What is Streets?
Streets is a new tile-laying/worker placement game from the team behind Villagers. In Streets, players compete to place buildings and create streets, forming a town, and attracting crowds of people to earn extra points. The game is for 1 – 5 players aged 10+ and takes 30 – 60 minutes to play. The game is currently available to back on Kickstarter where it exceeded its funding goal well within its first day.
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- Turn Sequence Card
- 2 x Starter Tiles (Central Station and City Park)
- 45 x Building Tiles
- 84 Money Tokens Made Up Of:
- 30 x $1 Tokens
- 18 x $5 Tokens
- 14 x $10 Tokens
- 12 x $20 Tokens
- 6 x $50 Tokens
- 6 x $100 Tokens
- 48 Meeples (People) Made Up Of:
– 12 x Blue Shopper Meeples
– 12 x Pink Tourist Meeples
– 12 x Green Parent Meeples
– 12 x Yellow Hipster Meeples
- 25 Ownership Tokens Made Up Of:
– 5 Each of Salmon, White, Black, Lilac, and Teal
- 6 x Consultant Cards (Contractor, Entrepreneur, Renovator, Hipster Legend, [hacker], and Investor)
- 12 x House Tokens
- 12 x Restaurant
- 12 x Credit Card
- 12 x Smiley Faces
The copy of Streets I played was a prototype so some changes might occur to the components before production, but I can honestly say I hope very little does change. The components are some of my favorites of any game I’ve played including production games. The wooden Money Tokens are really satisfying to use and the colors are amazingly vibrant and fun – I wanted to take them to the paint counter at the DIY store and have paints mixed in those colors to paint my house! The pieces even smell great somehow.
The art on the Building Tiles is cartoonish and reminded me of Dream House or an indie video game with lots of bold colors and wonky angles. The tiles are printed on thick, double-sided, glossy cardboard with clear symbols and easy-to-read text. The People are also fun and brightly colored. They have designs printed on them which makes them easy to identify between the four types even for those with color-blindness, although those designs do appear to be unnecessarily gendered which could have been avoided.
Finally, the Streets box is surprisingly small considering how many components are packed inside it, but nothing feels squashed or likely to become damaged. This is a well-packaged game that avoids wasted space which helps its environmentally-friendly credentials. There are no plastic components but a lot of plastic baggies are used to separate the pieces, including splitting the People by gender as well as color which felt wasteful.
How to Play Streets
Begin by placing the Central Station tile in the middle of the playing area and placing one Person of each color on top of it, lying down. Then place the City Park tile beside it, rotated at a 90-degree angle to the station. These two tiles will form the beginning of your City.
Next, shuffle the 40 Building Tiles and place all of them in a face-down pile. Adjust the Building Tiles stack depending on the number of players:
- 2 Players: Remove two random Building Tiles of each color plus two random wild Building Tiles
- 3 Players Remove one random Building Tiles of each color but do not remove any wild Building Tiles
- 4 Players: Do not add or remove any Building Tiles
- 5 Players: Add in the 5-player Building Tiles with a number 5 printed in the bottom right corner.
Place the remaining People and Money Tokens in piles where al players can reach them.
Finally, each player picks a color and takes five Ownership Sign token in that color, along with three Building Tiles from the top of the stack to form their starting hand.
Streets is played in turns with each player working through a three-step turn sequence before play passes to the next person.
1. Build a Building
Players must place a Building Tile from their hand into a legal space within the City and place an Ownership Sign on it. If the player has no available Ownership Signs at that moment, they must Abandon a previously placed building.
Once placed, the player adds one meeple of the matching color for each symbol on the tile.
2. Score Streets
If a Street has become Enclosed, it is scored.
3. Pick up
The player then picks up the next Building Tile from the stack if any are available. Players must always have three Building Tiles in their hand unless they are within the final rounds of the game and the Building Tiles stack has been emptied.
Play continues around the table with players proceeding through these steps until all Building Tiles have been placed.
Placing Building Tiles
Building tiles must be placed so that its road connects to another existing road in the City. There are two legal ways to do this:
Place the Building Tile so that it is oriented the same as the building beside it, extending an existing road – up to a maximum of five buildings.
Place the Building tile at a 90-degree angle to an existing road to form a junction.
Sometimes a Building Tile can be placed so that both of these things happen, this is allowed. However, a Building Tile cannot be placed so its long road edge connects to the long road edge of another Building Tile to make a double-width street.
If a player has no available Ownership Signs at the start of their turn, they must Abandon one of their previously placed but as yet unscored Building Tiles. To do this, the player removes their Ownership Sign and puts it back in front of them. Any People on the tile are Moved. Abandoned buildings are not scored when their street in Enclosed.
Moving People and FOMO
When a Street has been Enclosed and scored, or when a Building Tile is abandoned, the People on those tiles have to move to a new location. People must move to Building Tiles that match their color – for example, green People (parents) must move to Building Tiles with a green symbol on them. People cannot move to Building Tiles on Enclosed streets, Abandoned buildings, or buildings with wild symbols.
If no Building Tiles are available with the correct symbol, the People get FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). They remain on their current Building Tile but are placed standing upright until a new Building Tile is placed that they can move to, then immediately move there once it becomes available and are placed lying down once again.
Enclosing a Street
A Street becomes Enclosed when it has Building Tiles orientated in a different direction at both ends. Streets can have a maximum of five buildings in them but can be Enclosed with fewer than this. The two differently oriented buildings at the end of the Street are known as Enclosing Buildings. When a Street is Enclosed, it is immediately scored and all players who own a building in it will sell their buildings and receive money. Occasionally, multiple Streets can be Enclosed at the same moment. When this happens, score the Streets one at a time in any order chosen by the current player.
Once a Street is Enclosed, all the Building Tiles within it are scored. Scoring takes place in four stages:
- Calculate the value of the building using the Valuations guide.
- Add $1 extra for each Person currently lying on the building.
- The owning player takes the money the just earned from the supply and places it in front of them.
- The owning player removes their Ownership Sign and places it back in front of them.
Buildings can be scored in any order.
This graphic explains the various symbols found on the Building Tiles and how they are used to calculate the value of a building after it has been Enclosed.
Final Scoring and Determining a Winner
A game of Streets ends when all the Building Tiles have been placed and players’ hands are empty. At this point, End Game Scoring takes place. Buildings are scored using the same process as when a Street is Enclosed, but their final value is halved (rounding up). People are not Moved or given FOMO during End Game Scoring so buildings can be scored in any order.
The winner is the player (or players) with the most money at the end of the game.
I enjoyed playing Streets a whole lot and found that I actually preferred it to its predecessor Villagers that funded successfully on Kickstarter in 2018. Streets is clearly the sibling of Villagers with a similar-looking bold art style, fantastic-quality components, and a gameplay style that toes the line between casual games and longer strategy games. There’s a lot to learn at the beginning and the rule book will no doubt be intimidating to players used to quick and simple games, but once you’ve played a couple of times, everything clicks into place and it all seems much simpler than it did in the beginning.
One thing that I’m interested to see is how playing Streets with a larger number of people impacts the game. I often found that I was running out of Ownership Signs when I was playing in a two-player game, but with four of five players, would this be as much of a problem? Sadly, COVID-19 prevented me from gathering together a larger group of players in time for this launch, but it’s something I hope to explore in the future with a production copy.
As I noted above, I particularly loved the wooden components and I truly hope this level of quality is maintained into the production copies. I appreciated the use of symbols in addition to colors on the building types, and printing designs onto the People means color-blind players shouldn’t experience difficulties identifying between the types – although I’m not sure how clear the difference between the colors of Ownership Signs will be. I did find some of the rules confusing at first, largely due to the wording in our draft copy of the rules, but hopefully, this will be cleared up prior to production. This was mostly around the Valuation of Buildings when a Street was enclosed, but we also found ourselves unsure about a few points regarding FOMO and ended up setting a house rule to finish our game.
In conclusion, Streets is a fantastic game that is ideal for casual players looking to step up to something a little more strategic or high-strategy players wanting something lighter that will still offer a challenge, and I highly recommend you back it on Kickstarter and give it a try yourself.
GeekMom received a prototype for review purposes.