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Featured Game: Underwater Cities

Our home on the surface of Earth has become uninhabitable, leaving us with no other choice than to dive deep under the sea (I’m trying really hard not to start singing) and build new homes on the seabed.

Underwater Cities is a complex game for 1-4 players, of card management and card placement. Gather resources to build up the best of the underwater cities, create city domes and link them together with tunnels, but don’t forget you’ll need production buildings for starting your new underwater civilisation.

Up on the shore they work all day, but Underwater Cities is fun to play (I’m sorry!).

Why we love it

We’ve played action selection games before, and tonnes of worker placement games (love them) but Underwater Cities brings something a little bit different to the table.

Whilst there’s a range of actions for players to choose between, in order to take an action, players must commit a card from their hand to it, just like placing a worker there. Players can then do the action, but if the card played matches the colour of the slot they also get to use the ability of the card. It’s such a clever system, there’s so much optimisation in this one as you scramble to use your cards in the best, most efficient way possible, whilst also hoping that nobody manages to block the spaces you need to use.

Underwater Cities is perfect for those who like laying out detailed, complex plans in their heads, then get rewarded by building up amazing combos, and getting to grow your city in front of you. There are so many opportunities to score points in this game, you have to carefully navigate your own path to victory.

Occasionally tense and interactive, but often hugely satisfying, Underwater Cities is a fantastic game for really sinking your teeth into like a shark sinking its teeth into an underwater city...

Who’s it best for

With a play count of 1-4, I’ve only played this game with two players, which to me felt like the perfect amount for a game like this. Player turns can be slow, so with more players, there might be quite a lot of downtime, but that’s very much dependent on your group.

Not for beginners, Underwater Cities is complex game, the kind that’ll take about one playthrough to get a feel for the better strategies the game opens up to you. It’s a long one as well, but for those of you who really want to put the time and effort into something as heavy as this one, it’s worth it.

Loved it? Now try…

  • Terraforming Mars, some people call Underwater Cities ‘Terraforming Mars 2.0’ there are certainly similarities in both heavily card based games

  • Seasons, slightly easier to pick up game based around building up card combos to score loads of points

  • T’zolkin, super complex worker placement game with gears, timing is everything in this one!

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