Sprawlopolis is a cooperating, tile laying game where the city is built from the ground up in order to satisfy the ever-changing goals of the city.
Total Game Play: 15-20 minutes
Designer(s): Steven Aramini, Danny Devine, Paul Kluka
Artist(s): Loic Billiau, Danny Devine
Publisher: Button Shy
Traveling on the road can be difficult. Especially because it’s hard to bring Board Games with you! But Sprawlopolis can fit in your pocket! This game works from only an 18-card deck but has so much variability between each play that each game can feel completely different! Which is a very impressive feat for a game with so few components. So, watch as this ever changing and sprawling metropolis unravels.
This is a general overview to provide context for the review, not an in-depth how to play. Some rules may be glossed over or missing.
Sprawlopolis is a cooperative game for one to four players. I have played this game multiple times with players of various skill levels. I have not played every possible point combination because Math leads to me to believe that there are 560 combinations.
Sprawlopolis is a quick game with a tile laying a drafting mechanic at its core. Players will work together to try and score the most points given the randomly determined objectives and beat the construction goals for the ever-growing metropolis.
The game flow for this game is simple as each player will take a turn until all of the available cards have been played. Since there are only 18 cards to begin with, this make the game go very quickly.
The setup for this game is one of the most important part. All of the 18 cards have a different backing with different scoring conditions listed on them. Three of these cards will randomly be chosen to be the objectives for this game.
The starting player will be dealt three cards while the remaining players will be dealt one card. The remaining cards will be placed in a deck on the side and the top of the deck will be placed in the center of the “build area” as the starting tile for your city.
There is only one thing a player needs to do on their turn, add a tile (card) to the city. The starting player has three cards in their hand of which they can only choose one. They will choose one card; play is in the city following placement rules and that’s it! The remaining 2 cards is passed to the neighbor on the left. The active player will then draw the top card of the deck.
And that’s the whole turn. The player will three cards now becomes the active player. Then just wash, rinse and repeat!
One of the biggest constraints of the game is that all cards have to follow certain placement rules. Firstly, all cards must be placed horizontally. None of this vertical nonsense. I don’t even know what that word means!
Cards can be placed overlapping each other, which is a godsend. Card placements not being permanent can help fix mistakes that weren’t necessarily obvious earlier. Cards also must have some part of an edge overlapping, no corner connections. Gaps are also allowed by the game rules! But my brain has a hard time with this one. Especially when I’m playing solo and want to optimize all of the cards which isn’t necessarily the best plan.
The game ends when all 15 cards have been added to the city. Then comes end game scoring. For a standard game, there are 8 conditions that need to be considered. Three are the cards that were placed aside as objectives during set up.
Four are for blocks. You will score 1 point per block in your largest group of each zone type. This game has four zone types on each card: Commercial, Industrial, Parks and Residential. Clustering them together will generally be a great way to score points.
Lastly is negative points per the number of roads in your city. Since a road is defined as a continuous stretch of roadway, this object encourages making longer roads instead of not caring about roads at all.
To be victorious in your city building, you need to score higher than the scoring conditions. The scoring conditions are determined by the three cards that were pulled out during setup. In the top left corner is a number. The total number of these three cards will be the score you are trying to reach or beat!
There are also plenty of expansions of this game that can fit into the wallet like case! Below are just a few of them!
Who Will Like it?
This game is a great for an in between game reset or for those who are always on the go and want something that will fit in their pocket! I would consider this a light game to it can accommodate players of any experience. Because it’s cooperative, there will also be a decent amount of table talk which can help players newer to the hobby understand what’s happening and why.
What I Think
For being a lighter game, Sprawlopolis brings a lot to the table. There is a surprising depth of the play for a game with only 18 cards.
What did I like?
This game has a surprising amount of depth for fitting into a pocket. One of the biggest pluses about the game the amount of replayability this game has considering the many combinations of scoring cards that can be chosen. This game also has a large reach for audience as its low complexity makes Sprawlopolis a very accessible game.
What didn’t I like?
Like with any cooperative game, there is a chance for one player to take over the group and dictate all turns. But this is mostly a player dynamic which can be solved with more open communication between all of the players.
This game is like a breath of fresh air. It’s perfect for a game right after something a bit heavier and more exhaustive. I find it reinvigorating to balance the puzzle with communication and strategy.
Rulebook/Learning the Game
Just like the game, the rulebook is also fully contained within it’s small case. Unfolded, the rules only cover about half a page. The rulebook itself is straight forward with everything set up in an easy to understand manner.
Not going to lie. I don’t full remember the first time I played this game. That being said, I do remember enjoying it.
What I really love about this game, is that’s it’s not always easy to win. Sometimes you make choices and that makes the puzzle not truly solvable. Win or lose, it was a game that provided a great time.
While I thoroughly enjoy Sprawlopolis, it tends to be more of a filler game for me. This leads me to not chose it as an active game or the main item.
*See my rating scale Here