Dale Yu: Review of Paris: La Cité de la Lumiére



Paris: La Cité de la Lumiére

  • Designer: Jose Antonio Abascal Acebo
  • Publisher: DEVIR
  • Players: 2
  • Age: 8+
  • Time: 20 min
  • Times played: 4, with review copy provided by DEVIR

In this game, players take on the role of one of the city’s most important personalities. The success of your endeavors will be guaranteed by ensuring that the buildings you build and own are bathed in as much light as possible. Inspire artists and surprise both Parisians and visitors alike with the beauty and wonder of the city’s new lights!


The game is set up using the empty box bottom as the template for the sixteen cobblestone tiles that will make up the part of the city that you are fighting over.  These tiles are split into four quadrants; some of the color for each player, some in a mixed color and others showing streetlamps.   Each player takes the 8 tiles whose back match their player color, and each takes a single tile to comprise their starting hand.  Then, 8 Action cards are chosen and placed around the outside of the box.  Each of these Action cards provides a one-time special action that can be used.

The game is played over two phases – placing the cobblestone tiles and then placing buildings on those city tiles.


In the first phase, players alternate turns – they can either place their cobblestone tile face up in the box bottom, fitting into one of the empty spaces of the 4×4 grid OR they can choose a building piece to add to their supply.  There are 12 different building pieces, polyominos of 3 to 6 small squares in size.  The rules recommend taking at least 3 or 4 tiles during this phase of the game.  Play alternates back and forth until of the cobblestone tiles are placed, and thus the 4×4 grid in the box is completely full.  If you have placed all of your tiles, you are NOT obligated to choose a building on your turn, you can simply pass.


In the second phase, you can choose to either place a building on the map or use an action card.  To place a building, it must cover unoccupied spaces that are either in your player color or the purple mixed color.  You cannot cover a streetlamp with a tile.  Once you have placed the tile, mark ownership of it with a chimney token of your color.  If you use an Action card, choose a face up card, do the action written on it (or choose not to do it), then flip over the action card and place one of your 4 action tokens on it.  The second phase ends when neither player can play a building and all of the Action cards have been used.

Now, the playing part of the game is over, and it’s time to score the game to see who wins.  Each players looks at four different things in scoring:


1] Illuminated Buildings – for EACH of your buildings, you score points equal to the size of the building multiplied by the number of streetlamps that are orthogonally adjacent to it.


2] Largest Building Group – ADD up the sizes of all of your buildings in your largest orthogonally contiguous group and score points equal to the sum.


3] Unbuilt Buildings – LOSE three points for each building that you claimed in the first phase which you did not place on the board by the end of the game


4] Action cards – score points or modify things based on the Action cards that you activated over the course of the game.

The player with the most points wins.  Ties go to the player with the most visible spaces of their player color at the end of the game.


My Thoughts on the Game


I was attracted to the game when I got a demo in Essen due to the beautiful art and colors in the game.  It was neat to see everything splayed our around the box with the bulk of the action going on within the box.  After my first few plays, I can say that the gameplay matches up to the level of beauty of the physical components.  The rules themselves are pretty simple; in each of the two phases, you only have two choices to worry about.  As such, it’s super easy to teach and not overly difficult to learn. 


In the first phase, there is a balance between placing the cobblestone tiles down, trying to form patterns of your own color on the board – you’ll need to generate larger areas of your own color in order to be able to place the larger buildings.  However, while you’re doing this, you need to keep an eye out on the building supply because you’ll need to pick up the building before your opponent does.  There are also times where it is better to try to pick up a building to temporize a turn or two in order to wait for a better opportunity to play your tile.  As you only have one tile in your hand at a time, there may very good reasons why you want to wait- i.e. not playing a tile that gives your opponent a huge contiguous area.


In the second phase, there is a bit of a race aspect.  First, there is a rush to claim the purple shared spaces.  In general, your opponent can’t do much with the spaces in your color… however, each of you can use the purple spaces, and you will almost certainly need to cover them in order to place your larger buildings.  Be sure to read and understand the 8 special actions as well; there are 12 total in the game, so each game will be slightly different due to the particular subset of action cards in play. You will have to use all of your action tokens before the game can end, but you’ll have to balance out the need to play buildings with taking advantage of the different action cards.


The game plays quickly – but there are a number of difficult decisions to make along the way.  It is not always clear what the best option is on a turn.  We choose to play quickly here, and not spend too much time trying to calculate our scores after each play; instead, we go with the flow and see who wins at the end.  There is definitely some potential for AP in this game, but luckily, we have not experienced It here.  As a result, this is a fine light 2p game which should continue to see plays at home, especially when I’m still mostly limited to playing with family only.


Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers

  • I love it!
  • I like it. Dale Y
  • Neutral. James Nathan
  • Not for me…







About Dale Yu

Dale Yu is the Editor of the Opinionated Gamers. He can occasionally be found working as a volunteer administrator for BoardGameGeek, and he previously wrote for BoardGame News.
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