In Little Town, you lead a team of architects and must dispatch workers to the town, collect resources and money, build buildings, and develop this little town.
In the game, which lasts four rounds, you can acquire resources such as wood, stones, fish, and wheat from the surrounding squares by putting workers on the board, with three workers being placed each round. When you place a worker, you acquire the resources available in all eight surrounding spaces. You can build buildings by using these resources, and you — or any other player — can gain the effect of the building when place a worker next to it; if you place next to a building owned by another, however, you must pay them a coin before you can collect those resources.
Players collect victory points by using the powers of buildings, by constructing buildings, and by achieving goals dealt to them at the beginning of the game. After four rounds, whoever has the most victory points wins.
—description from the publisher
Artist: Sabrina Miramon
In Little Town, you are an architect directing workers and trying to build up your small beginnings into a bustling village. You’ll gather resources, place buildings, and try to complete objectives to gain the most Victory points. Time to see what this town has to offer!
Little Town is played over four rounds, in which each player takes turns placing their workers. Workers can either gather resources and activate nearby buildings, or they can build new ones if they have the resources required. Fish, Wheat, Wood, and Stone can primarily be gathered from the preexisting sources on the board, but as the game progresses most players will find alternate ways of filling their storehouses.
When gathering and activating, players begin by placing a worker on a square. In doing so, they gain access to any resources or buildings in the 8 squares around them. Players will earn any resources, and they can use their own buildings for free or opponents’ buildings for one coin. When done smartly, this can lead to some strong combinations, such as activating a nearby building that was not previously affordable by gathering more wood, turning it into stone, and using that stone on an opponent’s nearby building to get more victory points. At the end of four rounds, leftover materials are worth nothing, but victory points are awarded for every three coins in a player’s possession. Each round, players need to ensure that they have enough fish and/or wheat on hand to feed their workers; each worker that does not get fed is worth negative three victory points.
To build a building, a player simply places a worker in the construction area and pays its cost, then places it in on the board along with one of their buildings on it so everyone knows who to pay if they want to use it. Early on in the game most players will be just gathering resources and making sure their workers are fed, but to really pull ahead in points players need to start building and setting up combinations to help them win, such as placing a warehouse next to one or two stone resources (warehouse lets you turn 2 stones into victory points). Combinations such as these are key to winning.
I have just a few other odds and ends of nice things to say: I like the custom worker meeples, they add some charm; I like that the board is two-sided (but since both sides are very similar I’m not sure why it is); and the symbology is quickly intuitive (although I wish they’d have used an arrow rather than a “>” because I kept thinking “greater than”). They also include special game objectives, which can earn extra points. Not a huge difference, but possibly enough to make a player slightly alter their plans. I also like how they included several more buildings than players are likely to use in a single game.
It was hard not to compare Little Town to other city building games. There didn’t seem to be any theme at all – just building a city. Unlike in say, Villagers, which is about rebuilding after the plague, or Tiny Towns,in which anthropomorphized animals are building on a packed grid, Little Town is just about building. And there isn’t really much tension because players probably won’t get to place a worker right next to that great building and resource combination this round, so they just get what they get. With no haggling, dice rolling, or planning to be done, players are left with a city that, much like the game box, feels pretty empty and lifeless. When compared to other town-based or city-building games it fails to stand out. Little Town isn’t a bad little town to visit, but I wouldn’t want to stay there.
A review copy was generously provided by the publisher.
+ Custom worker meeples
+ Extra buildings provide variety
- No theme
- Not much to the gameplay