Little Town is a light 2-4 player worker placement game designed by Shun and Aya Taguchi, with art by Sabrina Miramon. It's published by IELLO and Studio GG, and distributed in the UK by CoiledSpring Games, and it focuses on efficient planning as you construct your Medieval municipality.
Players take turns placing workers onto a central board, collecting the resources adjacent to their worker. The board itself has a number of resource tiles pre-printed (wood, stone and fish) and it's two sided to add a little variety: resources are in different places on the reverse. Resources are used to purchase buildings that are placed onto the board. Control of these buildings is shown by placing a house of your respective colour on it. These buildings grant resources to adjacent workers and, at the end of the game, a number of points. Players take turns placing workers until they have no more left to place, the round ends, workers must be fed, then play proceeds to the next round. At the end of the 4th round the game ends and whoever has the most victory points in the winner. Random mission cards are also dealt to each player at the start of the game and give hidden objectives that can earn extra points.
Little Town is easy to pick up but has a surprising amount of depth. For a small fee to the owner, workers can utilise buildings regardless of who placed them. This means that careful placement of buildings can garner a rich return in coin when other players make use of them. Just like in many real towns, space is very limited and so you find yourself making tricky choices: do you pay to use someone else's building to get the much-needed effect or stick to using your own, free-to-use buildings? As other players can use your buildings and vice-versa, you can find that you may not be able to use your own buildings and will be forced to pay to use buildings owned by others.
Note also that there's also a limited number of buildings available in each game (12, either pre-selected or randomly taken from the 20 or so supplied), and, in a 3- or 4-player game, it's entirely possible that all of the buildings will be constructed; tho' that's less likely when you play Little Town with just two players.
For such a quick game (30-60 minutes), there is a good deal of strategy and forward thinking required, along with a number of inventive building combinations. With only a limited number of moves and fierce competition over available buildings and space we found Little Town to be an engaging and enjoyable game with significant replayability. Because it's easy to learn, it also works as a 'gateway game', useful in introducing new gamers to the worker placement genre. It's competitive, often to the extent of being cut-throat, so there's still plenty in Little Town to hold the attention of very seasoned games players over the course of multiple plays. A great little game indeed!
(Review by Toby Hicks)