Review: Little Town

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Little Town - Cover

Little Town is a charming little worker placement game. IELLO cleary aimed it at families and the more casual gamers, but I feel it also has enough meat on the bone to work as a filler for enthusiasts. It’s simple and easy to teach and plays in less than 45 minutes. Read on to hear my thoughts on it.

What is Little Town like?

Little Town is a pretty straightforward game. You start with a certain number of workers (based on player count). On your turn you either place 1 of them on an empty spot on the main board, to harvest resources and trigger buildings, or you place your worker in the “construction area” and build one of the 12 available buildings (if you have the right resources). When placing a worker on the main board you trigger everything adjacent to that worker (both horizontally, vertically and diagonally), in other words all 8 spaces surrounding your worker. You do this for 4 rounds and then the player with the most victory points is crowned the winner.

But hold on, how do you actually get victory points? Well I’m glad you asked. Most of your victory points will come from construction buildings. In general, the more resources they cost the more points they’ll give you. Most building have abilities that trigger when workers are placed next to them. At the start of the game no buildings are constructed on the main board and you are only able to gather resources from the pre-printed mountains, lakes and forests.

When you build a building you get to place it on an empty spot on the main player board and you put a cute little house in your colour on it. From now on whenever any player places one of their workers adjacent to it (either horizontal, vertical or diagonally) that player gets to trigger its effect. The effect of the buildings vary greatly, some give you straight up resources like the farms, others allow you to convert certain resources into others or give victory points or coins. Oh yes coins, I haven’t told you about coins yet, have I? 

Coins in Little Town are very important, because using other players buildings will cost you 1 coin. So if you have no coins you can only use your own buildings and pre-printed mountains, lakes and forests (that produce stone, fish and wood). So if you build a very popular building you’ll end up earning lots of coins. You can also use 3 coins as any resource.

Little Town - Board and Components

A few twists…

It all sounds very simple and straightforward, right? Almost too simple, right? But there are 2 twists. 

The first twist is that after each of the 4 rounds you have to feed your workers. They all need either a fish or wheat, if you don’t have enough you’ll lose points. So not only do you have to gather resources for the buildings you want to build, but you also have to get food for your hard working workers. 

The second twist is the objective cards. Each player starts with some of these and they are secret to everyone else. They give you certain goals to go after, and if you complete theme you get a certain amount of extra victory points.

Rating

5 / 6

I really like Little Town. It’s a great, quick worker placement / tile placement / resource management game that is easy to teach and works very well for the casual crowd (something IELLO is very good at doing). But even though it’s clearly a light game I feel it also has something to offer board game enthusiasts. There are a lot of interesting decisions to make during the entire game and the “race” to build the bigger, higher scoring buildings can become very tense. Placing your worker to trigger other players buildings also represents an interesting choice. Giving your opponents coins means they also get to trigger your or other players’ buildings and do you really want them to be able to to that?  Since you only play with 12 of the 24 buildings each game (and the 5 wheat fields) the game also offers lots of replayability and each game does feel different from previous games. I also really like the flow of the game. Starting with an empty board and so many open spaces to build on, and ending up with buildings everywhere and very few empty spaces left.

The only real negative of the game are the objective cards. While I love the addition of secret objectives in games I feel they are not balanced well enough and some of them are hard to understand. They add complexity and confusion to an otherwise smooth and clean game.

I try to keep my collection as small as possible, but Little Town has earned a spot in my collection and I’ll gladly play it any day.

The Good

  • Great worker placement entry level game
  • Very nice overall production
  • Lovely art style
  • Family friendly
  • Has enough “meat” on it to make it a nice filler for enthusiasts
  • Works great with all player counts

The Bad

  • Some of the objective cards are tricky to understand
  • Some of the objectives seem easier to obtain than others

Complexity Level

Complexity Level 2 / 6

Little Town is simple to learn and straightforward to play. The only real complexity is the objective cards and a few of the building tiles (that you can look up in the manual).

Facts

  • Players: 2 – 4
  • Playing time: 30 – 60 minutes
  • Suggested age: 10+

A review copy of this game was supplied by IELLO

Follow Peter H. Møller:

Tabletop Together and dachshund owner, sci-fi geek, trekkie and whovian. Lover of medium length, thematic, silly (in the good way), worker placement style games. A sucker for beautiful art. Generally just a big lovable teddy bear.

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