Ryan takes a look at Megacity Oceania from HUB Games.
Gold Coast, Australia, 2100. – With overpopulation of the Earth now at its tipping point, scarce available land and the continued rise of the ocean reclaiming the land it once covered, the Oceania Alliance has come up with an audacious plan. Building the world’s first megacity, not on land, but on the vast Southern Pacific Ocean. Plans call for huge floating skyscrapers constructed from metal, concrete, and steel. The call has gone out to the best architects from around the world to aid in the construction of the first man-made wonder of the 22nd Century.
Megacity: Oceania is a 2-4 player game from Hub Games; best described as a dexterity euro. Players use action points to claim contracts, procure raw materials, obtain contracts, and secure platforms. Most importantly players construct structures and ultimately deliver their creations to the floating, ever-growing, megacity. (A rules video can be found on its official site – click here.) Megacity Oceania may be the deepest dexterity game that I am aware of. If you are looking for a simple dexterity game, this isn’t the game for you. If the idea of having 2 action points to spend across 6 or 7 possible actions, makes you break into hives, this isn’t the game for you. However, if all that sounds like fun, then read on…
The game itself comes with some peculiar shaped building pieces that can make constructing skyscrapers a challenge. Players must always build their building so that it covers three access points that vary on placement platforms while not covering the single air vent that is also printed on the building platform. Additional building requirements are located on each contract and include a precise number of pieces required for construction, minimum height requirements, restricting construction materials or including an enclosed courtyard on the bottom floor.
The positives and negatives in this game are actually the same. When playing, Megacity Oceania, with at least 2-3 players, turns can go very quickly leaving players limited time to design and construct buildings (you are supposed to build while other players complete their actions). Unless players are lax with the rules and allow players to build during their turn, the game will most likely frustrate you. For our gameplay, turns were blazingly fast, leaving the other players no time to build. If you are going to be a stickler for the rules (that you should only build during other players turns), this game is not for you. If you’re willing to play with that rule relaxed, the game may stretch on to surpass an hour, but you will find much more enjoyment in the gameplay. This is one of the few games in existence where players want to have a touch of AP, taking their time with their actions so you have time to build. Since there are a limited number of actions and specific requirements for construction, there may be rounds where you have nothing to do between playing because you used your last turn to obtain a platform and contract but do not have any pieces to construct.
I do want to note that the age group on the box 8+ is probably spot on, even then they may find it frustrating to build some of the building. This isn’t one I would suggest for younger ages, like 6-year-olds, as besides some complex building, players also need to keep the time perfectly still when building and delivering the buildings to the megacity. In fact, when we play, we send the 5-year-old out of the game room, find something else she can do.
My final thoughts on MegaCity Oceania is that it is a very good game, as long as you are willing to relax with building times. There is great fun to be had building with those strangely shaped building pieces, something oddly satisfying measuring the height of your tower with the ruler, and it leaves you breathless as you try to deliver your finish building to the middle of the table without it coming crashing down around you. In the end, it is a delight to look over the city and see what you and your fellow builders have built. Then there is the cleanup – where after all scores have been tallied and a winner declared someone gets to hit the table and cause an “earthquake” and having it all come crashing down. If you are looking for a deeper (and longer) dexterity building experience than the typical games on the market, look no further.
Gameschooling Note: Students testing out their physics knowledge as they attempt to keep their pieces standing up and sturdy enough to move. They also get to practice with estimating the height they need to meet the contract requirements, and then when ready to deliver actually measuring their structures with one of the 2 rules that come with the game.
Megacity Oceania is currently out and can be found on Amazon.com
Thanks to Hub Games for sending a free copy of the game for an honest review.