Build a city, beat a friend!


by Ted Alspach
published by Bezier Games

Suburbia is a tile-placement game in which up to 4 players compete to build the infrastructure for a new suburban paradise. The goal of the game is to attract the most residents by skillfully purchasing and situating tiles that represent civic, residential, commercial and Industrial developments in a manner that will ensure population growth and income. They key to success is, it’s all about balance! Focus on commerce and residential desirability falls off. Build only housing and parks and your people can’t find work! Not too much of any one thing at any time, too quickly! 

How we came to play this game:
Mike: I bought this one, primarily because I felt like it was a tentpole title in any decent collection and we'd kept overlooking it. I can think of at least 3 different times I've picked it up from the shelf at Modern Myths in Mamaroneck and left without it! After watching a Tom Vasel review of "Castles of King Ludwig" that he starts by lauding this game, I finally caved and went on a retail therapy binge that included both games and a couple of others.

This reminds us of:
Mike: Think competitive board game version of Sim City!

Susan: Machi Koro but less noisy.

Game art:
Mike: The art is representationally utilitarian. As the tiles get placed, there is a slight feeling of a city planning map coming together but that’s as far as it goes visually. Most of the art is used to convey development type, income earned, city reputation and so on. Text and icons that serve as vital game information. Not a lot of room for beauty, unfortunately.

Susan: Very plain Jane, but Mike’s right - there’s a lot of info to convey on a relatively small tile. The scoring board is simple, too, but also easy to forget which way you’re going.  We’re always happy with games where Mike can be black and I can be purple, too, so a win there as well.

Damn, that's a lotta info on those tiles!
Best part:
Mike: The game designers have very cleverly worked out very realistic cause and effects of certain building developments. I’m most impressed by that balance (build a factory next to a housing project and feel the pain!)

Susan: Feels quite balanced as a game overall.  I liked the three sets or tiers of development aspect and I liked the goals.
Reasons to be cheerful... A, B, C!

Worst part:
Mike: I’m a 47-year-old man whose sight is not what it once was. There so much information written on the game pieces and it’s so small that I started to get a headache. I imagine that with time, I’ll be able to recognize different development types at a glance, but for now, the tiny text is killing me!
You know, like this dude!

Susan: The rules were a little confusing at first.  The player guides help and the scenarios did, too - but some things were still a little unclear. 

Mistakes we made:
Mike: We were initially confused about how adjacent tile benefits are awarded. Make sure you don’t extend the benefits of one tile to EVERY tile surrounding it (despite what the language says on the tile. 

There are personal goals that each player secretly tries to achieve and public goals that all players compete to achieve. Susan messed up and forgot to make the public goals available. Her fault!                

Susan: True…but it did make the first time playing a little more straightforward to only have the one goal we were going for.

Play again?
Mike: Absolutely! I think I’ve only scratched the surface of what this title has to offer. The idea of building a sprawling city is attractive on its own. Trying to do it better than Susan does just makes it that much better! I’ve already downloaded the iOS version and hope to make pro very soon!

Susan:  Oh great, another one you’re going to play endlessly on your iPad until you master it and trounce me every time.  But, until then, yes, definitely.  The goals change and the tiles change somewhat for every game, so you have a different experience every time.  Hope we can try this one with 3 or 4 players soon, too.

Play Suburbia
And highlight your shortcomings
In city planning!

Times played: 2
Game record: 

Mike- 1 (It was the first game, which we played fairly incorrectly! I’m still calling it a win though)
Susan- 1

Click play on the vid to learn how to play! Then go buy it! It's fun.
You may need these too if you are of a certain age!