On The Radar: Ginkgopolis

Posted by James (admin) on October 14th, 2012

Xavier Georges is one of the designers I really like and it’s good to see he has a new game this year called Ginkgopolis.  Carson City, Royal Palace, Troyes and Tournay.

Ginkgopolis is a game of futuristic city building.  On their turn, players simultaneously select a card from the 4 cards in their hand.  At the end of each round, they will then pass the remaining 3 cards to their neighbour who adds one new card to make a total of 4, and they will select from those on their next turn.  That sounds like an interesting card mechanic – sort of like 7 Wonders but continual.

After choosing cards, players resolve their card (which are red, yellow or blue and numbered so each card matches a building).  There are three possibilities:

  1. Gain Resources/Tiles/VPs
    Playing a card on its own gains the player resources (their own markers), tiles or VPs (determined by their colour).  The amount is based on the height of the matching building (plus bonuses based on items you already gained).
  2. Build New Building
    If the player plays a building tile with their card, they place the new tile where the matching letter is (moving the letter outwards) plus gain any bonuses based on items already gained too.  The player places one of their resources (markers) on the building to show their ownership (but this can change during the game).  The card matching the new building is added to the draw deck too.
  3. Develop Existing Building
    If the player plays a building tile with their card, they can add the tile to the top of the building shown on the card.  The player takes control of the building so they place their marker on it and return any current owner’s markers (for which they get 1VP each)

At the end of the game (when any player has placed all of their markers or the draw deck has run out), players score extra VPs for several things including having most resources on contiguous coloured buildings.

Ginkgopolis sounds like a tightly, interwoven game with some interesting game mechanics.  The card drafting should add an extra depth to selecting which card to play (as the next player will get the cards you don’t use).  Choosing whether to build out, up or gain resources/VPs/tiles sounds like a (good) difficult decision.  Whilst players don’t keep hold of cards between rounds, they do keep the tiles which they can then build so it sounds like players can still plan.  Xavier Georges has created some clever designs before and this sounds like one too so I’m looking forwards to trying it.  It also plays single-player too.


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