Pack your bags and travel to Scotland’s largest city - Glasgow! The World’s Friendliest City is rife with opportunities for development. Travel the streets and greet your neighbors to collect resources, then hire architects to build as prosperous a city as you can in this delightful two-player game by Lookout Games.
To set up, spread out twelve of the fourteen Contract Tiles into a circular formation, interspersing the Contracts with Architects at their specified locations. Shuffle the Building tiles and randomly place two above each Architect. Grab a player board and a single Stone and Steel to start. Place your adorable Merchant meeples on the starting architect, and get ready for some serious fun!
On a player’s turn, they will select an available Contract tile in front of them, move their Merchant to the tile, and perform the action, usually collecting some amount of resources, or occasionally taking a special action. The opposite player will then take a turn in the same manner. However, play only passes once a player passes their opponent’s Merchant, so be careful how much distance you put between you and your rival! Every Contract you pass up is free for the taking without even passing the turn!
You’ll eventually collect enough Stone, Steel, and/or Gold to purchase a Building tile from one of the Architect tiles. When you land on an Architect, you can select one of the two Building tiles above them, pay the resources specified in the upper left hand corner, and then place the tile into the City bounds (more on that in a second). Refill the slot above the Architect, and then choose whether or not you wish to keep building (if you can afford the fees).
Each building has its own scoring mechanism, such as the Shops that are only worth the effort if they end up in the corner of the city, or the Train Stations which only score if you’ve built a bunch of other types of buildings, or the Tenements which score points based on how many other Tenements they’re orthogonally adjacent to.
This game is surprisingly cute! The City bounds mentioned above is constrained to a 4x5 grid at the center of the circle composed of the Contract tiles. This innocuous parameter leads to a fair amount of interesting decision-making throughout the building phases. Until a single row or column in the City spans five tiles across, you won’t *really* know if your buildings will end up at the center, on an edge, or stuffed up into a corner. You’ve definitely got to be strategic about when and where you place each tile.
One of the building types, the Factory, will win or lose you the game. Each time a building is placed in the same row or column as a Factory, it will generate a particular resource or action for the controlling player, regardless of which player triggered the Factory! Getting these early on, or denying your opponent, plays a major role in who can afford multiple builds per Architect visit.
Jockeying for position based on the random layout of the Contract tiles is super fun, carefully selecting what is worth passing over to get to the tile you really want. Since each Contract tile can only hold a single Merchant, you’ve sometimes gotta bite the bullet to get what you want, allowing your opponent multiple actions on their next turn while you wait for them to pass you, or gamble and confer fewer resources to your opponent in the hopes that they don’t sit themselves on that valuable Contract you were waiting on!
My spouse and I decided not to play with one particular Contract tile, as it introduced too much randomness (by our own estimation), but overall the game is very well designed! It is a quick and simple city builder, coming in at about twenty minutes of playtime, and is just perfect for when we want to play a Rondell game but can’t bring ourselves to set up Heaven and Ale.
I am positive this is a game worth the minor investment, and will provide plenty of fun for the cost. It’s the kind of game you’ll play a set of two or three times before packing it up, and takes only a few minutes to set up and take down. With all the new two players coming out these days, I am definitely not hesitant to give this one a solid recommendation.
Glasgow is available now from our webstore.