Learn how to play Machi Koro, the lightweight dice rolling hedge-your-bet and quick engine-building board game. For 2 – 4 players, the game is suitable for the whole family down to a four-year-old (so I am told). But this is no kids game, a great game for a group of older board game fans. This is your guide to how to play Machi Koro.
HOW TO PLAY MACHI KORO – WHAT IS IT?
You are mayor of the famed Machi Koro city! The citizens have some pretty big asks: jobs, a new stadium, cheese factories, amusement parks and more. The normal stuff. You roll dice to hit specific numbers which will give you coins, those coins let you buy more cards which allow you to spread out over more numbers, or double down on just a few. All your people want you to make Machi Koro the biggest city in the region, can you do it? No need to worry, learning how to play Machi Koro is easy.
HOW TO PLAY MACHI KORO – STEP BY STEP
Time Needed: approx 30 to 40 minutes
This is a step by step guide for how to play Machi Koro the popular dice rolling engine-building board game. Additional notions and special rules can be found below the list. These will be referenced for your convenience.
1. SETUP | Give Every Player Starting Gold and Cards
Every player starts with 3 money coins, two building cards and four landmark cards. The buildings are Wheat Field (if a “1” is rolled on any turn, you get a gold) and Bakery (if a “2” or “3” is rolled on your turn, you get a gold). Make sure they are the versions of these that have no cost icon in the center of the card. Finally, each player gets the four landmarks that are the same and each have a cost. A player buying all four wins the game.
2. SETUP | Put Out Starting Community Cards for Purchase and Gold
In the center of the board, place the 15 cards you can buy into individual stacks. It is helpful to organize by cost (low to high) which is the symbol in the middle toward the left side of the card. Three rows of 5 works, but two rows of 7 and 8 works out nice as well. Put out a supply of communal gold that everyone can pull from as they earn it.
3. SETUP | Determine Start Player
Starting player does matter quite a bit so roll both dice to determine who goes first and rotate one player to the left every additional game you play. While people do benefit from the rolls of other players, the active player gets the most benefits and can buy. After the active player goes, turns pass to the left and continues in a circle until someone buys all four landmarks. This is the last step of the setup phase in how to play Machi Koro.
4. GAMEPLAY | Turn Phase 1 – Roll Dice
The active player chooses to roll one or two dice (must unlock the first landmark to choose two dice). Your choice will depend on what cards you have and the odds of what is going to get you the best chance at money.
5. GAMEPLAY | Turn Phase 1 – Get Paid
Take the number rolled on to dice, if it matches the number of any active cards, money is paid out. We say active because there are different cards that payout at different times. GREEN cards only pay on the turn of the person rolling while BLUE cards payout on anyone’s turn. If a card matches the dice and says to take money, take that amount of money from the supply.
6. GAMEPLAY | Turn Phase 2 – Buy Things
After the dice have been rolled and everyone has taken their earned money from the supply, the active player may now buy new cards from the center. You can buy any number of things by trading the gold you have in front of you for a card where the cost is the number on the coin symbol in the middle left area of the card. You can have as many as you want of anything, but only one of each of the purples (major buildings) and only as many as there are in the stack (6 each). When done, pass to the next player and you start again. And that is all there is to learn how to play Machi Koro, see its easy.
7. WINNING | Buying Monuments
At the beginning of the game everyone gets four identical monument cards (Train Station costs 4, Shopping Mall 10, Amusement Park 16, Radio Tower 22). The first person to pay the cost of all four of these and unlock them wins the game. They can all be done at once, or here and there. And they do not have to be done in any order, you could unlock the Radio Tower first if you really want to. Unlocking these is just like buying any other card.
HOW TO PLAY MACHI KORO – KEY INFORMATION
BLUE: Primary Industries
Activates on anyone’s turn.
GREEN: Secondary Industries
Activates on your turn only.
Activate on opponent’s turns.
PURPLE: Major Establishments
Activates on your turn only.
CARD RESOLUTION ORDER
It is possible that multiple cards that interact with each other are triggered by the same dice roll. The order in which these “resolve” is important. The cards happen in the following order:
- RED (restaurants)
- BLUE & GREEN (primary & secondary industries)
- PURPLE (major establishments)
Note: If you have multiple copies of a single card, each copy activates when that establishment’s activation number is rolled.
- 8 Starting Establishments
- 16 Landmarks
- 72 Establishments
- 12 Major Establishments
- 42 Plastic $1 Coins
- 24 Plastic $5 Coins
- 12 Plastic $10 Coins
- 2 Oversized Dice
- 1 Rulebook
HOW TO PLAY MACHI KORO – IN CLOSING
I hope you can now all say you know how to play Machi Koro. It is a very fun game that is light on time and intensity but with enough strategic choices and combos to keep it interesting. It is an easy one to learn and a great one to introduce to new gamers or strategy fans or fans of Settlers of Catan.