Machi Koro base game rule

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Machi Koro is an easy-to-learn card game released by a Japanese game publisher Grounding. Machi Koro is a city-building game with dice-rolling and card-drafting mechanics. The rule of Machi Koro is quite simple:

  1. Roll a die or dice.
  2. Collect and/or pay money according to a sum of dice results. (Some cards are activated even in other players turn.)
  3. Buy an investment.
  4. A player who build 4 landmarks wins.

It is simple enough to make Kindergarten kids like Machi Koro!!

Preparation of Machi Koro

Although Machi Koro has short, easy rulebook, we still need some setups to play Machi Koro. (Later with Harbor expansion, it will be more simple.)

  1. Take yellow-backed cards (Establishments) and yellowish cards (Landmarks).
    • Each player takes one each of these cards; Wheat Field, Bakery, Train Station, Shopping Mall, Amusement Park, Radio Tower.
    • Return excess cards into the box, they are not used in the game.
    • Face up Starting Establishments (Wheat Field & Bakery).
    • Face down (the less-colored side with a construction mark) Landmarks. 
  2. Separate all cards into piles of the same kind.
    • Arrange piles according to numbers shown on top.
  3. Take 3 coins each.
    • Remaining coins form the Bank. Players will take coins from Bank or return coins as they buy Establishments.
  4. Ready to go!

Let's roll!

From the starting player, turns go clockwise (or as you wish). Each turn consists of 3 steps.

  1. Roll a die or dice. (If you have Train Station built, you may choose to roll 2 dice)
  2. Incomes or payments according to a sum of the dice. (not each result but total number of dice)
    1. Restaurants payments go first. (RED cards)
      • The current player should pay coins to the owners of restaurants, as many as available... Mayors (players) must be hungry!
      • In case that player cannot afford it, there should not be any debt. Mayors only pay as much as they have. They cannot choose whom they pay, but should pay counter-clockwise order. (right person.)
    2. Primary Industry (BLUE) & Secondary Industry (GREEN) make income. 
      • Each of Primary Industry (BLUE) can make income to all players who have them.
      • Each of Secondary Industry (Green) gives income to the current player.
    3. Major Industry (PURPLE) makes income.
      • All other players pay their expense to the current player.
  3. If the current player wants and can afford, buy any one Establishments (green-backed), or activate his Landmarks.
    • Each player can have only one copy of the same Major Establishments, but can have multiple copies of other Establishments.

Card list in Machi Koro base game

It sounds easy to play. To play Machi Koro well, there is one more thing to learn. In Machi Koro base game, 19 card types exist. 

4 Landmarks

Building all Landmarks is the goal of a Machi Koro game, and each Landmark has its unique benefit.

  • Train Station (cost: 4)
    • Train Stain allows the player to roll 2 dice instead of a die.
    • Rolling 2 dice is essential to activate Industries with numbers greater than 6.
  • Shopping Mall (cost: 10)
    • Each of Restaurants (RED) and Stores (in Green, secondary Industries) makes 1 more coins.
    • Shopping Mall affects these cards;
      • Cafes (roll: 3)
      • Family Restaurants (roll: 9-10)
      • Bakeries (roll: 2-3)
      • Convenience Stores (roll: 4)
  • Amusement Park (cost: 16)
    • When the player rolls 2 of the same number (eg. 2+2, 6+6), take another turn.
  • Radio Tower (cost: 22)
    • The player may reroll dice once. 

Radio Tower

The text does not specify whether the player can choose to change how many dice to roll, however, most likely he/she cannot change the number of dice to roll. (if the initial roll was 1 die, the reroll should be also 1 die.)

3 Major Establishments

Players can build only one copy of Major Establishments, and Major Establishments will make income only in the player turn.

  • TV Station (cost: 7) (roll: 6)
    • Take 5 coins from one selected player.
  • Business Center (cost:8) (roll: 6)
    • Trade one non-Major Establishments with another player.
  • Stadium (cost: 6) (roll: 6)
    • Take 2 coins from all players.

Primary Industries

Primary Industries (BLUE-colored) can make incomes even in other players' turn. There are 3 types of Primary Industries; Crops, Daily, and Materials. The type matters for some of Secondary Industries.

  cost roll income sub-type
Wheat Field 1 1 1 Crop
Ranch 1 2 1 Daily
Forest 3 5 1 Material
Mine 6 9 5 Material
Apple Orchard 3 10 3 Crop

Secondary Industries

There are 5 kinds of Secondary Industries and they consist of Stores and Primary Industry specific Industries.

  cost roll income type
Bakery 1 2-3 1 Store
Convenience Store 2 4 3 Store
Cheese Factory 5 7 3 / each Daily Factory
Furniture Factory 3 8 3 / each Material Factory
Fruit and Vegetable Market 2 11-12 2 / each Crop n/a

Restaurants

Restaurants give coins the player when other players activate them.

  cost roll income
Cafe 2 3 1
Family Restaurant 3 9-10 3

Basic Strategy

You may build as you like, however if you want to play smarter here is a point. Even though dice-rolls are random events, you can expect how likely.

roll   income / each 1 die / 36 income / 36 rolls 2 dice / 36 income / 36 rolls  
1 Wheat field 1 6 6 0 0 ANY
2 Ranch 1 6 6 1 1 ANY
2-3 Bakery 1 (2) 12 12 (24) 3 3 (6) self
3 Cafe 1 (2) 6 6 (12) 2 2 (4) other
4 Convenience Store 3 (4) 6 18 (24) 3 9 (12) self
5 Forest 1 6 6 4 4 ANY
6 Major Establishments * 6 * 5 * self
7 Cheese Factory 3 / daily 0 0 6 18 / daily self
8 Furniture Factory 3 / material 0 0 5 15 / material self
9 Mine 5 0 0 4 20 ANY
9-10 Family Restaurant 3 (4) 0 0 7 21 (28) other
10 Apple Orchard 3 0 0 3 9 ANY
11-12 Fruit and Vegetable Market 2 / crop 0 0 3 6 / crop self

(*) represents incomes with the Landmark, Shopping Mall.In order to make calculation easier, incomes listed here represent expectations of 36 rolls. The Establishment which has the highest expectancy is Convenience Store and followed by Bakery if Shopping Mall built (but remember Cafe...). Crops & their Market are unfortunately not good at all. And Mine & Furniture Factory, and Family Restaurant are good if somebody else choose to keep rolling 2-dice. Chances to activate useful Major Establishments are also high if you stick to Convenience Store. It really matters if you play Machi Koro as a 2-player game, but with 3 or 4 players you may not need to consider seriously because the number of cards is limited. You can focus to roll the dice and enjoy the game! If you feel it is not good that some cards are super-powerful, you may try Harbor Expansion Rule with the base game.

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