Machi Koro Legacy
Push the limits of urban sprawl
Machi Koro Legacy is the cute and colorful standalone second-act to Machi Koro, a fun-for-the-fam dice-rolling and tableau-building game where you try to engineer the world’s most efficient and profitable island town. The Legacy game adds a charmingly lighthearted and fanciful storyline, and as you play through it, each game adds little twists and new ways to achieve your goals. There are no earth-shaking surprises here, just fresh looks and delicate layers of complexity. But to understand our favorite thing about this game, we have to compare it to the original Machi Koro.
As we highlighted in our (brief) review of the original, Machi Koro is perfect for people who hate waiting or get bored easily. Turns go quickly, but - even better - good things can happen to you on both your turn and your opponents’. And those good things lead to a sense of constant progress, as your little city grows bigger and better. The only moments of stagnation in the original game happen when you have a particularly unlucky roll of the dice that leaves you with nothing to do for a turn. This sense of disappointment never lasts long, but it reduces the fun of the game ever-so-slightly.
Never fear! Here comes Machi Koro Legacy, and wouldn’t you know it? They have come up with a simple solution to lessen those moments of modest displeasure. (Minor spoiler ahead.) Starting the second time you play, you can use those unlucky turns to build railways on a mountainside, an action which brings you closer to a non-monetary reward which itself changes how the game is played. In other words, even when the rolls don’t go your way, you can do something important, and that feels like progress. Thus, the Machi Koro signature experience of continuous improvement and glorious personal growth is uninterrupted.
As with many Legacy games, there are secret boxes to open, new goals and game pieces that come into play, stickers to add to your game boards, and cards to throw away after use. For a game that seems to rely substantially on chance, Machi Koro Legacy is remarkably well-balanced. Every game became a fight to the finish.
We have a few minor quibbles. A few of the new rules were not quite as clear as we’d have liked, though we soldiered on with little difficulty. The winner of one game always gets to go first next time and read all the juicy bits of expansion and story material (which feels a little like rubbing it in after a close loss). Finally, the games go by almost too quickly; we easily completed the entire 10-session legacy experience over the course of a weekend. Fortunately, the developers realized that people would burn through this quickly, and included instructions for enjoying it beyond the final chapter.
We were charmed to head back into Machi Koro’s cutesy world of furniture factories and apple orchards.
Machi Koro Legacy is basically just Machi Koro but better. I love how quickly the turns pass and the new elements added in the legacy version of the game are exciting and add interesting mechanics. After a while the new stuff starts to add up and it can be a little overwhelming and take away from the simplicity of the game. Other than that, I think it is definitely worth playing. You do not have to have played the original Machi Coro to enjoy this one.