Cities: Skylines Review
60 to 90 Minutes
Cities: Skylines is one of my absolute favorite city-building video games. The game perfectly captures everything that made Sim City so wonderful and makes it feel like a complete and modern experience. KOSMOS has brought the popular game to the tabletop with Cities Skylines The Board Game.
Like the video game, players in Cities Skylines will play through various city building scenarios in an effort to build the best city possible and achieve specific objectives. It’s a cooperative experience for one to four players with no real sense of competition. Players will work together to constantly achieve milestones until all of them in a scenario are reached.
I found myself impressed at how faithful an adaptation this game is. Like the video game, players will develop districts, make financial decisions, and try to keep their city in good shape. Population, happiness, and utilities are all factors that players will need to consider as they build their city throughout the various scenarios. Players will play cards from their hands to make big moves for their cities and the individual districts within them. Construction cards build-essential buildings, homes, and commercial businesses.
On their turn, players will draw a card. Then they may play one of their own cards or exchange it with another. After their actions are performed, play passes to the next player. As milestones are reached, new districts open up giving all of the players new goals to work towards. There is plenty of freedom for players to mess around with as they build their dream cities. Despite the freedom, there is clearly a way that KOSMOS wants players to play, and this is evident by the scoring system at the end of each scenario.
For players chasing high scores, Cities: Skylines is mostly a puzzle game. There are efficient ways of doing everything, and players will want to find the best way to maximize their turns. Going after high scores isn’t completely necessary, but it is nice for the crowd that likes to maximize their efficiency in games like this. Still, it’s nice to have a more casual way to play as well.
While Cities: Skylines is a multiplayer cooperative game, it doesn’t work too well with more than one player. Cities: Skylines is a game of solitaire at heart. The multiplayer feels forced as players might butt heads when trying to decide what the best moves for the city are. There are a few great moments where some players might want to take risks, and these lead to some genuinely great team decisions. Still, these moments are somewhat rare and outweigh the negatives of a team needing to plan the city together. Usually, the more experienced player will simply take over unless everyone has played an equal amount of games.
Cities: Skylines shines as a solo-game. It’s fun to just sit down and make every decision yourself when developing the city. It’s atmospheric and engaging, making full use of the fun theme to create an experience that really makes the player feel like a city planner. KOSMOS did a fantastic job of bringing the video game to life. It’s challenging, engaging, and has just the right amount of luck involved. Not worrying about other players allows for the solo player to test their problem-solving throughout.
As a solo game, Cities: Skylines is one of the best out there. It’s unique and fully embraces its theme. As a cooperative game, it falls a bit short. It can be frustrating to play with others, especially when everyone is of various skill levels. Depending on what you are looking for, Cities: Skylines can be an absolute hit, just be sure that you are understanding what you are getting into if you are looking to play with your friends.
As a solo game, Cities: Skylines is one of the best out there. It's unique and fully embraces its theme. As a cooperative game, it falls a bit short.