Posted by James (admin) on November 19th, 2009
The goal of Infinite City is to score as many points as possible and points are scored depending upon which tiles your markers are on at the end of the game. To set-up, five tiles are placed face-down on the table in a cross shape and each player is given 15 markers of their colour and dealt a hand of 5 tiles, which they keep hidden from the other players.
On a player’s turn, they select a tile from their hand and place it face-up orthogonally next to a tile already in play. They place one of their markers on this new tile and then follow the written instructions on it. The instructions have lots of different effects such as swapping the position of two tiles in play (along with any markers on them), removing all markers from a single tile, playing another tile immediately, adding more tiles to your hand, swapping hands, and so on. If a player ever places one of their markers on an existing face-up tile they do not get to execute the instructions on the tile. Placing a marker on a face-down tile allows the player to turn it face-up and perform the action. When you have finished your turn, you draw tiles so you have 5 in your hand.
The game ends when either one player runs out of markers (every other player gets one more turn) or all 5 Power Station tiles have been played. Players score in three different ways. First, groups – a player scores one point for each of their markers that is in a contiguous group of their own colour that is three or more in size. Second, numbered tiles – some tiles have a numbered value on them and a player scores this many points if their marker is on such a tile. Finally, ring tiles – some tiles have silver rings on them and only the player who has markers on the most ring tiles scores one point for each tile they are on. So, if the red player has markers on 4 ring tiles and the blue player has markers on 3 ring tiles then the red player scores 4 points and the blue player scores zero. So, you want to make a large contiguous group and be on tiles that score points or have rings.
Overall, Infinite City was fun to play and a lot more interesting than it first seemed too. The effects of the tiles are quite varied and working out how to get the most out of their effects makes for some solid tactical thinking because the order and locations in which you play them make a big difference. Plus, the effects on your and/or your opponents is critical: Do you increase your own presence or do you remove another player’s? Adding your own markers to the board will likely further your scoring but breaking an opponent’s contiguous group could affect them even more. Could you achieve both at the same time? Do you place a tile in a space to deny other players the same opportunity?
There are lots of good choices to consider and the choices in your hand are limited each turn so the game doesn’t slow down too much. Any planning is made in a bit of a vacuum as you don’t know what tiles your opponents may be holding, so you may need to reassess your plans on the fly. When you start understanding what tiles could be played, you can sometimes see signs of what a player may be preparing and/or what you need to prepare against; however, Infinite City is a fast, light, tactical game so perfect information is not required.
During the game, it is not easy to see the exact scores. The contiguous groups each player has are obvious and are usually the main target for attacks, but it takes time to calculate how many points players may earn from buildings and even longer to work out who will get points for the ringed buildings. This fuzziness means it is possible for players to take advantage of opportunities others may have overlooked and, for me, this added a bt of extra excitement to the game as it wasn’t over ’til it was over.
A couple of tiles seemed quite powerful compared to others and I might have liked an option to exchange tiles instead of my action, or maybe play an unseen tile off the top of a draw stack (instead of out of my hand) as sometimes your tiles in hand can make little difference. These are minor issues though as Infinite City is fun, offers some short-term, tactical decision-making with constant back-and-forth attacks and shifts between the players. Infinite City was a nice surprise.
[Played twice with 3 players]