BOOMTOWN - Reviewed by John
This highly entertaining family game, which is based upon building a town in the 1950's, is for 2-6 players, aged 10 to adult. It became available as a limited edition of 1000 games from Livingstone Games and is well manufactured by Games Workshop Ltd. in Germany.
The playing board represents six unbuilt districts each of which have spaces allocated for 20 houses, 5 small developments and 5 large developments.
Each district will gradually be developed and the object of the game is to place your houses in the ‘best’ area. The value of a district is determined by the developments within it, for example Theatre +4, Factory -6, Swimming Baths +2, Darts Club -1.
Final scoring is determined by adding together the values of each district’s developments to arrive at a net value for that district. For each player the resulting value for each district is multiplied by the number of houses that they have in that district. Each players six values are then summed and the player with the highest total is the winner.
Each player starts with the same number of houses (dependent upon the number of players) plus 5 small and 5 large developments, and a Planning Permission Refused card. In each turn (see below) a player may object to a development but the card can only be used once per round, so be careful if you object, you may finish up with a worse development than the one you are objecting to !.
Game turns consist of each player in clockwise order doing the following:
1) Build a house
2) Build a second house ( Thought : Do you concentrate on particular areas or go for a more even spread across most districts?)
3) Build a small development ( Other players may object to this, in which case you must try and place another small development from your stock)
4) Build a third house
5) Build a fourth house ( Which other players are building in an area, do you trust them?)
6) Build a large development ( Do you improve your favoured district or try and worsen other players districts ?. Again, other players may object to this latest development, as per 3 above)
7) Replenish development counters back to 5 of each ( Note: Rejected developments are recycled with the unused spare developments prior to the replenishment)
8) If applicable, Reclaim Planning Permission card.
The game is great fun, yet still skillful. We have made a house rule that each player must give an oral explanation for placing developments, saying for example,
"I think it would be a good idea to place the Toilets next to the Brewery", or "Lets have the Pig Farm next to the Stables to make the manure collection easier". The more imaginative the ‘banter’, the greater the fun.
This game comes highly recommended for family fun and if you can obtain a copy of it I have no doubt it will prove to be a good investment.