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Urban Sprawl

DESIGNER Chad Jensen
ART DIRECTOR Rodger B. MacGowan
COVER ART Eric Williams
PRODUCERS Mark Simonitch, Tony Curtis, Andy Lewis, Rodger MacGowan, Gene Billingsley
Regular Price: $70.00
On Sale For: $40.00

  • Game board
  • Four player mats
  • 144 wooden cubes in four player colors
  • Four wooden cylinders in four player colors
  • One orange wooden pawn
  • 165 cards:
    • 54 in the Building Permit deck
    • 37 in the Town deck
    • 37 in the City deck
    • 37 in the Metropolis deck
  • Four sheets of die-cut tiles:
    • 128 buildings
    • 24 Vocations
    • 6 Politicians
    • 1 Contractor
    • 6 Wealth markers
    • 3 Prestige markers
    • 1 Active Player marker
    • 1 Extra Favor marker
  • Final Game Board
  • Final Town/City Cards (Front)
  • Final Town/City/Metropolis Cards (Back)
  • Final Permit Cards (Front)
  • Final Permit Cards (Back)
  • Final Vocation Tiles
  • Final Building Tiles
  • Final Player Aid

  • Consimworld Discussion Topic for Urban Sprawl, hosted by designer Chad Jensen
  • 3D Urban Sprawl set


  • Description

    Urban Sprawl is a game for 2-4 players. Urban Sprawl abstractly models the growth of a town into a teeming metropolis.

    Players assume the roles of entrepreneur, tycoon and politician—each helping in the development of a hypothetical “Anywhere, USA.” Wealth and Prestige will be earned and spent throughout the game. Buildings will rise only to later be demolished for better and larger fare.

    Throughout the game, players will gather valuable Permits. These will result in either a wealthy Investment or the foundation of a new building Contract. Players will strive to become dominant in one or more building Zones in order to acquire beneficial political offices.

    All of this eventually leads to the end game – a vibrant metropolis that is revered around the world – when the player with the most Prestige will be crowned the winner.

    Game Play:

    The grid of streets on the board provides the framework for building the small town. The buildings will be placed within the grid and identified with control markers (wooden cubes) to show each player’s contribution to the growing urban area. Each building’s value is determined by the cumulative Wealth and Prestige values of the block in which is it constructed.

    At the start of a player’s turn he may discard one or more Building Permit cards from hand as “Investments,” gaining Wealth in doing so. Next that player gets 6 “Action Points” (APs) that he may spend on any of the the following activities:

    • Acquiring new Building Permit cards from those available to choose;
    • Constructing new buildings from those currently available;
    • Acquiring a “Favor” – a Building Contract that only that player can build.

    Each activity carries with it a variable cost in APs, depending on where the chosen card lies on the board.

    Once a player has spent his APs it’s time for a quick reset phase in readiness for the next player’s turn. It is during this phase that events can occur, elections can be held for the various political offices, and players receive payouts in Wealth and Prestige. Wealth payouts provide funding for new buildings while Prestige payouts provide victory points.

    Generally, players will be trying to build in areas that provide better payouts. Players are also looking to construct more buildings of a particular “zone” – Government, Residential, Industrial or Commercial – in order to help them win an election, as the politicians each confer a special ability to the player holding the office. Many of the buildings also provide a one-time bonus as they are built, and players can benefit from construction in the right neighborhoods.

    Throughout the game, the values of the buildings will generally increase as the town grows into a city and then a large metropolis. Neighborhoods that were once valuable can become run down and new city centers spring up as the urban areas sprawl out across the grid.

    When the game ends, players will conduct a final scoring of each Prestige row, earn points based on accumulated Wealth, and score bonus points for political offices held—after which the player with the highest Prestige total wins the game.

    Players: 2-4

    Play Time: about 45 minutes per player

      Customer Reviews
      # of Ratings: 6
      1. on 1/3/2017, said:
      Chad, Chad, Chad. Mr. Chad Jensen is easily one of my favorite designers. Urban Sprawl is certainly one reason why. I love city-building games and while my favorite, by far, is Bezier Games' "Suburbia," Urban Sprawl is close behind. It takes different elements of a good 'creation' game and contains them well. The different sizes and shapes of tiles are fun, the way the city blocks become valuable over time is a neat evolution to watch and the different events and such that occur over time give the city a living feel that I connect with well. What would be a negative to others isn't necessarily so to me. The game's scoring upkeep is a bit 'mathy.' You really have to keep your focus as to what on the board is valuable and what isn't. Though it's basic mathematics, it's still...well...a hassle, I'm sure, to some. I will admit that, though it's no pain to me. Dominant Species has a similar feel, but hey, that's a great one, too! Urban Sprawl is a great pick up for anyone who loves city-building games, but wants that abstraction thrown in there as well.
      Was this comment helpful? yes no
      (3 people found this comment helpful, 1 did not)
      2. on 1/15/2012, said:
      Played a nice four player a couple of nights ago, fairly easy to get into once the terminology is under control. Set up appears more complex than it is, just trust the set up guide :-) Need to play a few more times to start to get the core strategy under control, but it appears that as long as you always focus on the wealthiest blocks you'll maximise chances of winning. The Union Boss we feel is a little on the "too powerful" side - effectively giving that play a 33% flat out advantage. I recommend only giving 1AP extra, not 2AP. Or 2AP at the cost of 2 prestige or something. Looking forward to a few more games! It is a good game, worthy of the "something different" collection you actually bother to play.
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      (5 people found this comment helpful, 2 did not)
      3. on 10/25/2011, said:
      I play Urban Sprawl with my family and we all had a great time. My brother cannot wait to play again.
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      (3 people found this comment helpful, 4 did not)
      4. on 10/22/2011, said:
      Just got the game in Essen. Pick up option went great. First try at the game. And I am enyoing is.
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      (5 people found this comment helpful, 3 did not)
      5. on 12/7/2010, said:
      Can't wait to get this game. My only complaint is that I wish it supported 5 players (or 6 even).
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      (5 people found this comment helpful, 7 did not)
      6. on 11/23/2009, said:
      I have played the prototype twice now and this game's depth is definitely worthy of a war gamer's time. It had that "let's play again, NOW!" quality. Let me add that I will be the first in line to buy this game when it is available! I highly recommend this game!
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      (13 people found this comment helpful, 3 did not)
      Showing comments 1-6 of 6