It is hard to imagine a time when Paris wasn't considered the "The City of Lights," but this was the case just a couple hundred of years ago. Initially, the streets of Paris were lit by gas powered lamps, but in 1889, Paris would experience the wonder of electrically generated lights placed on the Eiffel Tower.
Paris: La Cité de la Lumière (2019)
|Designer(s)||Jose Antonio Abascal||Artist(s)||Oriol Hernández||Publisher||
It is hard for most of us to imagine a time without electricity that give us access to many things we taken for granted. Until the late 1800's, this was the reality; scientist had tried to harness electricity to create a light sources with limited success until Thomas Edison was able to create what we now know as light bulbs. This game takes place in 1889 at the Exposition Universelle, the world fair, where the people of Paris would be first introduced to the wonders of electrically generated lights!
Paris: La Cité de la Lumière is a quick tile placement game for two. Once players understand the game flow, a game will take roughly 15-20 minutes to complete. The goal of the game is to ensure you have your buildings next to as many lights as possible to show off the beauty of their architecture while also connecting buildings together to create larger buildings.
Box and Components
What I find most unique about this game is the box half of the box is actually the game board; you will actually be placing the cobblestone tiles (the square Orange/Sun and Blue/Moon tiles shown below the box) into the box and then onto of those the different shaped buildings. The quality if the tiles are very nice and hefty and definitely should hold up to a lot of usage. The rest of the components shown will be explained in the mechanics section.
Also part of the game are these action postcards that will provide additional scoring bonuses and special actions to take. The artwork...just look at how good it looks; they really tried to capture some of the beauty of locations that would have been very important during the last 1800's. If I didn't want to play the game, I could frame these postcards and put them around my house and no one would ever know they were part of a game. I was very impressed by something that is purely eye candy being included as part of the component of this game.
Players will be given eight square cobblestone tiles, seven wooden chimney tokens, and four action tokens of their selected color. Players will be placing their tiles in the game board that will remain within the bottom half of the box. Around the outside of the board, there will be 12 building tiles and 8 randomly selected action postcards; some action postcards may have an associated token to be placed near it. All other components are returned to the top half box and will not be used for that playthrough. Now the game is ready to begin and is played over two phases.
Players will alternate taking turns, building out the cobblestone streets of Paris and collecting building tiles that will be used in phase two. Players will draw a cobblestone tile from their face down tile deck and will have the option of performing one of two primary actions on their turn:
- Lay down the cobblestone tile. In phase two, players will be laying building tiles on top of the cobblestone, but there are restrictions for tile placement.
- Blue and Orange spaces are owned by the player with the respective colored tokens and represent valid building placement for each player.
- Purple spaces are shared by both players and allow for placement by either player
- Grey tiles have light posts and cannot be built upon.
- Take one of the building piece and add it to your reserve to be used during phase two. If you take on building tiles you are unable to place during phase two, you will lose points at the end of the game; so chose wisely as you place your cobblestones and see potential placement opportunities for the building tiles.
It is likely that a player will finish up their phase one actions early and can opt to pass their turn until the other player has placed their last cobblestone tile, triggering the end of phase one.
Players will alternate taking turns and have the option of performing one of two primary actions on their turn:
- Lay down one of the buildings from their reserve. When you lay down one of the building tiles, you must lay them across only your color and purple spaces. If you would lay a piece that would cover a grey light post or the other players color, then that tile may not be placed.
- Activate an Action Postcard. Players may take one of their four circular actions tokens to claim the action of an action card placed during the setup of the game. Action Postcards have varying effects such as providing the player a build extension tile, space building tiles perfect for those tight spaces where nothing else fits, the ability to cover up a light post, and so on. Once you use the action postcard, you will flip it over and preventing it from being used again during that game. Some action postcards activate immediate while others require an action on a following turn to use. Refer to the last couple pages of the rules for more details.
Scoring in this game is pretty straight forward. Your points coming from four sources:
- Players will look at each of their buildings, count the number of squares in that building, and multiply that number by the number of unique lights surrounding (orthogonal only; diagonal lights do not count) that building.
- Players will look at their cluster of buildings that are orthogonal (directly connect on one of the four flat sides of the tile) and will get one point for each square of their largest connected building; this could result in only a single building being scored if none of the buildings are connected.
- Players who were unable to use all of the buildings they collected in phase one will lose three points per building.
- A few of the action postcards may impact a players points. For example, the Moulin Rouge action postcard provides a little dancer standee that the player will place on one of their colored cobblestone spaces, and at the end of the game, the player will receive 1 victory point for each free Cobblestone in that area.
Add together all of the points from the calculations above, and who ever has the most points is the winner. The tie breaker is based on who has the most open spaces of their color cobblestone.
I love when two player games offer fun gameplay in a small package and is quick to play. I really enjoyed this game being a two layer tile placement game; I don't recall playing a game with that type of mechanic; it left me wondering how that mechanic would be for a larger game. The game easy to learn the game and allows for new players to jump in with only minutes of instructions. The manual is also straight and to the point; things are very clearly stated and organized. I only had a couple times that I had to re-read a portion of the instructions to understand what it was describing.
The artwork of the game is quite nice especially the art on the action postcards; from what I have read, the artwork is capturing the artwork that would have been created during that time. I have many times seen artwork in games I would be willing to frame and place around my house, and this game includes prime examples of this.
Overall, I think this is a great option as a filler game, a game to play while waiting for dinner at a restaurant, or even a good game to play on a quiet evening you want something relaxing to play.