Are you ready to dive into the submerged world with the Underwater Cities board game? Let’s dive into its gameplay features.
In the course of the game, the players solve the overpopulation problem on the Earth. Their mission is to create the depths of the sea suitable for human life. Developing your underwater civilization, you will build massive domes over cities, tunnels, auxiliary buildings, and the like.
How Many People Can Play the Game?
There are two sides of the field: one for 1-2 players and another for 3-4 players. Excellent solution! These fields are different, which means that creators have considered and tested everything to accommodate any taste. A round of applause! The play will take about 30-40 minutes per person. If you play in a group of four people, the entertainment might take three hours or even longer.
Let’s Dive a Bit into the Game Rules
At the heart of the game is the worker placement with the deck of cards. Actions on the central board are divided into three color groups, and if the card matches the color of the chosen location, the player gets the opportunity to use the card and gain scores.
Our ambitious plan to conquer the underwater world begins with a field that includes available actions, tracks of rounds, the sequence of moves, winning points, and cells for different types of cards. In Underwater Cities, you have to think about both what field action to choose and which card to play. Very cool technique!
The major part of the whole game is ordinary cards, which are divided into 3 epochs. There is a phase of manufacturing that comes between epochs and before the calculation of points.
In addition to the deck of epochs on the board are laid out 3 target cards and unique cards pre-sorted by value. The most expensive ones are for additional victory points. They are randomly selected in the game. The rest of them lie next to the stack.
Each player gets a tablet, 3 action tokens, an assistant card, a couple of memos, and resources. The tablet has a dome indicating the starting city, as well as 3 random tokens of megacities. Then, all players put markers on the tracks, take another 6 cards from the first era’s deck, put 3 of them and start exploring new horizons. We want to note that this limitation of cards allows you not to extend the game for a long time as it happens with 8 or 10 cards.
During a turn, the player chooses a free action on the field, puts one of their tokens on it, and immediately plays the card. As we mentioned before, if the card’s color matches the action, then such a card is winning. Otherwise, it just goes into the rebound.
During the game, you will receive four types of cards. The prosperity of your underwater settlement depends on them. Some cards have a flash symbol, which gives a one-time bonus. The infinity symbol on the card indicates some permanent features. Cards with gears yield results as well. The clock is an additional source of winning points, which will bring income at the end of the batch. The letter “A” means a particular action. It can be activated once in a round when choosing a location with the appropriate symbol.
The exciting thing is that the field’s actions are unequal due to the colors of the card. Yellow is the strongest, red is in the middle, and green is the weakest. But their usefulness is balanced by the properties of the cards. In other words, green cards have the most beneficial effects, while yellow cards bring minor results.
Locations on the field and card effects offer a wide range of actions and various bonuses to help you develop your civilization faster and more effectively. The field is responsible for obtaining coins and resources, extracting additional cards, constructing buildings (laboratories, farms, water filtration facilities) and tunnels, improving structures, building city domes, moving along the track.
Now let’s discuss the properties of cards. Sometimes they partially duplicate the field’s actions, offer an alternative fee for building, allow you to get rare biomaterials, and bring different benefits when performing specific activities.
There are also a lot of building issues, but let’s make it simple. For the buildings to be useful during the production of glasses, it is necessary to build domes and connect all the tunnels to the starter city. An improved structure will bring more benefits than a regular one.
And if you are lucky enough to join a megapolis, you will be rewarded. It can be a bonus in the form of resources or scores during the production phase. At the end of production, you need to “feed” each city with seaweed.
The scores earned during the game are cumulative. Then all remaining resources are exchanged for coins and also converted into scores, defining the winner.
Let’s take a break?
This game has a limited number of rounds – only 10. This is a benefit because the process doesn’t stretch out endlessly. Most of all, we like the fact that there is a desire to perform many things, but you have to continually assess your actions due to the limit in 3 moves.
This game is like love at first sight! Well, in this case, love at first play. Underwater Cities has everything: a fascinating and challenging choice of moves, a massive number of unique properties and card combinations, a captivating subject and creative process, and the balance between tactics and strategy.
The combination of “field actions + cards” proved to be a super exciting finding. From the first minutes, you plunge into the game as deep as underwater. Of course, you want to get a bonus for matching colors in each move, but a lot depends on the correct planning, cards, and opponents. Throughout the game, we have to figure out how to make adjustments to the planned chain of actions, sacrifice essential cards, postpone moves and use bonuses.
The eras change each other so quickly that you don’t even notice it. In each phase of the process, you need to get at least a minimum result, which will allow you to play as long as possible with your obtained resources.
The game rules are written surprisingly well, and the basic principles are not complicated. The abundance of opportunities is confusing. But do not be afraid, take it easy during the first game, and keep cards with different colors to get bonuses. When you get used to it, you are welcome to start making meaningful combinations.
This game is often compared with Terraforming Mars. But it’s not because Underwater Cities replicates the idea of it. The matter is in the subject – mastering something unexplored with an unparalleled experience.
We can notice only one drawback – some design errors. There is beautiful art on cards, clear iconography, cool domes, and transparent disks of buildings. But if you look closely, something is missing. There are repetitive illustrations and tiny disc sizes. Tablets are relatively thin, bending at the slightest touch, and the resource tokens are also very modest. In other words, everything seems to be characterized in an integral style, but when you get to know the components closer, you have a feeling that the quality of each element could be improved.
All in all, Underwater Cities is the new favorite boarding game of many people. It involves a desire to learn the game further, beat records, try different card combinations, and focus on various development branches. When you are done playing, there is a pleasant aftertaste. We advise everyone to try this game and spend the evening with friends wonderfully.