Imagine a game where city building and deck building are mashed together. Feel the influence of games like Dominion as they try to combine with classic city builders like Sim City.  The resulting impact could be called Concrete Jungle.  The overall feel of Concrete Jungle is kind of like Go or Solitaire, depending on the mode you’re playing in. The game is fun to watch, but simple enough for kids.  It also features a brilliant AI which really requires the player to play well.

Feel of the Game

The overall aesthetic is light-hearted and fun. Music is reminiscent of classic city builders, but not as jazzy as Sim City 4.  The city is built using a series of card classes, which consist of residential, industrial, commercial, government, farming, gardens, and unique modifiers.  Because of the card class blocking system, you can also build different cities, beautiful cities, park cities, farmlands, industrial wastelands, or a balance of all of those.  The applied limitations of the deck building system prevent the player from having direct control of the city’s shape, but it can still be heavily influenced by changing the proportions of the cards that appear.

In solo mode, the game is relaxing, but thought-provoking like a good game of solitaire. You have to balance production against land value for houses.  No time limit, and no rush on building.  The more combos and points you can pin down, the better.  If you put together four buildings of the same class next to each other (like four houses or four farmlands), you can also get an economic bonus for being efficient.  That lets you buy more cards, in different variations.

In Versus mode, the game really shines.  The placement feels almost like a game of Go.  Both players can place their pieces on the same map, and affect or even link to each other’s pieces.  To protect your own pieces, you have to play a protective wall kind of like Go.  If you don’t, the AI will wait until you leave an opening and build a factory right next to your houses.  Definitely protect your houses.

Why Should I Play This?

Perfect for Young Families

When trying to play games with or around my kids, I struggle to find something interesting to both of us.  Concrete Jungle bridges the gap between too complex and too boring with simple cards, points, and a square grid. At a reading age, they become even more interested as I buy new cards and they cry out, “Ooh, a school” and “Ooh, buy the pond!”  This adds a new level of interaction, and soon we’re learning strategy, complex system interactions, and cooperation.

Interesting Challenge

If you’re interested in a challenging game, meet this game’s AI.  The AI is thoughtful, careful, and easily identifies the best moves quickly on that turn. There were several games against the AI that I lost outright, and I had to begin developing a Go level of defense and thoughtfulness to the building placements.

A Playthrough of a Versus Campaign