them in either a vertical or horizontal orientation. All tiles must face the same in direction in your cities and fit into a 4 x 4 grid. No tiles may be outside that 4 x 4 grid. During round 2 you will place one duplex tile in each of your cities and then discard the third. After this you will move onto round three which is exactly like round 1 except you will be passing tiles to your right this time. Once you have only one tile remaining to use each, the game ends and you will score your cities. Your score will be based off your lowest scored city and the person with the highest lower scored city wins Between Two Cities.
Red tavern tiles come in four different types. You will receive victory points based on how many different types you get. For example if you have all four types then you will receive 17 victory points and if you had an additional two other taverns that were different from each other you would receive an additional 4 points for the set of two. Blue office tiles score based on how many you have in your city total. They also earn an additional point if they are connected to one or more taverns. Very accurate as who doesn't want to stop at the tavern on the way home to have a pint after a busy work day. Finally brown houses are worth one point per other tile type in your city unless you build your house next to the a factory. What!? I thought people love the smell of burning rubber all day and night coming off an industrial factory. You will have to work with your opponents that are next to you to make sure you design the best cities.
Drafting games are some of my favorite games to play because of the player interaction and having to figure out what your opponent will do with what you pass to them. Between Two Cities takes this interaction and steps it up into a new level by forcing you to work with those players to build the best possible cities. This extra level of interaction is awesome not just for the fun but also the deep strategy of how to work with them to make your cities great but not helping their other cities. All of the components are very solid and well designed. I did not care for the art on the tiles but understand it fits the theme. Scoring at the end of the game takes a lot of group focus to get it right. I recommend leaving the scoreboard off to the side while playing and then bringing it in when you are all ready to start the scoring portion because that scoreboard takes up a lot of space.
I liked the addition of randomized seating cards and the solo play mode. I do not usually play board games solo but I can see myself giving it a try in the future. This game is so easy to set up and teach. Once we had a few plays under our belt we were finishing games in under 30 minutes with five people. I do not see going up to seven people adding too much to the play time. This game has a role in my collection as a game to bring out for ones who do not game or often and while waiting for other people to show up. Between Two Cities is also a great way to finish out a game night. I do not see this game as a game that will be the main game for the night but rather a compliment to the main game for the night. I really enjoy Between Two Cities and this will be added to my collection and I do not currently expect anything to take it's place. If you enjoy 7 Wonders or Tides of Time, you will love Between Two Cities.
+ Great Rulebooks
+ Almost no setup and easy to teach
+ Quick play times
+ Drafting with extra player interaction
+ Quality Components
+ No set path to victory
- Too quick to be the main game of the night
- Bland art on tiles but also fits the city building theme
- End game scoring takes concentration from all playing to get it right
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Thank you for reading my review of Between Two Cities