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Franz-Benno Delonge

Publisher: Goldsieber 1999




An american City of the beginning of the 20th century. New buildings are growing rapidly, changing the skyline of the american towns. Mighty building-companies are competing for the best building-sites, acquiring and selling their plots. But having the right building site isn´t the only important factor - the correct timing of building is decisive.

In Big City the development of a town is simulated. The players take up the roles of building companies, acquiring cards for building sites all over the 8 different quarters of the town. These cards may be kept to play them or discarded and randomly replaced by other cards. The sites may be used to build many different sorts of buildings, and for these the players will receive victory points. Available types of buildings are plain houses, business blocks, cinemas, churches etc.

When building new houses the players have to observe certain rules and restrictions. So the first building to be built must always be the Mayor´s Office - all other buildings may only be placed afterwards. The victory points are scored depending on the type of building and it´s surroundings. So a building occupying two or three plots brings more points than the smaller buildings, or - for example - a housing area brings more points if placed in the outskirts of the town or next to a park. Most points may be scored by the special buildings (church, post office, cinema, bank, departent store etc.), but these may not be easily placed. In order to erect such a building, the chosen site must meet certain prerequisitions: So a cinema may only be placed next to two housing areas, or a church may only occupy the last free site in a quarter of the town.

But players also have the possibilty to spoil the plans of the other players. So they may play cards which allow them the placement of Parks or Industry Complexes. These may be placed almost anywhere on the board, possibly blocking other player´s building sites. The game ends when no more buildings can be placed, and the player with most victory points wins the game.

Big City was one of the biggest surprises in spring 1999. After a row of somewhat weaker games (Pfeffersäcke, Edison & Co.), Goldsieber once again managed to release a game which certainly belongs to the upper end of the anual top ten. Taking a theme which many players still may know from the classical computer-game "Sim City", Franz-Benno Delonge actually succeeded to create a quite tense and highly entertaining construction game. The rules are easy to learn, and to my mind the game keeps a perfect balance between luck and strategy. Furthermore, Goldsieber has chosen the right design for such a kind of game: So the game comes with many plastic houses and the players may actually see their city growing. For me, that game is one of the closest canidates for the "Spiel des Jahres" award 1999.

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Copyright © 2006 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany