You and your friends have spray paint cans in hand and are looking to leave your mark on the world. You’ve found your blank canvas on the nearest wall and hope to fill it with your best work, using a variety of shapes and colors.
Can you create the best street art in this competitive game of tagging and bragging? Or will one of your opponents be crowned the best artist in Tag City?
How to Play
Tag City is a dice-drafting, roll-and-write game for two to four players. Each player has their own board which is divided into multiple districts, rows, and columns that score points when completed.
On your turn roll the dice and place them on the center HQ board. For every die, there’s an associated polyomino piece (think Tetris shapes). Each player, in turn, order, takes a die and must draw the associated shape onto their player board. The first person to complete a district, row, or column, earns the higher number on that section. Other players who complete these on a subsequent turn earn the lower number.
You may draw your shape anywhere on your board and shapes cannot extend outside of the borders. You may use a drone to draw a different shape or one of the special smaller shapes, but each drone is worth negative points. You may also check your social networks, which allows you to skip drawing for the turn.
After all, dice have been chosen there will be one die remaining. All players are now required to draw this shape then all the dice are passed on to the next player. The game ends when all of the high numbers on a board have been earned, or when all of the social network or drone spots have been crossed off, and the highest score wins.
Roll and Write Your Way Through Town
Tag City is a clever blend of Tetris-like puzzle-solving and dice drafting. Whenever you’re last to take a die, you quietly die inside as others take the pieces you need. Thankfully, there are ways to mitigate those bad dice rolls: just use the social media or drone features to grab a usable piece or to skip drawing for the round.
The components are top-notch; more roll-and-writes should include erasable boards instead of the standard pad of paper. The dice are solid and the polyomino pieces neatly tie into the graffiti theme. The player boards might be a bit too busy for some eyes due to the many colors and the funky fonts for the numbers won’t appeal to everyone.
Although Side A of the HQ board and the player boards are recommended for your first game, most gamers should be comfortable jumping right into Side B of both boards. Side B of the HQ board allows you to randomly choose the shapes for each space before the game begins and Side B of the player boards feature oddly shaped districts that are tougher to complete.
While I wish there was a solo variant so I could play at my leisure, I’m happy to play Tag City whenever it hits the table. It’s one of the better roll-and-writes to be released since the genre underwent a resurgence during the last few years. Most games will take about 20 minutes to play so it makes for an excellent filler. With its unique theme and dice-drafting mechanism, Tag City is a welcome addition to the ever-expanding world of roll-and-write titles.
Ruel Gaviola is a regular contributor to Geek & Sundry, Renegade Game Studios, The Five By, iSlaytheDragon, and other sites. His name rhymes with Superman’s Kryptonian name. You can find him talking about board games on Twitter or Instagram.