Megacity Oceania, the review of the innovative construction strategy

Megacity Oceania, the review of the innovative construction strategy
Have you ever imagined building your own city, complete with a choice of architectural style and materials, through a board game? If the answer is yes, you are in the right place. Today, in fact, we are talking about Megacity Oceania, a strategy and construction game created by Michael Fox and Jordan Draper, created by Hub Games and published in Italy by Asmodee. In this game you have to create your civilization with cunning and attention. So let's go into the maze of Megacity Oceania with this review.

Megacity Oceania: unboxing

Before starting with the description of the game mechanics, as usual, let's put a magnifying glass on the well-decorated and minimal sales package. The game box has quite generous dimensions (29 x 29 x 9 cm) and an excellent build quality, with futuristic graphics, but not exaggerated and with attention to every detail. The laminated printing guarantees good waterproofing and the right safety in case of accidental bumps or scratches.

Inside the box we find a good number of elements that make the box considerably heavy. Once the lid is lifted, the closure of which is effectively hermetic and safe, we find 150 building parts, 29 hexagonal tiles, 36 Contract cards (including 4 Specials), 32 player cubes, 60 Prestige tokens, 2 rulers, 9 prize tokens, a prize board, a taller building marker, a rulebook and a cloth bag.

As this is a game in which the main activity is construction using small game elements, this The latter are specially stored inside a plastic board divided into convenient compartments and there are also convenient transparent resealable plastic bags of different sizes to store both the smallest tokens and cards.

Components

From the construction point of view, all the game elements show great attention to detail and an almost millimeter precision in the carving. The tokens are made entirely of thick and screened cardboard which makes them not only beautiful to look at but also quite resistant. The cards have minimal but precise and comfortable decorations to help newbies to the game and even the most experienced. These are, however, made of non-plasticized double-layer cardboard and therefore are very delicate during mixing and we recommend the purchase of external protective covers. The synthetic fabric bag in which to put the plastic building parts and then take them like Bingo balls during the game is also nice.

What immediately catches the eye, however, are obviously 150 building parts and the 32 plastic player cubes. The former are the main elements of the game and therefore have an almost perfect carving, smooth and free of even millimeter defects that could make the game really frustrating. The latter, on the other hand, are divided into 4 glossy colors (8 for each player) or yellow, red, blue and light blue. Unfortunately, there was one less yellow cube in our test copy, but this defect did not spoil the gameplay experience in any way.

The manual is, finally, smooth and precise even without some typos . The layout is neat and there are a large number of visual examples to explain the main or more complex mechanics. There are also some tips from game designers and a very useful summary page that briefly explains the main actions to be taken. In short, although at first reading the amount of notions may confuse novice players, playing it is possible to metabolize even the most hidden mechanics of Megacity Oceania.

Preparation

In Megacity Oceania, 2 to 4 players, are in the Gold Coast, Australia, in the year 2100 and must begin construction of the first ocean-going Megacity. Exponential overpopulation and sea level rise have become the number one priorities of the planet and it will be up to us to take advantage of technological advancements to build massive and complex structures resting on immense floating platforms. The creative nature of the game makes it recommended for an audience aged 8 and over and each game has an average duration of 45 - 60 minutes which could also increase exponentially if it is difficult to design structures based on the chosen contracts.

Megacity Oceania has a single game mode and the only variety is given simply by the simplified rules recommended for players younger or less accustomed to this genre of games. The initial setup is quite fast and consists in shuffling the hexagonal platforms forming a pile from which the first three are taken and placed next to the others, separate the 4 Special Contract cards from the Standard ones and shuffle the Standard Contract cards and take a quantity suited to the number of players (12 for 2 players, 14 for three and 16 for four) making sure that there are at least 2 for each type of building.

Then place the Prizes Board with the relative Prizes on it on the respective icons, insert a Central Park tile in the center of the table and distribute the remaining Park tiles to the relevant players, to whom the player cubes and a number of building parts also go according to their position in the game (the first player null, the second one, third two, fourth three).

Between Standard Actions and Special Actions, the important thing is to build!

At this point begins the game whose simplicity of mechanics is if nz other its strength. Starting with the first player, clockwise, each player can perform two Standard Actions or one Delivery Special Action. The Standard Actions are:

Draw a contract from the top of one of the columns. You can have a maximum of two contract cards in your play area. The color determines the type of building to be built between public (purple), industrial (blue), commercial (orange) and residential (magenta). Take one of the three platforms in the platform supply. There can be a maximum of two and the color indicates the aforementioned differentiation of the buildings. Draw building parts from the cloth bag. You can take 3 random ones or a specific part of your choice between concrete, glass or steel that must be declared before fishing. You can only keep up to 15 building parts in your play area, and at the end of the turn those in excess are returned to the bag. Redevelop a platform, or turn a platform by changing the color and therefore the type of building to be built. Each hexagon, in fact, is double face and on each face there is a small ventilation icon that indicates the color of the face on the back. Restore the platform supply, i.e. change the three platforms in the supply and replace them with three more from the top of the stack. Rearrange contracts, that is, draw a Contract card from the top of a column and place it at the bottom of the same column revealing a new Contract card. Each of these actions can also be chosen twice in the same game turn. While everyone else makes their own decisions, Megacity Oceania creates no downtime as the player who has just finished their turn can immediately start designing the structure if they have a contract, related platform and the right building pieces. When the construction is complete, it respects all the design and construction standards and it is your turn, you can, therefore, decide to carry out a single Special Action or to deliver your construction.

Everyone stops building, hands up and watch the moment: the player on duty must demonstrate that he has complied with all the requirements of the contract card and then gently move his hosting platform to the MegaCity, annexing it to at least one of the sides of platforms already present. If it fails, because the construction collapses or loses one or more pieces, those pieces automatically end up in the ocean and therefore you lose time to recover the pieces and proceed with the construction again, thus losing the turn and passing. If he succeeds, however, there are extra actions, but first he must place his player cube to indicate who is the owner of that particular building.

Parks and Monuments

Once completed the contract cards, these are turned over and the Prestige points earned are shown. When you deliver your structure, you use the ruler to count that the height required by the Contract has been respected, if it is the highest of the MegaCity you get an extra prestige point, if also the building is composed of pieces of only one type of material (only steel, concrete or glass) gets you another point. And if the built building is of the public type, you can decide to pin a piece of construction taken from your area and place it on Central Park. then increase all buildings built around it by another prestige point. Remember the park you received at the start of the game? After delivering, it can be placed adjacent to the newly placed platform. Anyone who later builds nearby (adjacent) can place a sculpture on top of it. At the end of the game, each skyscraper adjacent to a park with sculpture will get an additional point (even more than one if touched by multiple parks).

When a player also takes the last Standard Contract, the 4 Contracts become available Specials. Of the latter, you can only have one at a time and only if you have no other Standard Contracts to complete. This type of contract has more complex demands. When a player completes the last standard contract, the last round begins, during which each player decides whether to Recycle or Deliver. If he decides to Recycle, he puts all his building pieces in the bag and gains a Prestige point, otherwise he can try to add his last building to the MegaCity. If he fails, he loses his turn and keeps the pieces with him: every three pieces left will have one point less in the final score.

Final objective: to have more Prestige points, but also to diversify the production

The goal of the game is clear: to have more Prestige points than other players. Each building provides a Prestige token for each Park with Monument it is connected to. Then we consider the Specialization Award that is awarded to the player with the highest amount of prestige points for each of the 4 types of buildings, the Diversification Award goes to the one who built one or more buildings for each of the 4 types and the Award Tallest building. In the event of a tie, the tallest building wins.

Why play Megacity Oceania?

Megacity Oceania is a game that is halfway between strategy and the ability to design stable buildings that comply with certain contractual standards. The game often allows you to build as you want, therefore also by placing the pieces on top of each other, at other times it asks you to risk a little more with columns or arches, but in all this we are not faced with a punitive game towards those who have more difficulty. Just be determined and you can get to victory without problems.

The construction rules are not absurd, the only one that must always be respected and can create difficulties is to join the three pipes present on the hexagonal platform (materially are three dots that must be at least touched by the building pieces) and, unless the Contract card provides for it, does not touch the ventilation hole with any piece. For the rest you can indulge your creativity. The game also runs very well, in terms of time, when played with 3 and 4 players, while with two you risk having little time to build or having the game blocked for a little too long until at least one of the two players does not deliver.

In 4 players, on the other hand, we notice how the complexity of the last rounds is almost insurmountable given that we are often short of pieces and those that remain are small or not very functional in shape. This last aspect is due to the fact that during the game, although the pieces cannot be observed, touch helps to understand at least the shape and therefore we try to avoid the most difficult pieces that systematically always appear at the last.

It is not a particularly relevant defect, indeed we believe it is an aspect calculated by the designers who have placed the skill challenge of the players at the last. Whoever succeeds has a huge loot of points in safety, otherwise he will determine what he did during the game and how he managed his game strategy.

This is exactly what makes Megacity Oceania a rewarding and involving where those who make mistakes are not blamed since everyone is faced with the same difficulties. The happiness of creating a structure with all the apparently lopsided pieces and seeing a potentially beautiful and always different city grow is a glance that very few games can boast.

Game recommended for ...

Megacity Oceania is a game certainly recommended for lovers of strategy where, however, you need to apply creativity and dexterity in order to achieve victory. It is certainly not a game suitable for the whole family and not even a party game since the construction times and characteristics do not allow it, however the fun is inherent in the lightness and simplicity of the gameplay rather than in the physical and mental effort required of the player. The latter characteristics, although limited and tendentially goliardic, are not lacking so if you are expecting a game where you just need to put two pieces on top of each other to make a structure, perhaps it is better to navigate to other shores.

Conclusions

Megacity Oceania is an incredibly fun and addicting game. Replayability is maximum and the downtime, except for two-player games, is really minimal. The players are all opponents, but in the end everyone will be happy to see their city grow as new builders who compete with each other while pursuing the same goal which is the growth and development of the town in which they work. Involvement never decreases during the game precisely because the desire to create one's own structure is always present: precisely for this reason anxiety and tension could grow and we recommend taking games lightly and calmly. In the end, remember that, even if you are not the winners, the city was born and grew thanks to your help.

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