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Ready to build a thriving city? A Between Two Cities Essential Edition review

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

Between two cities:Essential Edition could be the city game for you? Someone once described this to me as 7 Wonders but you'll have two civilizations. And that could be a fair assessment. It is after all a drafting game.

Between Two Cities, sees you drafting piles of tiles and choosing one to put in the city to your left, another into the city on your right.

Having never played the original, I can't comment on that, however, having read that the capital mats weren't included by default. Feels like a big addition and a must include. I can't really imagine what it would play like without it.

However, it feels a little bit like multiplayer solitaire, which for us wasn't an issue we don't tend to enjoy games that come with too much interaction, a leave me here to play my game and you play yours is very much a category we enjoy.

Between Two Cities: Essential Edition, published by Stonemaier Games and designed by Ben Rosset, Matthew O’Malley, Laura Devon and Agnieszka Dabrowiecka asks you how will you balance two cities, and how much will you collaborate? And it fits all of this into about 30-40 minutes.

Over three rounds, you'll find yourself adding to your cities, while your opponents do the same, meaning you may need some negotiation in order to agree who is going to place first. However, capped by your 5 x 5 grid, you'll need to manage all the different scoring categories. And after 3 rounds you'll be adding up to score your lowest scoring city, at two players this means that your non player Jeremy might steal a victory or two! I've heard that scoring in the original was much more cumbersome, this felt intiative and easy to score, although we did have to recheck a few bits.

Overall, this felt like a game that although playable at 2 thanks to the inclusion of the automa, would play best at higher player counts. It was perfectly playable at two, but feels a bit like 7 wonders, in that I'd not choose to play it at two. And for a household that predominantly plays at two, it feels like there are other games we'd rather play. I'd love to see a Between Two Cities Duel version as I suspect that would have us hooked, in the same way 7 Wonders Duel does. I was impressed by the quality of the components, card stock, mats and player tokens, however, the insert seems a bit odd and could have been better designed.

As you know I rate games on a:

- Buy or play

- Wait for sale or play if you like game XYZ

- Avoid

This is a it depends on what player count, you'll be playing this at. If you're a big 7 wonders fan and want after drafting style game this feels like a solid recommendation for Play or buy. But if you're only lukewarm on 7 Wonders or going to be playing at lower player counts, this is only a play if you like 7 Wonders and Draftosaurus.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a review copy of Between Two Cities by Stonemaier games. However, all thoughts remain my own.

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