Machi Koro Review

Machi Koro Board Game Coins
Copyright © 2019 Matt Halvorson. All Rights Reserved.

Overall Score

5 Fun
3 Replayability
6 Player Interaction
7 Quality
6 Art & Style

Machi Koro is a very light dice rolling and card buying strategy game built for anyone from the family to the hardcore gamer. You were just elected to be the mayor of a small up and coming city and make it the best in the region buying buildings from farms to cafes to amusement parks. Rolling dice, you will trigger buildings to earn money and buy even more buildings to grow towards your dreams. This is our Machi Koro review.

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Fun (5 out of 10)

The simple mechanic that Machi Koro created (investing in numbers that correlate to 2x 6-sided dice to grow and build more and more) is fun but ultimately there is not much meat on the bone. There are limited actions that you can take and limited paths to an ultimate victory, which lowers the ceiling on the overall possibility of fun. You might say well a lighter game is bound to have less to it, but there are some other filler games out there that have managed to do it so no excused MK. There are some variable play modes that add dimensionality but even those are limited by the game. Yes, this is fun, but if you are very limited on budget, do not make this your only board game.

Replayability (3 out of 10)

Unfortunately for this Machi Koro review, replayability gets low marks. The same thing we said in fun is true in replayability. The fact that the game is limited in your options also limits the amount of replayability. Furthermore, the base game is always exactly the same, it doesn’t figure out the immediate path to take to win every time. Adding a random element like dice is usually weighted against many strategic decisions to balance things out but it is all dice on this one. On the pro side, games are quick and it is easy to bang out several in a row without even thinking.

Player Interaction (6 out of 10)

The player interaction is there, no one would question that. More than half the cards directly affect other players, everyone’s rolls affect everyone else and you are fighting to buy communal cards before others get there first. The question is, does that interaction have enough to it to take a game like this to another level. Just kinda. A disclaimer for this whole Machi Koro review, the base is great on all fronts and is taken to another level in a followup stand-alone game “Machi Koro Legacy”.

Quality (7 out of 10)

The base of Machi Koro is incredibly well designed. They did not invent the idea of using the probability of rolling 2 – 12 with a pair of dice. They did, however, put it at the center of a game with a light resource management and set collection game. Massive credit is deserved for that. And as previously mentioned, they have built on that in future games like “Machi Kori Legacy”. The game is very well produced (if you are getting the 5 year anniversary version that is the main purchasable option today). The coins, in particular, are hard plastic with very detailed engraving. And a sound that makes you roll several in your hand at once. All around well done.

Art & Style (6 out of 10)

The theme is very light and fun, just look at the mix of buildings to confirm that. The illustrations are beautiful and very non-threatening. It is very accessible and invites you in at every turn. The story elements of you being the mayor of a town who really wants an amusement park are fun, and everything is well put together and with just enough detail to be above and beyond. This Machi Koro review is happy to give props though, things are put together well.


Machi Koro Review

Machi Koro should not be the first and only board game you buy for your collection but we are definitely saying yes to you trying it and maybe yes to you buying it. If you like the excitement of dice rolling, enjoy that mathematic probability of twelve game like Craps or Catan and/or want some light strategy that is accessible for new players or those with short attention spans, this is a great option. This has been the Machi Koro review of the 2012 strategy board game for 2 - 4 players.

Editor's Rating:

See the full explanation of the judging criteria here.



8 / 10 – iSlayTheDragon Review
“If you’re up for a light, cute game and you’re playing in the family setting, it’s a great game. Those looking for a heavy, brain burning game with no luck whatsoever should look elsewhere.”

4 / 10 – Thoughtful Gamer Review
“Machi Koro is a game of disappointment. In short, there are very clear dominant strategies that will almost always win. They’re fairly obvious and anyone who has any experience with modern board games will pick up on them within the first couple of plays.”

3.5 / 5 – Board Game Quest Review
“While not without its flaw, I’ve found Machi Koro to still be a pretty fun game. The game plays quickly, is easy to teach, and should appeal to just about anyone.”

86 / 100 – Zatu Games Review
“Machi Koro requires you to have a plan. A method. Something you’ll focus on to win. Whether that’s covering every base or waiting for the magic roll, to be successful you’ve got to stick. Probability and statistics are handy, granted, but a dice roll is chaos.”

5 / 6 – Tabletop Together Review
“Machi Koro is a great game, no doubt about that. I was sure I would find it boring and too simple when I was introduced to the game at first, but man was I wrong. It’s just so much fun to play.”

Mixed Positive – The Board Game Family Review
“It may not top the charts on the most-requested game in our collection. But it’s one that will definitely stay on our game shelves.”

What would you put in your Machi Koro Review? let us know in the comments below or on our BGH Facebook Page.

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