IDW Games Machi Koro
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- 2-4 Players
- 30 minutes playtime
- A city building / dice rolling game
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CHOKING HAZARD -- Small parts. Not for children under 3 yrs.
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Welcome to the city of Machi Koro, the Japanese card game that is sweeping the world. You've just been elected Mayor. Congrats! Unfortunately the citizens have some pretty big demands: jobs, a theme park, a couple of cheese factories and maybe even a radio tower. A tough proposition since the city currently consists of a wheat field, a bakery and a single die. Armed only with your trusty die and a dream, you must grow Machi Koro into the largest city in the region. You will need to collect income from developments, build public works and steal from your neighbor's coffers. Just make sure they aren't doing the same to you! Machi Koro is a fast-paced light-hearted game for you and up to 3 friends. Once you've had a taste of Machi Koro, this infectiously fun game may have you wondering if the dinner table ever served another purpose. They say you can't build Rome in a day, but Machi Koro will be built in less than 30 minutes!
Legal Disclaimerchocking hazard. small parts. not for children under 3.
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In Machi Koro, you are building up a city. To complete your city, you'll need to construct four landmarks--all of which cost significantly. In order to gain the money for your landmarks, you'll have to build smaller establishments first--and to build them strategically to get the most bang for your buck! Rounds are simple: Roll the die, collect money you've earned from your establishments, and buy a new one if you can.
A great thing about Machi Koro is that you don't have to sit bored between turns. Much of the time, another person's roll also activates a card for you! The blue cards in your city earn money every time someone--anyone--rolls the number at the top. Green cards earn money only on your turn. Red cards add some dastardly action, as they allow you to collect money from the player rolling the dice! And purple cards take the exploitation one step further, helping you to grab lots of cash at once if you roll well. The trick is find balance as you build: of course you want to earn, and fast! But the tables can turn just as fast, and the coins you've banked might end up in someone else's hands.
The trickiest part is paying attention. If you aren't watching what other players roll, you might miss collecting resources. (This can be solved if you add a house rule that everyone announces the number they just rolled.) The bigger problem, usually, is that people forget the special abilities they gain upon building a landmark. It's easy to overlook these, so keep them in front of your eyes!
Other reviewers have mentioned a similarity to Settlers of Catan, at least in this roll-the-die-to-gain-a-resource mechanism. But Machi Koro is less weighty than Catan, and while both rely on the luck of the roll, Machi Koro provides more equal opportunity to gain resources (unlike Catan, where a well-placed town can monopolize a resource). So, for those craving fierce competition, Machi Koro isn't as hardcore--at least not at first glance. Still, where Catan provides opportunity to benefit from the land, Machi Koro's benefit comes in profiting from other players.
The artwork in this game is adorable, and the simplicity of play makes it easy to explain, whether you're playing with children or with seasoned gamers. Now, I can see a seasoned gamer wishing for deeper strategy or more complexity, and that's fair. But if you're like me and enjoy games that fall on a similar level as Ticket to Ride, Splendor, or Carcassone, then Machi Koro might be for you!
*A variation, if you want to tone down the competitiveness: set a house rule on purple cards. The official instructions state that you can only own one of EACH type of purple card. A house rule that you can only own one purple card TOTAL will even the playing field a little. (If you want to buy a different purple card, you must discard the one you currently own.)
**As suggested earlier, the Harbors expansion really does fix some issues in the base game, primarily the randomization of available properties. In the original version, all the properties are available to everyone at once. Harbors adds a drafting component, which limits access to some of these properties. It adds the necessary challenge of waiting for the right card to appear--this seriously improves the game.
This is a great game for showing non-gamers these strange games that we gamer folks play.
I get really tired of telling people I play board games and getting the question, "What, like Monopoly?" *SIGH*
Machi Koro is easy to teach, strategic enough to be interesting, not too long, and has enough depth to show new folks what games can be. (It's also a good starter games for Game Night when not everyone has shown up yet.)
I taught it to a couple of new gamers in about five minutes, explaining the mechanics and the turn sequences and letting them figure out the strategy themselves. It wasn't long before they'd started figuring out possible strategies and card combos, and really getting into and enjoying themselves.
For those gamers who think there isn't too little replayability, the two expansions, Harbor (Due in November) and Sharp (Due sometime after November) add in a bunch of new buildings, an alternate way to deal cards, and some attack mechanisms, though they never stray too far from the simple premise of the game.
The print on the copper colored coins did start to wear, for no apparent reason. I have spoken with the publisher, and my experience with Nate was a positive one. IDW is aware that the printer did not meet their standards in some areas, and are very willing to make things right for anyone with a genuine concern or issue. Nate mentioned that there may have just been a layer missing from those particular coins. The fact that they are willing to work with purely cosmetic issues such as this, garners a huge thumbs up from me. IDW did not print the game in house, and what happens at the printer is often very much out of a publisher's hands in that sense. Huge respect to IDW. My initial review stands, as I cannot recommend Machi Koro enough!
Machi Koro is something I have been waiting to have on my shelf for going on 5 months now. My wait is finally over, and I would love to share my "initial thoughts".
-Easy to teach/learn/play
-Quick unless you have a player who regularly suffers from analysis paralysis
-Box insert is designed well, and will hold all future expansions
-Restaurant owners are mean
-The print on the coins makes me nervous
-Expansions won't be out soon
Gameplay is simple; simple enough that you can teach a child (I have included both of my kids, ages 8 and 5 into games quite successfully), but engaging enough to keep veteran gamers interested if not enthralled.
1.Roll a dice (or maybe 2 a few turns into the game)
2.Get paid (Catan style from the cards in front of you.... or other players; Red cards steal from others' on their turns/ Blue cards pay out to all who have them when their number is rolled/ Green cards pay out to ONLY the player rolling/ Purple cards steal from ALL other players but ONLY on the owners' turn)
3.Spend money and build new establishments, or complete construction on one of the four major landmarks a player must build to win the game.
Sometimes more than one card will activate, and the flow chart for activation is Red/Blue&Green/Purple in that order. This is a nice mechanic that keeps younger and perhaps less experienced players from being taken advantage of.
An example of this:
I have 2 Cafes built, and you have a Bakery. Both pay out 1 coin for a 3 roll. On your turn you roll a 3. You only have 1 coin, but because I have 2 Cafes, you owe me 2 coins. The rules basically state that you give me what you have, and I can never ask for more. Because the Red card activates first, you pay me that 1 coin, and NOW your green card activates and you are paid one coin for your Bakery. This ensures that a player will likely never be left without options.
The artwork is fairly stunning, and while not my cup of tea it has won over everyone I have shared the game with almost instantly. It is comprised of highly stylized landscapes, cityscapes, and buildings. The box is sturdy, but smaller than the "average" sized square box. The box insert is competently designed and holds the components perfectly, with room for all upcoming expansions.
Overall a really good experience and a welcome addition to any strategy gamer's collection (even "super serious" ones), but a couple of words of caution...
This game, while cute and fast, encourages players to be spiteful. There are cards based on it. You will be stealing from other players, and at some point be stolen from, if you want to win. If spite is not your thing, that may be a deal breaker for you.
Also, I am not sure about the print on the coins. The cards have improved drastically from the initial print run (I was fortunate enough to play on an early copy a handful of times) but the coin print seems thin. While punching out my VERY FIRST coin, some of the print tore, and I was being very careful. From that point I broke the connections with an exacto to make sure that it didn't happen again.
Neither of those points is a deal breaker for me, but I think it's a good thing to know going in. And maybe I was being a brute with the coin.... but it sure felt like care from my end.
A final tip:
DON'T throw away the empty coin sheets... stick them under the box insert, and it will fit flush against the lid when closed, so that none of your components will slide out of place if the box is on it's side, or gets inverted.
Most recent customer reviews
So everyone ends up drafting the exact same way.