Blue Moon City is yet another Reiner Knizia game, but we feel the style of BMC stands out from not just many of his other games, but most games in general. In Blue Moon City, 2-4 players will compete to contribute to the reconstruction of Blue Moon City. To do this, you will need to be the first player to make enough offerings to the obelisk located at the games center and thusly, winning the game. Offerings are made by paying Crystals that you earn by helping to repair various parts of the city. To repair a section of the city, you must invest cards from your hand that match the sections' number and its color. So, for example to repair a section, you may have to discard cards worth a total of five points of the color red, where as another part of the city may require three separate investments of blue for four, three and two points total. Whenever a section of the city it completed, it is flipped over and you earn a reward shown on the face side of the tile. Generally, this is crystals but in addition to, or in place of crystals, you may gain extra cards or dragon scales (which can be traded for crystals once enough are collected). To help players, in their quest to win the game, they may also discard cards to gain special effects such as moving extra spaces, moving little plastic dragons to earn extra dragon scales or making extra offerings at the Obelisk. So, did Blue Moon City make us want to help with the reconstruction or simply move to a new town.
Components - The quality of the components is rather high. The cardboard tiles are large, thick and durable. We have owned this game for 3-4 years now and none of the chits or tiles show any signs of peeling or wear.
Value - At $25-$40, we think that Blue Moon City has a hell of a value. We got our copy on that low $25 end and for the components and amount of fun we have had, its a steal.
Setup/take down - Moderate set up is required. There is a deck of cards that will need to be shuffled (and at possibly reshuffled once or twice during the game) and there are tiles that will need to be set up and flipped to the right position. All in all about 5 minutes worth of set up and about the same for the take down.
Length - The length is pretty perfect for what this game is. Every once and a while we feel that the game can run long (about 90 minutes) but in general we can finish a game in about 45 minutes.
Luck to skill ratio - The Luck to skill ratio in Blue Moon City is fairly moderate. There are card draws in the game with card power ranging from 1-3 and several different races each with their own ability and symbols on the board they are used on. In general the better player should win, but these card draws can make a difference.
How often does it/will it hit the table? - Once every month or two.
Accessibility - We would not recommend BMC to sit down and teach to people who do not regularly play games, but its definitely a game that anyone that plays games could understand how to play in just 5 minutes or so. Not too complicated, but probably too intimidating non gamers.
Rules - Pretty basic. As we said above, I would not necessarily try and teach this game to newbies, but any gamer can learn BMC very fast. For those learning from the rule book, it's just as easy. The rule book is only a few pages and many of them are card examples. Fast, simple and informative.
BMC is really unique - I really cannot think of many games that are similar to BMC; furthermore some of its gameplay mechanics like the duel use of cards are underused or completely unique.
Theme - While the games theme may not blow anyone away, they definitely spent a good amount of time fleshing it out and it's far stronger than most. Furthermore, the theme ties into their other game,
Blue Moon, very well--increasing the thematic effect for both games.
Interesting discard mechanic - In BMC instead of simply drawing X cards every turn, you draw cards based on how many you are willing to discard. Every turn players will draw 2 new cards no matter what at the end of their turn, however you draw an extra card for each you are willing to discard. So if you discard 0 cards you draw 2, 1 card you draw 3 and 2 cards you draw 4.
Incredibly competitive - I feel like this is one of the rare games that I feel the other player always keeps me feeling threatened. I do not dominate in this game--I instead earn my victory one turn at a time.
Duel card uses - I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that the cards can be used two different ways. As I said above, you can move the dragons to earn extra scales, move extra spaces or convert cards of one color into another. I love having to try and balance using the cards to pay to repair cities, to discard them to earn more cards and to activate special powers. It is just such a delicate balance trying to use the cards to their best use.
Semi-random set up - There are five tiles that must be placed in a certain position, the rest go in a random position. I wish they would have first off marked the tiles that are the tiles that MUST go in a certain location. Second though, I wish they would have either had set up be completely random or not random at all.
Flipping tiles - I always hate having to remove the cubes from tiles and flip it. It's annoying trying not knocking the board out of place or knocking cubes over just to flip a tile!
Going first can offer an advantage - At least in the two player game, going first can offer a fair advantage. Normally stuff like this does not bug me much, but seeing as almost every game of BMC ends so freaking close, it can be frustrating. I mean, it sucks losing a game by one turn(commonplace in BMC)and you didn't go first.
The games are always VERY close - I do not think there has ever been a blowout when we play BMC. Each and every time the game comes down to the last few turns for either player. I love how edge of your seat BMC is!
Amazing 2 player game - In the few years we have owned BMC, we will admit we have not got to play it with more than two players....but frankly we don't care. BMC plays amazingly well with two players; it is just incredibly well balanced and thought out for two.
The dragons are a really cool addition - Both as a gameplay mechanic and as a component, the dragons are cool. BMC comes with three plastic dragons that can be moved around the board(via discarding certain cards) to collect dragon scales. I love both the added way to gather crystals, but also that the game came with three tiny dragons vs just a crappy wooden tokens or some other cheap part.
Lots of interesting choices - Do you want to move the dragons and try to build up your dragon scales, maybe you have built up a lot of yellow cards and you want to sweep a tile in one turn, or maybe there is a tile that someone else has invested in and you can earn some quick crystals with one small investment. BMC does not leave the player lacking in interesting choices.
Flipped tiles still give bonuses - In BMC, when you complete and flip a tile, it is not completely useless like most other games. Instead, the flip side of the card has a bonus that you will receive any time you complete a tile that is orthogonally adjacent. So if the tile initially gave a 5 crystal reward, when flipped it will probably give 2 or 3 crystals to the person to complete the tile next to it.
My goodness, Ryan can be whiny - Ryan is usually a pretty good loser, but there are a few games where luck plays a role and he gets really whiny. Of all those games, BMC is probably the one where he whines not just the most, but enough that he can annoy the hell out of me!
The game can run a bit long - Usually it finishes up in 45-60 mins, but sometimes we have games run an hour and a half to two hours. I imagine adding more players would make that more common as well.
Not enough "1" crystal tokens - The game comes with crystals in the value of singles and triples. We find that we are constantly cashing in our singles for new triples because there just are not enough of the singles.
Ok, ok! I'll admit it....yes, I get really whiny with BMC! I think it's because the games are all just so close! I am used to either dominating the game or being able to tell I am losing and accepting it. With BMC, since the game in general comes down to just a few turns I feel sooooo competitive and it makes every bad card draw or player snagging your spot a turn ahead of you MUCH more annoying. Excuses aside though, that should tell you that BMC is a great game. I WANT to win and I am on the edge of my seat the entire game. This combined with the unique gameplay mechanics and the wealth of decisions makes for a VERY fun game.
Before doing this review, we actually had not played BMC in about two years. It is not that BMC is a bad game, it is that I think we loved it so much that we used to played it to death (plus I couldn't take Ryans' boo-hooing anymore!). After a long break...im in love again even if I feel this a game that should only be played once every month or two. It is just one of those games that you will burn out on if you put it on the table every week for months on end. With each game coming down to the last turn, this game is truly enjoyable. I also enjoy the multitude of choices that can be made on each turn (especially summoning the dragons to me to reap all of the dragon scales before Ryan can get any!). It also fills me with joy when I flip a tile before Ryan has a chance to get there and I get to obtain all of the benefits of that tile by myself. The competition is close in this game and I truly recommend for anyone that is looking for a great two player game.