Sunday, July 14, 2013

London: This is not Tammany hall!

Omg even though I lost (Because of my loan) its still fun!
I had started to like Martin Wallace games since I played Brass recently and then gotten myself a copy. So i was looking for other games of his to try and London has been on and off my radar for a while. On because its rated highly in BGG (yes I am a sucker for ratings) and off because well the components looked crappy. Dion brought over his limited edition copy (which I think is rather hard to get nowadays) and I am glad to have a play of it.

Before I started, Dion mentioned that someone thought this was just like Tammany Hall which Martin Wallace also designed. But after playing it, it is NOWHERE like Tammany Hall. Heck even the theme is different lol. I won't go into too much details of the rules but I will highlight what I liked about the game.
The city cards that you placed in front of you is a very interesting mechanism. You want to be as efficient as possible thus deciding how many sets of cards to have in front of you to give you the maximum benefits when you run your city and at the same time, balancing how many poverty cubes that you will get. One of the players had 7 at one time and he was getting quite a fair bit of poverty cubes which triggered him to expand aggressively (he's the yellow player). Furthermore, to play the city cards, you will need to discard a same color card to the card display which can be beneficial to others as well because they can pick up that card to do the same or benefit from it.
Simplicity or elegant design of the game is a big plus to me. Initially I had thought its something convoluted or complicated but after the first few rounds it was a very easy and straight forward game to play. Because you only have 1 action per turn, the most AP part will be when you are playing cards because the cards are largely all very attractive to you and deciding which card to play AND if you want to extend your city will be the source of much AP.
Running of the city and poverty chips are an interesting concept. While you want to do a lot of things at 1 time, you have to be mindful of how many poverty chips that you may end up getting. Why? Because at the end of the game you will be penalised if the difference in poverty chips between what you have and the lowest number another player has and that leads into my other point. The poverty chips is a way for players to sabotage all other players. By decreasing the number of chips that you have, you are effectively screwing up ALL your opponents at 1 go which is quite fun.
In my game, I had wanted to be small and efficient thus with only 4 sets of cards and 4 boroughs owned, I was looking to decrease my poverty chips and win the game. Near the end though, I had 1 loan when I decided to screw it and cause the end of the game. My opponents mostly wanted to have another turn however because of what I did they were mostly caught off guard. However when our scores were tallied, I was last but by only 3 or 4 points. If I had managed to pay off my loan, then I will be the winner. Dion mentioned though that this was a rather low scoring game (30+ points) as usually players will score about 60+.
I had a lot of fun playing this game and in no way can I see that this reminds people of Tammany Hall. I will want to play this again to see the different mechanisms. 2 things that may poo poo the game though. 1 is the cards. After a few games of this you can know what cards are available in the deck and prepare for them. 2nd thing is the components. As mentioned, the limited edition had nice houses for each player and all are differently sculpted and the money chits are nice wooden discs. I ordered the original version and I hope it won't be so bad that I will feel very meh about it. Oh well what to do. Quite a good game and I Recommend it.


  1. Martin Wallace did not design Tammany Hall; Doug Eckhart did.

  2. The confusion with Tammany Hall could well be due to the fact that Treefrog produced the first version of Tammany Hall with high quality components and it was sold from the Treefrog stand at Spiel.

    Both games are goood ones.

  3. yea both are quite fun agree :)