Manhattan Board Game
by Pamela Laurenne Laserna
Manhattan Board Game
Board game manufacturer:
Rio Grande Games
Number of players:
Manhattan is a short, tense and pretty simple building game which focuses on area control. It’s one of the many Spiel des Jahres winners with a 3D nature to the gameplay.
The game and gameplay
In Manhattan, players take turns placing game pieces, which represent skyscrapers, onto a board consisting of six 3×3 grids, which represent city blocks.
Their options, however, are limited by the cards in their hand. They will only be able to build on a particular block if they have an appropriate card. A skyscraper may be constructed by several players, but ownership is claimed by the one who manages to build the top of the building.
Points are given for every skyscraper you own, for owning the most in a single block, and for owning the tallest one. Of course, player with the most points win.
Pros and cons
It is great as a family board game which all ages could enjoy. Setup and cleanup is a breeze, which is a plus given the impatience of younger players.
Image courtesy of Phil Romans under a Creative Commons license from Flikr
Manhattan provides different levels of excitement for each age group: adults will enjoy the adrenaline rush without feeling overly anxious, and younger ones may be challenged just by interpreting the cards.
As for the game’s components, the best descriptions for them would be clear, organized and functional. The board gives a pleasing resemblance to the cityscape, and the colors of the blocks contrast nicely with it.
Manhattan’s graphic presentation is fairly bland, with ordinary artwork. The playing pieces are made of simple molded plastic and the cards of thick standard board. The scoring track is easy to read so some points for that.
Gameplay is relatively straightforward. There isn’t some hardcore strategy going on, so players who haven’t had any experience with tactical games shouldn’t fret. The drawing of the cards gives the game the element of luck.
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The players’ tactic is constrained to his/her drawn cards; this limitation somehow minimizes analysis paralysis and makes things move quickly. The game’s excitement is provided by the immediate feedback players get after their moves.
If one can overlook the plain components, Manhattan board game is a genuinely fun “filler” game with light strategy and a couple of interesting twists.
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