Theme and What is it?
*Note* Copy of the game provided by the publisher for review purposes.
Imagine you’re sitting around with your friends one night and the conversation turns to Tagging. Now you know that you got the fastest spray cans west of Third Street but your buddies are getting lippy. They’re sayin’ that they’re faster than you. You can’t let that slide. The sun has set, midnight approaches, and the gauntlet is thrown. You grab your cans, mask, and phone. You all set off into the night to see who can lay the most graffiti one the most surfaces. Will your mural be better than the rest? Will someone cheat and use a drone? Being good means nothing without fame, so remember to check Social Media.
Tag City is a roll and write game where you will attempt to be the most prestigious tagger in the city. Using dice, Tetris style pieces, and careful planning you chart your progress across the city until one of you is declared the winner.
Tag City is a fairly simple roll and write game. In the center of the table is the HQ. In the HQ there is a circle of dice faces; one through six. In-between each of these faces you will place one of several Tetris style geometric shapes. There are also three much simpler shapes in the center of the circle. The rounds leader will roll a number of dice and then place them on the board. You may place each dice on one of the pieces flanking the dice face shown on the board. It is possible for multiple dice to be placed on the same shape. In turn each player will choose a die, remove it, and draw the shape it was placed with on their city board. Once everyone has gone there will be one dice left and you must draw the shape associated with that dice as well.
Instead of the action above players have two alternatives. The first is to use a drone by picking one of the simpler shapes in the center of the circle. However, there is a score penalty for this that increases each time you chose the option. The second is to pass your turn entirely and check your social media. Both of these options are limited and when completely used trigger the end of the game.
Your score for the game will be based on how much of the board you filled in. What sort of patterns and areas you completed. Then you reduce your score by all of the penalties you’ve incurred. Highest total points wins.
There is a B side or advanced mode to the game. It doesn’t really add any complexity rules wise just more complicated patterns and shapes.
I find roll and write games to be simple, easy, family fun. Roll and writes that fit into this category are a nice find and a good quick game to play with family. Add to this my appreciation of good graffiti then you have a game I was interested in seeing how it works.
Game Build Quality
The quality here is nice. The player boards are a sturdy dry-erase that holds up well. I even left some pen marks on one of the boards for a couple of days to see how easily it came off. It took a little bit of push but came off very easily otherwise. The graffiti tokens were nice, easy to make out, and let players who have less of a visual mind have something to pick up and try things out before marking their board. The dice and markers are pretty standard but they are functional. One thing missing was a score board. I appreciate that the game used dry erase board to be more environmentally friendly, but the lack of a score board to tally points at the end of the game was a bit of a missed opportunity. I realize it’s a nit-pick, but it’s something I wish they’d had.
The rules are short. They mostly do the job, but there is a slight gap in the information. The game boards come with an A and B side. For the player boards this is obviously just a more complicated side B. For the HQ board this means a different token layout. While it’s in the rules under set up, it feels like a bit of an afterthought. The rule is that when using side A the tokens you use for the game are six specific shapes. On Side B you should choose the six shapes you want from a possible fourteen shapes. It took me a minute to find that rule and I wish it and a couple of other little bits had been set aside for quicker reference.
I love the art here. The whole game is bright and colorful. The character boards have nice images of the artist you’re playing. The graffiti tokens have bits of squiggle on them to give them character. Everything looks really nice.
This is a roll and write game. It’s designed to be played with the family sitting around the table over a very small amount of time. There really isn’t any take that to the game. Like most roll and write’s you’re mostly playing your own game here.
Age Range & Weight
The box says 8+ and I think that’s pretty spot on. The mechanics are simple, choose a shape and then draw the shape. If you’re playing the harder side of the board kids may have a bit of trouble getting the patterns but mostly I think they should be fine.
I had fun with Tag City. The game is a pretty good time with some fun choices. You get points for a lot of different things in the game. However, most of the time, the first person to complete something gets more points than everyone else. This means on your turn you need to prioritize what you’re going for. Do you want to complete row A or go for the blue district. If someone else has already finished something you will still get points but is it worth it to go after those points? Then you have to figure out where to place the various pieces in your city. You want to leave yourself room to fill things out but it’s easy to paint yourself into a corner.
Being round leader also has some neat little choices. After you roll the dice you have to choose between two pieces. If you get a couple of the same number you can load up on one piece or divide them between the bits flanking it. It’s not a particularly difficult choice, but it’s a nice shift in the gameplay.
You also have the decision of when to use your drone or social media. Both of these things come with small negatives but they can add up. Plus both of these trigger the end of the game. Once someone has filled in all of their drone charges or social media accounts then the game is over. Another way to end the game is based on how much of various parts of the city have been filled out.
These decisions all give you something to do. It’s not just about figuring out the best square to fill in. These are not monumental choices. You’re not going to spend a lot of time agonizing over them. However, they do different places to focus your attention.
I like Tag City, the theme is fun, the boards are beautiful, and the game is quick. It encourages you to talk amongst yourselves and socialize. Tag City will fill a nice little place in my collection. It’s a quick game I can play with my family and smile.