If you thought Sorcerer City was a sequel/expansion for Sorcerer, you’d be wrong. If you’ve seen pictures of the components and thought it was a dull dungeony retheme of Carcassonne, you’d be wrong, too.
It turns out that Sorcerer City is a clever and original mix of tile-laying and something like (but not exactly the same as) deck-building. Over five rounds you and up to five opponents (there is also a great solo mode) compete to amass the most prestige by building and re-building your district of the city using the tiles you start with plus others you buy and are given during the game.
Each player starts with the same set of twelve tiles, each of which is split into up to three regions using the game’s four colours: red for Influence, yellow for Gold, green for Prestige, and blue for Raw Magic. Some of your tiles have scoring shields on them which are also colour-coded; at the end of a building round, you’ll score points in your four stats depending on whether and how much those shield score.
Players shuffle their face-down stacks and then whoever has the sand-timer that round shouts “Go!” and turns it over, and building commences. Oh, did I mention you only have two minutes to lay your tiles?
At the end of the round everyone figures out their scores. Influence is used to gain bonuses and determine buying order from the central market. Gold is used to buy new tiles from the market. Prestige is cashed in for points. And before any of that happens, players secretly and simultaneously decide what stat they’ll boost with their Raw Magic--which makes for tantalizing decision-making.
You can start to use tiles you buy in the central market starting the following round. Some tiles have spells on them which let you manipulate your layout during the build phase, score extra points, or give you extra buying power. Others have shields on them, which “just” give you more opportunities to score points.
Finally, at the end of the round, monsters enter the realm. There are fourteen to choose from randomly when you set up, and they range from simply annoying to downright ugly. Each player must take a copy of the next round’s monster, and therefore must take its powers into account as they build. Fortunately, monster tiles have identifying icons on their backs, so if you’re paying attention you know when you’re about to draw one--you just may not know which one it is…
All in all Sorcerer City is really a great addition to the tile-laying genre. I would definitely recommend it to lovers of games like Carcassonne who are looking for something next-level, but it’s easy enough to learn to make it a good gateway game as well. If you find the time-limit too taxing you can always ditch it. In my opinion the timer helps keep things moving and removing it takes the edge off a bit too much, but then again having unlimited time really gives time for you to think through your moves and maximizes the puzzly aspect, so if that’s what you enjoy then have at it I say.
It’s always a treat to be pleasantly surprised by a game like Sorcerer City. Click here to order your copy of Sorcerer City now.