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Designed by Kalle Malmioja, with art by Jesús Gutiérrez Llorente, and published in a compact box by Looping Games, Urbify is a light-to-medium weight game of worker placement, resource collection and tile laying.

Players use their workers to gain basic resources by allocating them to the corresponding department, or to construct buildings using those resources. Players must place workers until they don't have any, at which point they must activate a department or construct a building. When a department is activated, all players receive their workers back from it, so it can be a challenge to make plans given that you don't always know if someone else will be giving you a worker back just when you didn't want one.

Having lots of workers can be useful in gaining resources but, conversely, having few workers can be beneficial too by cycling through them faster and being able to build and activate more often; it's a feature that we also encountered recently playing Eos: Island of Angels (King Racoon Games).

Since the building tiles are all added to the one shared city, most of the tile-laying decisions that players will make, in terms of placing buildings so as to create high-scoring opportunities for later, are just as likely to help other players as themselves. Players only ever own individual buildings, not sprawling areas like in Carcassonne (Hans im Gluck). This makes long-term strategy fairly non-existent, tho' the game is very tactical in the short term.

Given that city planning is a very well trodden theme in board gaming, and the mechanics of worker placement, tile laying and resource management are widely used, Urbify does a remarkable job of feeling very different to any other game. If you enjoy making meaningful decisions on your turn without having to think too many turns ahead, this could be a good choice for you.

(Review by Matt Young)

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