Board Game Review! Machi Koro from IDW Games

Posted: July 9, 2018 in Board Games, Community, Review
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Greetings Fellow Board Gamers!


Our next featured game for the weeks of June 21 and June 28 was a fun economy and city building card game from IDW Games, Machi Koro (with Harbor and Millionaire’s Row expansions).

Machi Koro on Board Game Geek – here.

* Note – This is not a ‘How to Play’ or tutorial type article. This is a review of the game components and brief review of game play.

Box Art

You CAN build Rome in a day.

Machi Koro is a fast-paced, dice-rolling city builder. in the game, players compete to be the first person to build up their simple village into a sprawling metropolis. Originally designed and released in Japan, Machi Koro has developed a dedicated fan-base around the world. Excited fans have been eagerly anticipating an English translation, and the game has already garnered a “seal of excellence” from The Dice Tower among many other accolades.

Armed only with your trusty die and a dream, you must grow Machi Koro into the largest city in the region. You will need to collect income from developments and build public works, and steal from your neighbors coffers. Just make sure they aren’t doing the same to you! Machi Koro is a fast-paced light-hearted game for you and up to 3 friends. They say you can’t build Rome in a day, but Machi Koro will can be built in under 30 minutes!

I like city building computer/video games, like Sim City, and this beings a city builder to the table. It also brings in the randomness that having other players adds as opposed to the AI of a computer game.

Please keep in mind that this review is covering the base game and two of the expansions.



The rules are actually really well written and easy enough to follow. The only confusion I’ve encountered is when we added the expansions and had to differentiate between ‘constructed landmarks’ and ‘landmarks’. The constructed landmarks are the properties that you build in order to win the game. The purple cards and City Hall are landmarks but not constructed landmarks. All the red, blue, and green cards are establishments.


There aren’t many components to this game, but what there is, is plenty! You have a large deck of cards and they’re standard quality card stock. My copy has held up well over time without card sleeves. Sleeves for this game are not easy to track down, so if someone knows what size fits Machi Koro, please feel free to share that in the comments.

There are two plastic dice that are basic plastic board game dice. I got a green and blue one in my game, and I’ve yet to figure out why they included two different colors. The color of dice has no bearing on game play that I know of.


The coins are standard punch board coins, and over time, they will wear down a little. Several of mine are showing definite wear and tear. If you can, substitute plastic or acrylic coins which is a great solution for worn coins.


The ‘Renovation’ tokens are standard punch board tokens and probably won’t see a ton of wear and tear because there is only a few cards that use them.

Renovation Tokens

Setup & Clean Up

We played with two expansions and the rules (including set up) are somewhat different when you add in multiple expansions. Set up isn’t too difficult for one person to handle. You shuffle the deck and reveal ten different cards (stacking duplicates). Each player takes a set of starter cards and three coins. Set all the Renovation tokens to the side. Randomly select a first player and begin play!

Game Play

Game play is super simple. You roll one die (or maybe two if you have your Train Station built) and check for cards with that number and follow the instructions on the cards. The cards trigger in a particular order: RedBlue & GreenPurple. Then you build a structure or construct one of your landmarks.

Turn Order
1. Roll Dice
2. Check Red Cards
3. Check Blue and Green Cards
4. Check Purple Cards
5. Build
6. Pass Dice

Super simple, super easy – but there is chaos that can ensue when there are a bazillion different cards on the board. You want to build establishments that help you earn coins to construct landmarks. Once someone has constructed all their landmarks, they win!


This game was heavily played when I first bought it, but after a while, we did get a little bored with it. It’s only because the game play is very simple and playing this game once a week is still a little too often. But – That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t own it! We play Machi Koro at least once every few months on average and everyone has fun. We just limit how often we play it to avoid burnout.

Overall, it’s a fun and entertaining game, just don’t make it your only game.

What the Players Said

Wednesday – Love the game. It’s a business simulator that’s easy on the brain.

Allie H. – I like that it’s challenging to win sometimes, but not how it can be stressful. I do enjoy playing it though.

Olivia – I like how you need strategy and a variety of cards to win and you can’t just buy all of one card to win.

Buy or Bye?

This is a game that I’d recommend folks have in their collection, but as I mentioned before, be careful and don’t over play it!

Have strategies or tips for this game? Leave them in a comment!
Have cool accessories or custom pieces? Show them off!
Thanks for reading and be sure to like, follow, and subscribe for more Dice Masters, HeroClix, and Board Game related content!

Board out and game on!

  1. Rachel says:

    Thanks for your review, I’ve always wondered about this one!

    Liked by 1 person

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