Machi Koro Review


Machi Koro is a game by Masao Suganuma, published by IDW Games. It is for 2-4 players. In this game, players will be working to turn their small city into the largest city in the region. They will be collecting money, building lots of different types of building and stealing from their neighbors. The player that can build all four of their landmarks first will be declared the winner.

To begin, each player is given a wheat field and bakery card which are placed face up in front of them. They also take 4 landmark cards and place them face down above their 2 starting cards. The landmarks are train station, shopping mall, amusement park and radio tower. A marketplace is then created for all of the other establishments. Cards of the same type are placed into individual face up stacks which are then placed in order by the number at the top of each card. Each player is given 3 coins and the remaining money is placed within easy reach of all players. The dice are also placed within reach as well. The first player is chosen and play now begins.

A player’s turn consists of 3 phases. Those 3 phases are roll dice, earn income and construction. A player will complete all 3 phases before completing their turn and passing to the next player. The first phase is to roll the dice. To do this the player simply takes one of the dice and rolls it. Once a player builds their Train Station, they will be able to roll one or two dice. When rolling two dice, the numbers are added together.

The next phase is the earn income phase. The player compares the number that they rolled on the dice to the establishment cards that they have built. Blue establishments earn income for the player from the bank during anyone’s turn. Green establishments earn income from the bank on the the player’s turn only. Red establishments earn income from the person who rolled the dice. Purple establishments earn income from all other players but only during the player’s turn. Sometimes multiple establishments will be activated at the same time. If this happens they are resolved in the following order; red, green, blue and purple. Multiple copies of the same establishment provide income multiplied by the number of establishments of that particular type owned.

The last phase is the construction phase. In this phase, the player may pay to construct one establishment or they may pay to finish construction on a landmark. When an establishment is constructed it is taken from the supply and placed face up in the player’s city area beside the rest of their establishment cards. Landmarks are simply flipped face up once they have been constructed. Multiple copies of establishments may be constructed, however only one of each type of landmark can be constructed by a player. Once a player has finished the construction phase, play passes to the next player. This continues until one player completes all four of their landmarks. The player that does this first is the winner.


This game consists of some very nice looking cards. Each one has some very unique and fun looking artwork. Even the backs of the cards have a unique looking design as well. I really love the look and feel of each card. They have a very SimCity type feel to them. The coins are thick cardboard with denominations of 1, 5 and 10. Each denomination is a different color. I like that paper money wasn’t used in this game. To me, cardboard money is much better and lots more durable especially considering that I have a 4 year old that likes to play games too. There are two dice included with the game, one blue and one green. I’m not sure why they weren’t both the same color, but I don’t really care either. They look nice and I like the bright colors on them. They really help accent the feel and look of the game. I truly enjoy the thematic elements that this game gives you. The city building theme is nicely done and is represented nicely on every piece.
9 out of 10

The rulebook is a real beauty of design. Each page is full of great pictures. I really like that there’s a nice introduction to the game on the first page. It gives a real thematic feel to it, as if you’ve just been elected mayor of this city that you’re tasked to build. There are some really great explanations of the different types of cards and how they all work. There are lots of great examples as well as a nice picture of how to set up the game. The book is very nicely done and it has that same style of art and feel that the game itself has. Overall, I really like it and think that they did a really nice job creating it.
9 out of 10

When the rulebook tells you that this game is infectiously fun, BELIEVE IT! I have had SO much fun playing this game and it’s incredibly simple to boot. It’s pretty much all about rolling dice and collecting money to build buildings. What could be more simple that that. The game is very light hearted and family friendly. It has a great little city building feel much like SimCity or something like that. Luck does play a major part in this game. If the dice aren’t working for you, you may not enjoy yourself very much. As they say, “them’s the breaks”. While this can be a major turn off to some people, I rather like the whole feel. Some of the luck can be offset with certain buildings. That way if you’re rolling bad, you can rely on your opponent’s good luck to roll some good luck for you as well. As I said, the game is super easy and just pure fun for me. I like it a lot. Fun fact: I looked up the English translation for Machi Koro. It means Town Roller. That’s great!
9 out of 10

Machi Koro is a light weight light hearted city building game from Japan. The game plays in about 30 minutes. The artwork, theme and design are very light hearted and are integrated well in every aspect of the game. The cards are beautiful and fun. The game mechanics is at heart a city building game, but relies heavily on dice rolling and luck. Even so, certain establishment cards will help keep the luck factor down a bit. The game is super fun and is one that fans of games like Suburbia or SimCity might readily enjoy. The game is simple enough for the whole family and the family friendly look and design are great for all ages. The game is easy to teach and is one that everyone will enjoy. I highly recommend it.
9 out of 10



For more information about this and other great games, please check out  Games at their site.

About Gaming Bits - Jonathan Nelson

I'm a happily married man with 2 wonderful kids. I love my family very much. I'm a big fan of board, card and RPG games and have been playing for over 20 years. As a board and card game reviewer, I'm hoping that this blog will inform, educate and entertain you. If you like it, please tell your friends and have them join in on the conversations. Thanks and GAME ON!!
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3 Responses to Machi Koro Review

  1. Pingback: “Machi Koro Review” – Gaming Bits | Roll For Crit

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