Little Town by IELLO
Perfect for: Introducing players to the mechanic of worker placement and light resource management.
Little Town is a game where players must build a thriving community by strategically collecting resources and then using them to construct buildings and score victory points.
To begin Little Town, two to four players collect their tokens and separate out four types of available resources: stone, fish, wood, and wheat. The grid-like gameboard begins empty, with several tiled spaces—some contain grass and others contain resources. On a turn, a player will choose to either place a worker on an unoccupied grass space in order to collect resources, or head to the construction yard to trade in resources to build one of the available buildings in the market, which are then added to the board.
If a player chooses to collect resources, they place their worker in an empty grass space thus gaining the benefits of all the tiles that surround them. This includes: 1) any naturally occurring resources (water, stone, or wood); 2) the capabilities/output of the buildings that they themselves have built for free; and 3) the capabilities/output of the buildings that others have built, but only when paying a cost of 1 coin to the constructor. Players do not have to activate other players buildings, if they choose not to.
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Play proceeds as each player takes turns placing their workers, until none are left, signaling the end of the round. At the conclusion of each round, players must then turn in a combination of wheat and/or fish tokens equal to the number of workers they are playing with—not being able to do so results in a penalty of -3 victory points per unfed worker. Victory points are gained through the construction of buildings and completion of player-specific secret goals, chosen at the beginning of the game at random. After four rounds the player with the most victory points accumulated is the winner.
What works in Little Town is the introduction to common gaming mechanics. For those uninitiated, Little Town provides a very nice, straightforward experience that teaches the basics of worker placement, resource management, and even a hint of engine building. The gameplay is purposely non-complex so newer players are unlikely to find the rules daunting, and once they’ve mastered the basics, Little Town could likely serve as an excellent gateway game for more complicated titles that leverage similar mechanisms.
If you are a seasoned tabletop gamer, Little Town is probably going to feel a little rudimentary. Those who are fairly familiar with this style of game will likely be able to leverage this title as an educational tool for less experienced players more than anything else. Note too that some common FAQs are not explicitly covered in the rulebook: (i.e. whether or not you should replace buildings in the market), but after a few playthroughs it seems clear that players should take the rules as literal as possible in order to prevent breaking the game (we had one instance where we misunderstood the rules and a player built an engine that was giving them about 50 points a turn—entertaining but probably not intended).
Little Town is not particularly novel, but not all games need be. If you’re looking for something very accessible and easy to learn, especially in the context of becoming exposed to common core mechanics, Little Town is a nice choice.
Recommended if you like: Carcasonne,
Great Pre-Cursor to: Lords of Waterdeep, Le Havre
Final Grade: B
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