As a country girl, the towering skyscrapers of cities are an awe-inspiring sight. Some of these marvels of architecture become synonymous with their cities. Their silhouettes known worldwide, creating the famous skylines of our world’s cities.
Skyline, designed by David Short, lets players become architects of their own cities. Players try to build the highest and the most skyscrapers using beautiful multi-colored dice in a push your luck game.
Components / Set Up
The most important components of Skyline are the 60 small custom dice. 25 of the dice are ground floor dice, 28 upper floor dice, and 7 are penthouse dice. The dice are high quality and even though they are small they have a bit of weight to them. I really like the colors and the fact that it is still color blind friendly as the low rise, mid-rise, and high-rise buildings each have a different design. A few of our dice are not as richly filled in and have a bit of a faded look.
There are also 60 Building score tiles. They are made of good quality card stock and have really nice artwork. The buildings are different colors and designs. As you score your building you create your own unique skyline. The numbers are also very clear, making adding up your score at the end of the game very easy.
The last components are the Status Board and status marker. The status marker is a generic black cube but the Status Board serves many purposes. It is made of the same quality cardboard as the building tiles and has a round track and a handy player aide. It shows the different buildings that can be built using the dice and a game play summary. It’s helpful as you learn to play the game and a quick reference when you need it.
Set-up is easy as long as your have the game organized. I suggest keeping the dice in separate containers so you do not have to sort it before each game. All you need to do is separate the dice into the three piles: penthouse, upper and lower floors. Then place the building tiles. Then, place the Status board in the center of the table with the status marker in the first round phase, and take one penthouse, upper floor, and lower floor die and place next to the abandoned district side of the board.
The start player should be given a high-rise ground floor, the 2nd player a mid-rise ground floor, and the 3rd player a low-rise ground floor. The fourth player is not given a ground floor die.
Skyline is a a fun, push your luck dice game that takes place over 9 rounds, but can end before that if a player builds a 6 level high-rise. There are four steps to each players turn.
1. Take Dice , 2. Roll Dice, 3. Take Actions, 4. Roll Again?
1. Take Dice:
This is the first though-provoking choice presented to players. Players get to choose which dice to take. They can either take three dice of their choice from the construction yard or all the dice located at the abandoned district. Depending on the dice available in the abandoned district or the player’s strategy, they can be torn between which to take.
2. Roll Dice:
This step is pretty self-explanatory, your roll your dice and decide what to do with the results.
3. Take Actions
After rolling, the player now decides what to do with their dice. They have three choices. They can build, abandon the dice, or demolish.
Build: To build, they choose which dice they want to use and either start, expand, or finish a building. There is no limit to the number of buildings a player can have in their skyline. A low-rise (purple) building can be a minimum of one die or a maximum of two dice. A mid-rise (blue) building can be a minimum of two dice and a maximum of four. A high-rise can be a minimum of three dice and a maximum of six. Only the mid and high-rise buildings need penthouse dice to be complete. Once a building is complete, the dice are returned to the construction yard and the player is given a building tile.
Abandon: If the rolled results do not allow them to Build, then the player must Cancel Construction on one of their existing buildings. If a player does not want to Cancel Construction, then they must abandon by placing that die in the Abandoned District, which gives their opponents the opportunity to capitalize on this failure.
Demolish: A player may choose to demolish an existing building tile or column of dice. If they choose to do so, they return the building and any chosen dice, to the construction yard.
4. Roll Again?
After taking their actions, the active player can choose to re-roll any number of remaining dice. They then repeat steps 3 & 4. If they cannot do so or do not wish to the resign. Their turn is over and all remaining active dice are returned to the construction yard.
Players can choose to build with their dice. Ground floor dice can always be added but upper floor and penthouse dice must meet certain requirements. A low rise can be a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 2. A low rise is complete as soon as an upper floor die is built. A mid-rise or high-rise building is complete as soon as the penthouse die is built onto it.
When a building is complete it is replaced with a building tile and the dice are moved to the construction yard.
Game End / Scoring
After nine rounds of play the game ends. If a player builds a building six dice high, the game ends at the end of that round. At the end of the game low-rise dice are replaced to building tiles and incomplete dice are discarded. The players then add of their points and the person with the most points wins.
Skyline came to me on the recommendation of a family member who isn’t a big board gamer. I was very surprised that I had never heard of it before I saw a picture of him playing it with his family. The dice and city building immediately caught my eye. I love city building games, dice games, and games that work with different levels of gamers. The beautiful components of Skyline seemed to be offering so much.
The rulebook made the game a bit confusing, especially when it came to re-rolls. The included example of play did a lot to explain and clear up some of that confusion. I’m very grateful it was included. The graphic design and illustration help to further explain the game play. There isn’t a player aide on the back of the rulebook. It really isn’t need in Skyline because it is included on the Status Board.
Skyline is not a deep, pure strategic game. It’s a quick, light luck-based dice rolling game. There are still many options and paths to victory. I really enjoy the decision making at each step. It is something unexpected for a dice rolling game. Even choosing the dice is a strategic decision. You can choose to take any three dice from the construction yard or all the dice in the Abandoned District. You may not want the dice from the abandoned district, but you know your opponent may. This is what created the interaction between the players. There isn’t direct player interaction, but it is created with the abandoned district and the need of players to know what is going on in their opponents’ skyline.
The actions also add a lot of flexibility to player’s game plan. Being able to build, demolish, or re-roll keeps the options open. Yet it doesn’t slow down game play. There really is minimal down time between turns and keeps the game quick.
I don’t completely love that the game can end whenever a player builds a 6 story building. It is interesting that players can control the end of the game. But I feel it sometimes end too soon and it is too easy to build a six-story building.
Skyline is a light family friendly game nicely merges the luck of dice rolling with the strategy of smart decision-making. The game is simple on the surface. The rules are easy to learn and the game is easy to teach. But the multiple options available create a deeper game. Even scoring a building can create thought provoking options. The more you build onto a building the more each individual die is worth. There isn’t a lot of interaction between players, but they need to keep an eye on what they are doing. This is how the game can offer a solo play for those interested. The multiple paths to victory, the impressive options, and beautiful components have created a wonderful family game I see myself playing many times.
Designer: David Short
Artist: Gavan Brown, David Short
Publishers: Tasty Mistral Games
Game Length: 15 minutes
Ages: 6 and Up
Picture Credits: (from www.boardgamegeek.com) Gavan Brown (RoosterJuice) all other pictures were taken by my husband. Thank you for sharing your wonderful photos.