Too often, board games can feel like a chore. There’s countless rules, the need to organise events, and hours spent on set-up, pack-down and everything in between. It’s not always an effort — and there are certainly games that make sure your time is rewarding — but when you just want a quick game with mates, it can be hard to find the right board game. Luckily, that’s where tile placement game My City comes in. If you’re looking for an easy-t0-learn and endlessly rewarding board game to play with mates, this is it. And the best part is you barely need to learn how to play it.
While My City looks complicated at first (the box is filled with envelopes, tiles and cards), it’s actually an incredibly simple, legacy-style game with fun, tile-based gameplay.
The first thing you should do before set-up is run through the rules and open the first envelope marked ‘Chapters 1-3’. This will spell out any special requirements for the chapter you’re in (there’s 24 in total) and give you an idea about what tile placements will score you the most points as you play.
I say “run through the rules” so casually because it really is that simple to learn the game.
How To Play ‘My City’
Here’s how a round works: each player (2-4) gets a board (representing their city) and a handful of building tiles (corresponding to their city icon). The main deck of cards is shuffled, and the first card is turned over. Everybody playing puts the depicted building tile on their city board, making sure to place their starting tile along the river.
From then on, each new building (drawn from the deck) must be placed with one whole side touching an already-placed building tile with the ultimate goal of creating a tessellated city with the fewest green tiles showing. Rocks left showing will deduct points from a player’s final score, and trees will add to a player’s final score.
As you progress through each linear chapter (designed to be played as a long-term story), new rules are added and subtracted as you go, meaning no two rounds are the same. This differentiation is key to keeping the game fresh across all 24 story chapters.
It’s recommended that you play with the same group of people every time and maintain the scores from each round, but because you wipe your town slate clean after every chapter and begin a rebuild, you don’t really need to play with the same people. It does give you a sense of ownership of your city, but it’s not completely necessary.
Note:Because My City is a legacy game, the instructions recommend you sticker and mark up your town boards. You don’t have to do this (you can easily cut out stickers and leave them loose on the tiles, or mark your score track on a seperate piece of paper) but the game is designed to be written on. If you’d prefer not to do this, there is a non-legacy mode described in the game’s manual.
Set-Up and Gameplay
Set-up for My City is incredibly simple: all you need to do is lay out as many boards as there are players, place the deck in the centre of your play area and put your chapter’s goal and scoring card within reach of everyone.
Each player has their own collection of building tiles (coloured red, blue and yellow) and is in charge of their own city. It means you can sit down, take your time, plan effectively and learn as you go. It also means the game is incredibly relaxing.
As I mentioned earlier, it can be tough finding the right board game to play when real life gets in the way. Whether it’s work or other responsibilities, there are moments you want to sit down with something quick and easy that’ll take your mind off everything and let you rest for a while.
My City is that game.
Sitting down to a new chapter after work has become a form of relaxation for me. Because it’s so simple, it’s easy to let your mind wander while playing it. You simply sit down, check cards and tune out while you quietly work on the best configurations for placing your tiles. There is a strategy you can work on while you figure out the game (i.e. making sure you leave gaps for larger building tiles) but you’re also perfectly fine to just breathe, place tiles and imagine your tiny little city coming to life.
While the legacy aspect of the game may turn some away, it actually makes My City better because each chapter is so different. Some instruct you to group coloured cities together, others require you to build around wells while later chapters introduce new special tiles and stickers. It means more challenge, elevated gameplay, and plenty of reasons to come back again and again.
My City is a game that looks deceptively complex, but once you’re familiar with the rules (and it won’t take long) you can sit down and enjoy hours of slow, idyllic tile placement. Each chapter will last you around 20 minutes, the perfect length for a chill, breezy game — and the game remains fresh throughout its entire runtime. While there is an element of strategy you can employ if you like, there’s nothing too frantic about My City, so you can really sit down and enjoy the game in whatever fashion you’d like.
As somebody who loves organising things, this is a game that made my heart sing.
There’s something very cathartic about My City that makes each round an absolute joy to play through and while my strategies didn’t always work out, the gameplay is so fun that it rarely matters. If you’re looking for a relaxing board game you can play in a jiffy or just a slower-paced, more rewarding adventure, you’ll find it here.