As part of our regular blog posts, we’ll be blogging about the games we’re playing in “The Robot Plays” every Wednesday (because even a robot’s gotta get their game on!)

This week’s post is about our latest interest obsession, Machi Koro – by IDW Games.

Machi Koro falls into that very delicious category of “simple enough for non-gamers, yet strategic enough for more hardcore gamers.” Originally, I only purchased the core game, and I would say it fell more on the “simple” end of the spectrum.  I’ve since purchased both the Harbor expansion and the Millionaire’s Row expansion, and suddenly the game opened up. I’d recommend adding in cards from the Harbor expansion first, and then add in the Millionaire’s Row expansion only with more hardcore gamers, or after people are more comfortable with the base game. I only say this because Millionaire’s Row adds some new mechanics (the renovation feature) and more complex interactions – both between cards and between players.

One of the things I really love about Machi Koro is that despite its apparent simplicity, there are actually meaningful choices to be made. And those choices aren’t so heavy that the game ever falls prone to analysis paralysis.  It stays fast-paced, even when a player has to pivot their strategy of “I’m gonna buy up all the Forests and Mines to support my Furniture Factory” to “steal coins with red Establishments” because the other players swept up all the Forests and Mines.

Another thing that I love about the game is a bit more subtle, and it has to do with how players interact with each other. In a game as directly competitive as this, one might expect players’ frustrations with one another to be high. But for some reason, I’ve never felt this with Machi Koro.  I think–and it might just be my gut feeling–but because so much is ultimately left up to chance (the all-important dice roll), it’s difficult to blame your opponent for nuking all your cash with their six Cafes. After all, it’s not their fault you rolled a 3 on the die… they just spent the time and money to build those Cafes.

All in all, Machi Koro is great fun, and one that will likely see a spot in my rotation among my less hardcore gamer friends. It’s easy to teach, moves quickly, and who can resist the gorgeous artwork?

Have you played Machi Koro? What do you think?

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