Santa Monica is a unique and engaging board game that puts players in the role of property developers competing to build the most desirable and lucrative properties on the famous California boardwalk. The game combines elements of city-building, area control, and card drafting to create an exciting and replayable experience.
In the game, players start with a unique starting tile and then draft cards from a pool of eight cards, which they use to build a panoramic tableau of the boardwalk.
The cards depict either the street/boardwalk level or the beach level and must be placed accordingly, branching out from the starting tile. Along the way, players must link up cards in the tableau to create sets, score points, and earn bonuses.
One of the key features of the game is the use of sand dollars, which serve as the currency of the beach. Sand dollars can be acquired from cards or from a food truck token, which moves along the bottom of the draft pool and bestows sand dollars when a player’s choice matches its location.
Additionally, there is a foodie token that grants players the ability to move a host of meeples hanging out on the beach, adding another layer of strategy to the game.
The game also features meeples in the form of locals, tourists, and VIPs, which players can use to score points by placing them in appropriate hot spots on the beach.
Proper management of these meeples is essential to achieving a high score and winning the game.
Overall, Santa Monica is a well-designed and engaging game that offers a unique and fun twist on the city-building genre.
The game’s combination of card drafting, area control, and meeple management adds a lot of strategic depth and replayability.
I would definitely recommend this game to anyone who enjoys city-building, area control, and card drafting games, as well as to players looking for a new and unique experience.