Machi Koro: Harbor Expansion Review


Machi Koro: Harbor Expansion is an expansion for the Machi Koro base game designed by Masao Suganuma, published by IDW Games. It is for 2-5 players. This expansion makes it now possible for 5 players to play. It also adds new landmarks and establishments as well as adding a new denomination of coins for 20 coins. For a full review of the base game and how to play it, follow the links below.

With this expansion, it completely changes up the way the game is set up. Let me explain.

To begin, each player is given a wheat field and bakery card which are placed face up in front of them. They will now receive 6 landmark cards instead of 4 and place them face down above their 2 starting cards. They also get a pre-constructed landmark card: City Hall. This is placed with the rest of their landmarks but unlike the others, it is set face up and is available to be used at the beginning of the game. The Harbor and Airport landmarks join the Train Station, Shopping Mall, Amusement Park and Radio Tower. A marketplace is then prepared. This is done by shuffling all the non-starting establishments and major establishments from both this expansion and the base game. A single deck is formed by doing this unlike before where each establishment was placed face up in individual stacks in numerical order. From this single stack, cards are then drawn to form a face up line up. Cards are arranged in numerical order. The thing is that while drawing cards if a copy of a card that is already in the marketplace is drawn, it is stacked on top of that card. This continues until there are 10 unique establishments. That means that there can be several stacks as long as there are only 10 stacks of face up cards in the marketplace. Each player is given 3 coins like before. The remaining coins and the dice are placed within reach of all the players. The first player is chosen and play now begins.

The rules remain the same in playing the game. Simply roll the dice, earn income and construct an establishment or landmark. For more information on that, you can read my review of the base game in the link above. The only change is with the marketplace. If at any time during the game, there are less than 10 unique establishments in the marketplace, a card is drawn from the deck to replenish it. Just like in the set up, if the card drawn is a copy of one of the cards already face up in the marketplace, it is stacked on top of that card and another card is drawn until there are 10 unique establishments face up again. Once the draw deck runs our of cards, the marketplace is no longer refilled. Also, if there are Major Establishments in the marketplace that can’t be purchased any more because all the players already own a copy of it and may not purchase another, those cards are removed from the marketplace and it is then replenished back to 10 unique establishments like before. If at any time after that, one of those Major Establishment cards are drawn from the deck, it is discarded and a new card is drawn. Winning is almost exactly the same except now 6 landmarks must be constructed to win instead of 4. The first player to do this is the winner.

This expansion adds several new establishment cards as well as new landmarks. There are also new denominations of coins of the 20 coin variety. The artwork for the cards is the same style and quality as the base game. The coins are purple and made of thick cardboard. The thematic elements that were present in the base game are also present here. As I said in my previous review, the quality of components is very nice and the city building theme is very much a part of this expansion as well. The box and insert are a little unusual, but I simply added the new cards to my base game box and put the expansion box away. It is not needed.
9 out of 10

The rulebook for this expansion is much like the rules for Diamonsters. It is basically a pamphlet and not really a book. There is a nice large picture of the Harbor design from the box cover on it. There are lots of great pictures and examples throughout the rules. Everything is explained really well and nothing is difficult or hard to understand. There are some special notes on certain establishments that will hopefully clear up any question that might arise while playing the game. The rules fit nicely inside the long rectangular box. I like the look and design of the rules and think that like the Diamonsters rulebook, they did a good job with it.
9 out of 10

This expansion adds a complete retooling of the entire game. Of course you will roll the dice, earn income and construct establishments and landmarks but it’s all about the set up of the game. Each time you play the game, the establishments that are available will most likely change. I love that! Many of the new establishments play off of each other, like the Tuna Boat and the Harbor. I love that this expansion has made the game almost into a new game. The core principles are there but it doesn’t feel the same as before. If you’ve figured out a strategy on how best to win with the base game, those plans might not be available to initiate if the right establishments are there during setup. To me, this makes it much better for new and old players alike, and it puts everyone on a much more equal playing field. My son really enjoys this as well as the base game. There’s just something about throwing dice that’s fun. I love this and think it’s a must have addition to the base game.
9 out of 10

Machi Koro: Harbor Expansion expands the completely awesome Machi Koro base game. It adds about an extra 10 minutes or so onto the game, making it around 40 minutes or so in play time. The artwork and theme are light hearted and fun just like the base game. Everything looks great and compliments the whole city building mechanic quite nicely. This is a must have for fans of Machi Koro. To me, it adds a bit more of an even playing field for both new and old fans alike. It is very easy to teach and is simple enough for everyone. It makes some changes to the base game but leaves the core principles and ideas intact. This is a great game and I highly recommend it.
9 out of 10



For more information about this and other great games, please check out  IDW 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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