A game for 1 – 5 players
Play time around 45 minutes
Publisher: 25th Century Games & Motor City Gameworks
In Motor City, you are the supervisor of a car factory during the heyday of the auto industry in Detroit. You have just been put in charge of day-to-day operations throughout the factory. You need a clipboard, steel-toed boots, and an even stronger eye for efficiency.
You face tough decisions about which departments get more of your attention and the company’s resources: Do you put everything on production? Will you test your prototypes extensively to make sure customers are happy with your cars? Or will you give engineering the green light to push innovation even further?
Each department is represented by tracks that you mark as you progress. Many of the tracks are connected to other elements in the game, giving you bonuses and unlocking more points along the way. As you progress on all these tracks, you gain different amounts of points, improvements, combos, and bonuses.
Let’s get it on the table
Each player receives two different score sheets, a pen/pencil, and an audit marker.
Based on the number of players, you create a pool of dice;
With 2 players you need 1 gray, 2 white and 2 blue
With 3 players you need 2 gray, 3 white and 2 blue
With 4 players you need 3 gray, 3 white and 3 blue
With 5 players you need 4 gray, 4 white and 3 blue
Motor City is played over 8 rounds. Each round has the following phases;
1. Plannings phase
2. Industry phase
3. Audit phase
Below, I will explain the 3 phases;
1. Planning phase; the first player rolls all the dice, including the red die. After this, you sort the dice by color and place them in line on the symbols corresponding to the dice. Place the red die next to the game board.
2. Industry phase; Each player chooses a die from the game board one by one; the first player gets to choose first of course. Once you have chosen the die then follow these 3 steps.
A) Bonus; receive the bonus shown in the space of the chosen die, only in the first column you will not receive a bonus.
B) Now choose 1 of the 3 possible options,
1 Take the blue printed action shown on the column where you picked the die.
2 Upgrade action, you may now upgrade the column you are in, if your column is in the rightmost column, you may upgrade one of the four actions of your choice. Note: this will cost you money. The first upgrade costs $5, the second upgrade will cost you $7. You mark the dollars off at the Sales track.
3 Research; fill in the following box on the research track.
C) Now place your die in one of the available die spaces on the score sheet. Now you may perform that action.
3. Audit phase; Score points equal to the highest star value you have obtained on the Speedometer. Write down the score by the round you are currently playing in.
During each round, each player picks 2 dice from the board. After this, each player uses the last die, but it remains on the board. This action is carried out simultaneously. You may use this die to choose from the corresponding action (column) where the die lies or perform a research action. You may not upgrade or receive a bonus.
After this action, the round ends. You write down the points of your highest star value and move on to the next round. The car goes to the next player, and they start rolling the dice.
A quick explanation of the actions on the score fields.
Speedometer: Tick the next free field at the speedometer. At the end of the round, you receive points for the highest star value you achieved here.
Testing: Fill the next field on the active track, you may have several active, but you may only fill the fields on 1 track at a time. Each track gives you different bonuses, you will receive these immediately!
Sales: Circle the next field on the sales track. You can also receive bonuses during this action. As soon as you use money, color the field to see how much money you have left. At the end of the game, you will receive 1 point for every $5 you haven’t spent or 1 point for every 2 dollar you haven’t spent but only when you’ve unlocked Certification D
Production: Fill any field, which is connected to another field that has already been ticked. Here, too, you can receive bonuses. In addition, you can tick Production Hubs but to complete them you will also need other requirements. In this case, circle the Production Hub and once you have achieved it, you may complete the Production Hub and receive the bonus.
Engineering: Fill the next field to the top, with an active engineer. Engineering Hubs are the same as a Production Hub and you need several requirements to get the bonus. If you manage to get these, you will receive the bonus at the Engineering Hub. While filling fields, you can also receive various bonuses again, you do get these immediately.
Upgrades: Select a die from the game board and upgrade the corresponding field. This will cost you $5 for a level 2 upgrade and $7 for a level 3 upgrade. You are allowed 1 upgrade per die. Now tick the 2nd or 3rd round linked to the level upgrade.
After this, you may fill 2 or 3 spaces once you perform an action or receive a bonus.
Research: Here you have 2 actions from which you may choose 1.
1. Tick the next field, when you reach a circle, you may perform one of the 4 actions.
2. Shop item, choose one of the three shop items that have not yet been unlocked. As soon as you use it, tick it, and receive the bonus.
In solo mode, you also use the black die. Continue the game as you normally do, only depending on the difficulty you choose a number of dice, see below:
Beginner: 2 grey, 2 white and 1 blue + red and black
Intermediate: 2 grey, 1 white and 2 blue + red and black
Veteran: 1 grey, 2 white and 2 blue + red and black
Expert: 1 grey, 1 white and 3 blue + red and black
A solo game also lasts 8 rounds and otherwise the phases are exactly the same with one minor exception. In a solo game, you play against Auditor Emma
1. Planning phase; also roll the black die and place it next to the game board.
2. Industry phase; both players, you and Auditor Emma, choose two dice, the third die is yours alone. During the odd rounds it’s your turn and Auditor Emma’s turn in the even rounds.
You choose a die as described earlier. Auditor Emma chooses a die following these steps:
Choose a die from the column where the red die is or the action depicted on it. If there is no die there, move on to the next column on the right or possibly to the beginning of the board. She then chooses the die available from high to low (from grey to blue).
3. Audit phase; Auditor Emma now picks off several things on your score sheet, making them impossible for you to achieve. If you don’t manage to mark something off, this action expires for Auditor Emma and it’s your turn again.
Auditor Emma does not receive a bonus but only picks the action from the column where the die is. In some cases, Auditor Emma crosses off the spaces on your score sheet, back to front, on the corresponding action. In other cases, the value of the die indicates a particular track or Hub on which you must cross off.
The color of the die indicates the number of spaces; grey is 1 space, white is 2 spaces and blue is 3 spaces. The black die determines which section you need to look in to be able to tick off these fields, in most cases this is value 1-2, value 3-4 and value 5-6.
The Game ends
The game ends at the end of round 8. After this, the points are added up. You also add up the points in the following categories.
Testing: score the points mentioned on the tracks you completed
Sales: score points earned by unlocking sales bonuses. In addition, score points for every $5 you did not spend.
Manufacturing: score points earned from completing certain hubs
Engineering: score points for completing engineering tracks.
Certifications: score points for certificates you have unlocked.
The solo game also ends again at the end of round 8. You now count the number of points and compare your score to see what model of car you produced.
50-59 Monte Carlo
60-74 Olds Cutlass
75-94 Pontiac GTO
95+ Chevelle 454 SS
Final Conclusion & rating
Weight: 2.82/ 5
My rating: 9 out of 10 dices
Motor City is the third game in the Loaded Roll & Write Games series, the other 2 games being Fleet: The Dice Game and Three Sisters. Motor City is a somewhat more elaborate roll and write game than you often see by, namely you play with 2 different score sheets. I’m not familiar with the other 2 games myself, but I want to play them to decide which one I like best.
What I really like about Motor City is that during your turn, you may perform a few actions in succession with 1 die. First when you take it from the board, you then receive the bonus, then you perform an action from the column or use an upgrade and then when you place the die on the score sheet. But even while crossing off squares, you can receive bonuses again and therefore get some kind of chain reaction. You will really have to make use of the options to upgrade because then you may and can cross off more and thus receive more bonuses.
Motor City has clear rules but, in the beginning, it took some time to figure out what to do where, but after two games we got the hang of it, and it became much more fun. Besides the score sheets, the box also contains the dice and the first player token (in the shape of a cool car).
For solo players, I highly recommend Motor City, it doesn’t take much time to set up and the game rules are doable. It takes some time to figure out what the red die does and what the black die does, but again, you’ll get the hang of it quickly and then have a nice game against Auditor Emma. Here, besides the challenge of fields being crossed off for you, you can have some influence on which dice Auditor Emma can take. You know which dice Auditor Emma will pick up next turn and you can choose whether to take the risk or not. This does mean that you must adjust your tactics slightly, but you can compensate for that in the round you start.
As said, I haven’t played the other 2 games yet, but I think Motor City is one of the nicest Roll and Write games I have. I therefore really enjoy putting it on the table.
My thanks goes out to Motor City Gameworks for this review copy.