Machi Koro – Card Game Review
Follow Genre: Party, Family
Players: 2-4
Age: 7+
Duration: +- 30 minutes
Distributor: White Goblin Games

Machi Koro – Card Game Review

Site Score
Good: Easy to learn, Colorful art, Variation
Bad: Needs more room than you'd think, Sometimes luck can blow certain strategies
User Score
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Shaping an entire city requires a lot of thought and consideration, while at the same time you’ll have to keep in mind that certain buildings are required to make a functional city. Machi Kori is all about making your own (cardboard) city, that has to generate enough money to create even more memorable buildings. Sadly, you’ll have fellow builders who will try to do the same, while competing against you, in order to create a fine city themselves. Whilst the world is a big enough place for you and several other artisans, you will only get the glory if you’re the one who builds a grand city first. Round up some construction workers, because things are going to get very constructive from now on. Unlike The Game, you will now have to hang onto your cards.

Note: Even though Machi Koro has been out for quite some time already, we felt it would be fun to reintroduce this game to many loyal card game fanatics. Also, with the new expansion, which we will discuss in an upcoming review, the game deserves a bit of extra time to shine.



  • Rules
  • 2 Dice
  • 108 Cards
  • 54 Coins

Overall the cards have a quite cheerful appearance to them. The structures depicted on all of the cards have a comical and bright look, that is pleasant to the eye and makes the game accessible for all ages. Other than that, the coins are fairly basic cardboard currency and the dice are standard red and white dice. Nonetheless, the lighthearted appearance helps to create a fun atmosphere.


In a way Machi Kori is a card based Monopoly game, but in many ways a lot more tactical. Your goal is to be the first player to complete your 4 landmarks/important structures. In what order you finish them is completely up to you, as well as how you earn your money to do so. The game itself doesn’t require that much preparation, as every player will receive their 4 landmarks which they will have to place face down in front of them, as well as an ‘active’ bakery and a wheat field. These last two will serve as your first sources of income, in order to earn money for new buildings, production houses and other valuables.


Every purchasable building, field, mine and so on (except for the landmarks you will have to build in order to win) will have a number on the top of the card, that corresponds with the numbers on one or two dice (1 – 12), which is also the activation cost. For example, at the beginning of the game your bakery has a value of 2-3, which means, if you throw a 2 or a 3 with a single dice, you will activate that building during your turn. When activating the bakery, you will receive a coin as income. The wheat field activates when someone throws a 1, and its effect allows to be activated when other players throw 1 as well. In turn, there are also buildings that only activate during other players’ turns, if they throw the proper value.

Machi Koro makes sure there is at least one building for all the numeric values of 1 or 2 dice. Nonetheless, at the beginning of the game you’ll only be able to throw with one dice, as you’ll have to buy the ‘cheapest’ landmark first, namely the train station in order to start throwing with 2 dice. If you’re able to throw higher values, you’ll finally be able to activate your buildings with a higher activation cost than 6. This means that the other landmarks will have a permanent effect as well.

All the purchasable buildings, except for the face down landmarks, will be placed face up on the side of the playing area, so all players can see which property they want to claim next, if they have the right amount of coins. This gives a great overview of which buildings are still available, thus allowing you to plan your coming moves. That being said, some buildings can only be owned a single time, because otherwise their activation effect would be a tad overpowered.


Luck or Strategy?

Overall it’s easy to say that Machi Koro is a proper mix of luck and strategy, with luck having the upper hand. As each turn your income depends on the roll of your dice, it’s possible that early in the game you will only roll values that do not correspond with any of the buildings in your care. Luck will determine whether the beginning of the game proves to be fruitful for you, but it might also cause you a lot of hurt, if other players start purchasing more and more buildings.

Strategy starts becoming a key factor, the moment you have earned enough money. When you’re in the possession of some pocket change, you’ll be able to plan your next purchases and perhaps even buy buildings that might counter your opponents income. Planning becomes more and more important as the game progresses and this creates another layer of depth, making the game even more interesting. For example, sometimes it’s wise to buy seemingly worthless buildings, because they cooperate with more expensive buildings, which give bonuses depending on how many times you own the ‘useless’ cheaper building.



Machi Koro is a great managing game that consists out of 55% luck and 45% strategy, and this is actually what makes the game great. You feel as if you actually have to pull off the right amount of planning to get your city finished before your opponents, while on the other hand, the luck factor makes the game funny, as well as whimsical. Nonetheless, keep your hard hat close, as your opponents might just throw a brick or two.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
Machi Koro - Card Game Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

1 Comment

  1. […] Row are expansion sets for the original Machi Koro game, it’s best to read through our original review of the base game first, as the general mechanics are explained there. In this review we’ll mainly […]

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