Machi Koro Review


The land of the rising sun, Japan has been producing some great little games as of late (deep sea adventure, shephy) and this one is no exception republished by IDW Games and Pandasaurus Games.

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You are the newly elected Mayor of the town and your citizens want you to reward them for being elected, this is how you win the game by turning over the 4 landmarks(more in the expansions), achieving this though clever purchasing of cards to build your city and a lucky dice roll or two.

How do I play or how do I win?

This game is a really simple and easy to play, just ask my dad, I taught him in an afternoon and he came so close to winning, but was beaten by his 9 year old grandson, unlucky dad!

Players start with 6 buildings, 2 that earn money and 4 landmarks that players need to turn over to win. A player’s turn consists of rolling the dice, seeing if it matches terms on your card to earn money, then using that money to buy one card from a set in front of you or turn over one of your landmarks.

Turning over landmarks allows you to do extra things, like rolling 2 dice or re-rolling the dice. These landmarks can be built in any order. The simple part of this game is the dice rolling and the cards that allow you to earn coins in different ways, this is what makes it so easy to teach and pick up. The strategy comes in what cards you buy. Blue ones earn you money on any ones turn. Red ones steal money from other players and green cards tend to interact with other cards. These combos are what can lead to you winning the game or not. You can’t earn from the seven or higher cards until someone can roll two dice.


That’s what’s I like about the game it has a nice balance between luck and strategy.

Is there an expansion I hear you ask?

Machi Koro has 2 expansions, the first one is Harbour Expansion this adds new cards a fifth player and new rules on how to play that improves Machi Koro vastly as Machi Koro by itself can get a bit repetitive and once you know the best combos easier to win. So it is worth getting the second expansion if you love the original.

The second expansion Millionaires row takes Machi Koro and the second expansion to a whole new level from a simple game to something that takes a lot longer, has more depth and strategy. At first this was a shock and I wasn’t sure I liked it. This adds more cards again and these cards are what give it new depth coupled with the rule changes from the second expansion. Once I played it a few times and got the hang of the new cards I realised how much more fun the game now was. Now I might by a second copy of Machi Koro to teach people the basics and it’s a quick easy game to play but if I’m with friends who have experience then playing Machi Koro with both expansions adds a whole lot of lovely strategy, depth and feel to the game.

Lastly they bought out a sort of greatest hit of Machi Koro called Machi Koro Bright Lights, Big City, this was a mash of the expansions and new cards I haven’t played this of yet so if you have let me know you thoughts.

Final thoughts:

Looking at the rest of Machi Koro the artwork and it expansions are gorgeous, simple and clean, showing what the buildings are on each card and the text is simple and easy to follow on the cards. If there was room for improvement, it’s the coins, they do their job but mine are starting to show good wear and they are not printed all symmetrically.

The cost for the Machi Koro is really great and even with the expansions the whole cost should not put a big dent in your pocket for something that everyone will enjoy time after time.

I would highly recommend you add Machi Koro and the expansions to your gaming portfolio it’s a light simple game to play. If you want a heavier town building strategy game then try Suburbia from Bezier games, but if your looking for something to play with the family and friends that’s fun then Machi Koro is your game.


By Tony Carr

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