NEW YORK 1901

PrintE-mail Written by Ed Fortune

There’s something unique about building games that draws out the inner tycoon in us all. If we’re honest, the only reason Monopoly has survived as long as it has is because pretending to be a millionaire property owner is fun. Apart from the fantasy of being a big shot city developer, New York 1901 bears little resemblance to Monopoly. For a start, New York 1901 is fun to play, easy to pick up and at no point are you left twiddling your thumbs due to the whims of random chance.

The game’s board represents the city of New York. There are various ‘plots’ in different colours, and recognisable streets such as Wall Street. The aim of the game is to build the biggest and best skyscrapers on these plots, preferably making it harder for other players to do the same along the way. Bigger the building, the more points you get. Controlling certain areas or building certain buildings in a certain way will also get you bonus points.

Each player is issued a series of tiles, each of which resemble a piece from the game of Tetris. A bank of cards are presented face up. This is called the market. Each round you pick one card which tells you which zone and what shape of lot you can claim. You use worker counters to mark your claim, and if you have the right shaped plots of land you can put down a skyscraper. You also have one-shot action cards. These let you draw more cards, build two buildings or redraw the market cards.  

The result is a fairly fast playing tile placement strategy game. If you’re familiar with the classic game Ticket to Ride, you’ll be in familiar territory here. This is a game about working out exactly where to place your pieces in order to block your opponents. As the game proceeds and points are scored, better building tiles become available, and you then have to decide if you’re going to knock down buildings or jockey for more space. Each more is a carefully considered gamble, which means you’re always thinking about the next turn and are engaged throughout the game.

The pieces are nicely presented; the counters are well sculpted (the workers are plastic models of 1901 style New York builders, and the points counter is a sky scraper) and the cards and board robust enough to survive regular play. New York 1901 is great boardgame which is now back on the shelves of your local games shop, and well worth a look.

NEW YORK 1901 / DESIGNER: CHENIER LA SALLE / ARTIST: VINCENT DUTRAIT / PUBLISHER: BLUE ORANGE GAMES / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

 

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