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20th Century review: building your own board game city

Published: Friday, Dec. 21 2012 3:15 p.m. MST

20th Century board game lets players test their city planning prowess.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

Imagine being tasked with the assignment to build and manage your own city. You'll need to find available land, research technology for improvements, avoid catastrophes and generate income. In addition, you'll need to keep your city connected as it grows and find a way to keep it clean.

If the thought of city building intrigues you, the board game 20th Century by Rio Grande Games is worth a serious look.

The game has an amazing array of game play mechanisms. To begin, players bid against each other for new land tiles. Each tile has different abilities that increase money, technology, victory points and ecology in your newly forming city. Next, players receive technology advantages that allow them to increase population, get rid of pollution, build improvements and much more. Catastrophes cause players to bid higher and higher amounts of technology points to avoid ecological disasters and garbage production.

The most interesting part of the game is city development. When players receive new city tiles, they must decide how to strategically place them with their existing tiles. A clever plan is necessary to keep everything in your city connected and utilize your resources. Finally, players receive technology, income and victory points based on their city development prowess.

The game has enough going on to hold the interest of gamers without being overly complex. The rules are well-written and the game has great components consisting of boards, tiles, cards and wooden tokens. Managing all of the needs of your burgeoning city is challenging. The game is won by striking a balance between income, technology, city planning and environmental quality.

It's fun that's built to last for three to five city planners. Just be careful where you dump your garbage.

Ryan Morgenegg is a multimedia specialist for the Deseret News.

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