Design Town – First Impression

I recently picked up Design Town which takes deck building to the next level. Design town is a short filler. You have a small deck of 9 starting cards. Your deck is face up so you know the first card you’ll play. This is one of the neat things about the game. The cards are double sided with different buildings and functions on each side. You have to be careful not to accidentally flip the cards.

Like it’s predecessors you play cards to your tableau and you can use them to purchase more cards and use their special abilities. There are 4 types of cards you can purchase. The new mechanism is that you can also choose to upgrade your cards in the discard pile. This means the card is now flipped to its other side and has new values and functions.

The goal of the game is to get cards with 8 VP markers


in your tableau in one turn or to play 18 cards. It sounds easy enough but the trick is that some cards have frowny faces.

If you play 3 frowny faces to your tableau your turn ends immediately. Yes, you are allowed to see the next card in your deck but some cards must be played and of course they have frowny faces so it adds a nice Can’t Stop or push your luck element to the game.


I’m generally not a huge fan of deck builders, but Design Town adds a few more interesting twists to it. After my first play I was kind of “meh” but 5 or 6 plays later I’ve enjoyed exploring it. I prefer it with 2 players. The cards are very well balanced with the “take that” cards costing just enough to make a player think twice about using them. I’ve seen wins with 8VP and with 18 cards being played. Overall I like it.


Dan Blum (1 play): The idea is interesting, and the game works, but I don’t think anyone in my game thought it was very good. There’s not enough variety in the cards, for one thing. According to the box this is the “basic” set, so possibly another set with new cards will be made available, which might help, but as-is I am not sure this is much more than a stunt. I might give it another try, but am not very hopeful.


I love it!

I like it. Lorna


Not for me.


About lornadune

Board game enthusiast
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2 Responses to Design Town – First Impression

  1. ianthecool says:

    This looks… unnecessary. The card idea looks similar to Machi Koro, and the city building itch is already being scratched by Suburbia.

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