Machi Koro: Millionaire’s Row - Board Game Box Shot

Machi Koro: Millionaire’s Row

, | Published: 2015
Expansion for Machi Koro
54 7 2
Machi Koro: Millionaire’s Row brings 13 all-new powerful establishments to the town of Machi Koro. Designed to be used with the base game and fully compatible with the Harbor Expansion as well, Millionaire’s Row brings the total number of buildings available for purchase to more than thirty! This means you’ll never play the same game twice, and you have the ability to fully customize which cards make it into the deck. Take control of your town with Millionaire’s Row. Compatible with both Machi Koro and Machi Koro: Harbor Expansion.

User Reviews (3)

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7
I'm a Real Person
Smash Up Fan
I play yellow
Comic Book Fan
6
53 of 60 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“Money often costs too much”

On the Expansions
Machi Koro is a great family dice game that only became better with the Harbor Expansion. The Harbor is one of the few expansions where, if the person did not like the base game, I would recommend they played it with the expansion because the game is flat out better. In fact, I really believe that the Harbor expansion should have been part of the base game, it seemed to complete the base game in a way that made it much more fun and replayable in my opinion.

The release of Millionaire’s Row only furthers my opinion that the Harbor expansion should be included in the base game. Much of Millionaire’s Row is made better by having the Harbor expansion. In fact if you have Machi Koro, and are wondering which expansion to get, get the Harbor first, DO NOT get Millionaire’s Row first, as it builds on things done in the Harbor and adds some tricky mechanics.

Let’s talk about Millionaire’s Row!

Forget it, Jake. It’s Millionaire’s Row:
Millionaire’s Row adds several new establishment cards of all colors, but does not add any new landmarks or starting cards for a new player. What’s interesting is that the title of the expansion would leave you to believe that the game is about getting tons more money compared to the other expansions and having more runaways, when in fact it has more powerful stealing cards than the other decks and actually has a card that redistributes all the money evenly. So in a game where the title makes it seem like there would be more runaways, it actually does the opposite. Holding onto money can be harder!

I always rely on the kindness of strangers
I’m not going to get TOO in depth with the cards because I always like figuring out things for myself and not reading it in a review. But, there are some neat new mechanics.

One new mechanic are cards that help temporarily. They are low dice roll cards that are only helpful if you have less than 2 landmarks constructed. After that they don’t earn money for you when rolled. Another is a card will give you 5 coins when you first build it, but then you must pay 2 coins each time it is rolled. There is a card that actually destroys your landmarks but gives you money in the process, card where you can close down certain types of cards temporarily and earn money for each building closed this way, a card that moves away your buildings, a red card that will take all your money (and activates with the tuna boat), purple cards that redistributes all the money, a purple card that takes money the more you invest in it, as well as a whole host of other cards that earn money when rolled and can become quite the economic engine.

Important note in how we play
We play with a reduced number of purple cards when we play (one card of each purple card type for each player playing), so the purple cards don’t come out and clog the trade row. Additionally in 2 player games, we remove 2 cards from east establishment type, and in 3 player games we remove 1 card. We also tend to have 12 cards in the marketplace and ensure that 2-3 low priced cards start the game in the marketplace.

If I hadn’t been very rich, I might have been a really great man

These cards are very different from the other cards, and that’s a good thing. If you’re playing with the harbor expansion, the potency of these cards are diluted to a degree where they are powerful, but not overly so. It’s like any other engine in this game, IF the cards come out and IF they are bought in enough quantity and then IF they are rolled, they can be powerful. Sometimes it pays to be patient and build a crazy engine, sometimes takes too long and your engine never quite gets going. I didn’t find the game to be slowed down much, the money moves around the table a lot, but it is never taken OFF the table (except with the loan office). The stealing cards just redistribute the money, and in games with more players we found that people often times started with more money than when they ended their turns. However, most people in our group still use known strategies (tuna boat, convenience store, furniture factory, etc.) to build their engines.

The times, they are a changin
We also found that, with these cards, we really had to re-think strategies. Playing with the Tuna boat and the Member’s Only Club (the one that takes all your money), forced players to open up their distribution of buildings. They would get more cards that paid out on a 10 and 11, just in case they were flush with cash and didn’t want to add on 2 to their roll to get the tuna boat and lose all their money to the Member’s Only. Do you activate the Tech Company to take money from opponents and prevent others from buying on their turn, or do you add 2 to the roll and pay out on a 12 with the tuna boat and food and vegetable market? More people took out loans early to make important purchases, but then tried to close them for renovations or move them away so that they wouldn’t get burned by them later on. Do you get the demolition company to keep building and tearing down your harbor in order to try and get the radio tower or airport? The addition of the cards adds new strategies, changes old ones and forces players to get tricky and take risks.

My Final Opinion
I like the cards. I think they are fun to play with and it’s exciting when they come out. That’s the most important part, isn’t it? Sometimes things are slow to start, but that was a problem with Harbor as well. You would get cards that were too expensive or wouldn’t pay out until you had 2 dice. If things are REALLY slow, we don’t play super seriously, and we just add a few more cards to the marketplace. We haven’t experienced more slow starts than normal, maybe even a few less since you can get the loan office and general store.

The game is about having fun, and our friends all seem to enjoy the new cards and the changes and in the moment decisions they introduce. If some of the cards really bother you, then I guess you can play without some of them. But, I really like working with what’s available and trying to cobble together a winning strategy with unlikely buildings.

Unfortunately, I can’t recommend this unless you have already played and enjoyed Machi Koro with the Harbor Expansion. Even then, it’s not a “must buy” and I would recommend it only if you feel the Harbor has grown stale or if you are just Machi Koro-Krazy and want to play it more and more. So, for the Machi Koro enthusiast, I say this is a fun expansion, but not a must have.

Pros:
New cards are fun
More variety
If you had a lot of runaway games, this will reduce that

Cons:
No New Landmark cards
No Cards for a 6th Player
Really is better with the Harbor Expansion as well
Name is misleading, more about redistributing money than accumulating money
Color of card backs were slightly different

 
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Old Bones
Tomahawk
 
44 of 50 gamers found this helpful
“A "mean" expansion”

The Harbor expansion turned Machi Koro from a pleasant but slightly too simple game into a dynamic game with high replay value. Millionaire Row changes the dynamic again, though this time I’m not sure how pleased I am with the result.

To be clear, the new cards are fun to play play with and greatly increase the variability and level of interaction in the game. The result of all that interaction, however, is that the game becomes quite a bit more “mean”. I’ve played with several people who love Machi Koro but found that the intensity of coin stealing that comes with this expansion to be frustrating.

The other effect of this expansion I’ve noticed is to really extend the game length. Whereas it was rare for a game of Machi Koro (even using the Harbor) to go longer than 30 or 40 minutes, most of my games using Millionaire Row have reached or passed the hour mark.

I summary, I have enjoyed playing with the new cards in this expansion but overall it has decreased my enjoyment of the game. Certainly not essential but for certain people this “mean” expansion could be just what you are looking for.

 
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10
United Kingdom
Professional Reviewer
Crab Clan - Legend of the Five Rings
Book Lover
6
14 of 18 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“Machi Koro Disestablishmentarianism”

The 2015 Spiel des Jahres nominated Machi Koro is a beautifully simple game that was made all the better with the addition of the expansion of Machi Koro: Harbour Expansion. The expansion opened up the number of paths to victory, whilst countering the core game’s limited number of paths to victory, making gameplay more random, and giving a more satisfying playing experience. Now, the second of the expansions of the Japanese ‘dice and card building’ game published by IDW Games is available in English. The question is, if Machi Koro: Harbour Expansion made Machi Koro better, can Machi Koro: Millionaire’s Row—known as Japan as Machi Koro Sharp—do the same?

If Machi Koro: Harbour Expansion took Machi Koro out to sea and back again, then Machi Koro: Millionaire’s Row gives an opportunity for the players to gentrify their towns. They can add Vineyards and Wineries, French Restaurants and Member’s Only Clubs, Demolition Companies and Renovation Companies, and more. All of these are new Establishments—there are no new Landmarks in this expansion. Fundamentally, the cards in Millionaire’s Row are more conditional and are as much about demolishing and decommissioning buildings as it is about building them.

The key condition that some of the Establishments work off in Millionaire’s Row is the number of Landmarks that a player has built. So the Green Card ‘General Store’ gives a player two coins from the bank when he rolls it, but only if he has less than two constructed Landmarks and the similar Blue Card ‘Corn Field’ gives every ‘Corn Field’ owner one coin from the Bank when anyone rolls it, but only if each owner has less than two constructed Landmarks. The Red Card ‘French Restaurant’ only activates when the player who rolls it has two or more constructed Landmarks; he must give the owning player five coins. The similar ‘Member’s Only Club’ requires the player who rolls it to have three or more constructed Landmarks; he must give all of his coins to the owning player.

The primary mechanic introduced in Millionaire’s Row is that of deconstruction and renovation, that is, both Establishments and Landmarks can be deconstructed as well as constructed. Thus the Green Card ‘Demolition Company’ forces a player to demolish one of his Landmarks, though he does get eight coins and he can reconstruct the Landmark later. Establishments are not deconstructed, but rather closed for renovation. Thus the Green Card ‘Winery’ gives a player six coins when rolled for each Vineyard he owns, but then it closes for Renovation. When rolled, the Purple Card ‘Renovation Company’ allows a player to choose one type of Establishment in play and force all of them to close for Renovation, including those owned by other players. The rolling player gets one coin for each Establishment closed in this fashion. Any Establishment that is closed for Renovation receives a Renovation token and needs to be rolled again for the token to be removed. Until the Renovation token is removed, an Establishment cannot generate any income.

Not all of the new Establishments are always beneficial. The already mentioned Green Card ‘General Store’ only benefits a player when he has less than two constructed Landmarks, whilst the Green Card ‘Loan Office’ grants a player five coins when constructed (it is free to purchase), but makes him pay two coins back to the Bank when rolled on subsequent turns. Cards like this are primary candidates for use with the Green Card ‘Moving Company’ and the similar Purple Card ‘Business Centre’ from the core game that enable a player to move an Establishment to another player or swap one of his Establishments with that of another player. Here the ‘Moving Company’ gives a player four coins when he does this.

Lastly, the Purple Cards, ‘Park’ and ‘Tech Startups’, are interesting ways of getting more coins. The ‘Park’ forces all players’ coins to be collected and redistributed equally between all of the players, whilst at the end of each turn, a player can choose to place a single coin on the ‘Tech Startup’. Each time the ‘Tech Startup’ is rolled, coins equal to the number of coins on the card is collected from each of the other players.

The overall effect of Millionaire Row’s cards is to slow game play in two fundamental ways. The first is that many of the cards are designed to slow player down, particularly any runaway leader, the latter always a possibility in Machi Koro, especially if the Harbour Expansion is being used. Second, it increases the number of cards in play and can thus be drawn into the Marketplace, especially if the Harbour Expansion is being used. This can lead to situations where the only cards available for purchase can be two expensive and even when bought, may not generate income for a player. To an extent, this is countered by the free-to-buy ‘General Store’ and ‘Loan Office’ cards, but really this is an issue with Millionaire Row’s that could have been addressed.

Millionaire’s Row adds lots of interesting cards to the play of Machi Koro, but these add complexity and fundamentally slow gameplay down as does the profusion of cards being fed into the Marketplace. The complexity makes Machi Koro more of a gamer’s game than a family game, whilst the overstuffed Marketplace is a problem in search of a solution.

 

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