Tiny Towns is a standout game among “crossover” light strategy games and city builders, because it’s so sleek and streamlined. Its rules are a work of art; not only does Tiny Towns provide the same challenge and satisfaction as games with rulebooks twice the size, but Tiny Towns has a light, flexible system that is easily extended and expanded.
The two first expansions for Tiny Towns, called Fortune and Villagers, show that Tiny Towns can be eventually expanded into a full, complex, rich city builder. While we eagerly await additional expansions that show what this slick framework can do, let’s take a look at the expansions already available.
Tiny Towns: Fortune
Besides the raw resources that build your town in the base Tiny Towns, Fortune adds another big element of urban living: money. The coin system in Fortune rewards players for constructing multiple buildings in a single round, which is an interesting feat. Players can always hold off turning patterns of resource cubes into buildings, but doing this gives up a lot of valuable space. The coins that this gets for players, though, grant a lot of flexibility, just like a liquid resource should. Coins can be spent to change the resource that a player gets for the round. Or, if the player never needed to spend them, coins are worth a victory point each.
Tiny Towns: Villagers
And of course, one of the most important parts of a city are the people in it. Their skills and talents make cities successful, and Villagers follows through on that theme.
Similar to coins from Fortune, players have to jump through a couple of hoops to get a villager token. The villagers start out on empty spaces on the player boards, but when a building is constructed on their space, they become a worker. Workers can then be spent on one of two powerful abilities, randomly chosen at the beginning of the game. The abilities that cost one villager are strong and useful, but the abilities that cost 2 or 3 villagers are powerful and can change the course of a whole game.
Tiny Towns: Tiny Trees
This is a simple micro-expansion available direct from the publisher, but it’s a really cute one. Every player gets one seed they can place on their boards at the beginning of the game. If they place a resource on the seed, the seed is removed but the player gets a second free resource that round. Or, if the seed remains until the end of the game, it grows into a tree and scores 2 victory points!
Players can mix and match and combine these expansions to scale and customize the game as much as they want. This turns Tiny Towns into an interesting ecosystem of game experiences. Here’s hoping more expansions come out soon, to show just how flexible Tiny Towns can be.