Expancity, one of Breaking Games’ latest releases, is a city building game where players are competing to build the highest residential and commercial buildings while also competing to complete their own secret Contracts to score more points. Think of it almost like Sim City, the board game…just without the disasters or horrible water/traffic management systems. Releasing at Gen Con 2018 before hitting store shelves, I was lucky enough to have a chance to play one of the first production copies in assistance.
Setting up Expancity is pretty simple. First, place the City Hall tile in the center of the table and then shuffle all the tiles and put them in the bag. Each player takes set of buildings in the color of their choice and two tiles from the bag. Players use one of their Building Pieces on the scoreboard at 0 and keep a supply of 6 in front of them. The rest are held in reserve. The Goal Cards are then shuffled and 3 are placed face up on the table. These are special conditions that players must meet to possibly score more points at the end of the game. The game ends when there are no more tiles to draw from the bag.
Each turn players will do a few things, the first being placing on of the two tiles from their hand adjacent to another tile on the board. Then they must take 3 actions from the following 2 choices:
- Place a Building Piece from reserve into the supply
When players build they take a Building Piece from their supply and place it on an empty residential or commercial tile or on top of a building they’ve already started to build. There are a few rules when doing the latter. First, residential buildings can only be 1-3 pieces tall and commercial buildings have to be a minimum of 4 pieces tall. Next, you can only build as high as your last building’s height + 1. So if you’ve got a commercial building that’s 4 pieces tall you can now build ones that are 5 pieces tall. Once you’ve done that you’ve got the option to build 6 tall, then 7, etc… You can also only expand a building once per turn. You can’t use your 3 actions to build up the same building 3 times. You also have to have pieces in your supply to build. You can never build directly from your reserve. Finally, and I hope this would go without saying, residential buildings can only be built on residential tiles while commercial buildings can only be built on commercial tiles.
Once a player has taken their actions they can cap any building they wish to complete and score. Buildings are worth 1 point per piece in their stack, though this can be modified by special tiles adjacent to the building with can provide positive or negative per-piece modifiers, as well as adjacent tiles that are empty, which provide a -1 per-piece modifier. For each building completed a player may draw 2 Contract Cards, keep one, and place the unused one on the bottom of the Contract Deck.
Contract Cards provide an additional avenue for scoring in Expancity. Each contract will have a specific set of guidelines that need to be met to earn a one-time score listed on the card. Contracts can be scored at any time as long as the conditions are met. Once scored, they’re placed face down and cannot be scored again.
Once the tile bag is empty players score based on the Goal Card conditions and victory is award to the player with the most points.
That’s the basics of Expancity!
- Box 👍
- Rules 👍
- Tile Bag 👍
- Building Pieces ⭐
- Building Caps⭐
- Contract Cards 👍
- Goal Cards 👍
- Score Board 👍
(👍 = Good, 👎 = Bad, ⭐ = Exceptional)
Expancity is one of those games that have pretty simple rules but provides a great amount of depth-of-play. Players need to keep a careful eye on their supply so they always have pieces to build with, but it’s tough to not want to build with every available action they have to use. Special tile placement is key to rack up huge modifiers, but other players can try and intentionally sabotage buildings by leaving empty tiles adjacent to opponents potential scores. There’s also a delicate balance of attempting to complete contracts, building up taller and taller buildings, and trying to hit those choice modifiers. All in all, it’s a satisfying game physically, visually, and mechanically. Expancity also plays well with kids and adults, and even a mixture of the two. The rules are simple enough that kids can quickly grasp what’s going on while the depth of choices during play is enough to keep adults actively engaged.
Releasing at Gen Con 2018 and hitting store shelves shortly after that, Expancity is another great addition to the Breaking Games library. I highly recommend it and my kids give this one two thumbs up.
A copy of Expancity was loaned out from , and returned to, Breaking Games for this review.
Media personality Rob Kalajian has been a staple in the board game world for many years. As a former writer for Purple Pawn and the owner of A Pawn’s Perspective, Rob focuses on board game reviews, events, and news. A self-proclaimed geek, Rob loves all things toys and games and even helps raise his four kids in his spare time.