Machi Koro 2 Cover ImageDeveloper/Distributor: Pandasaurus Games
Genre: Strategy/City-Building
Unique Elements: Build a city with impressive landmarks that outshines your opponents.
Series: Machi Koro Series.
Number of Players: 2-5 players
Estimated Game Length: 45 minute
Age Range: 10+ years
Release Date: 2022
MSRP: $29.95
Website: Click Here
Video: Click Here
Purchase Site: Click Here
Reviewed by: Megan Renee
Final Score: 4.5 Moons (out of 5)

Brilliant Moon Award

Although the original Machi Koro received many raves and  award nominations after its release in 2012, there were some consistency issues to playing the game that made it a little more tiresome rather than fun to play.

Fortunately, Machi Koro 2 manages to improve on most every issue that the original one had!

Read on to find out how!


(If you’ve never actually played the original Machi Koro, I highly recommend you read the review of it that Meeple Mountain did.)

To recap: The original Machi Koro is about being the mayor of a town and trying to use the accumulation of resources to build your town up before your opponents can build up their own.  This is done by using: Blue Primary Industry cards to generate money on (potentially) all dice rolls, Green secondary industry cards to generate money on (potentially) one’s own dice rolls, Red restaurant cards that force other players to pay you money, and Purple Major Establishment cards that can do a lot of various effects.  When you raise enough money to pay for four Landmark cards before other players, you win the game.

In his instructional podcasts for game developers, Magic the Gathering‘s Lead Developer Mark Rosewater brings up that two super important things to game creation is properly introducing variety/randomization into gameplay so that games don’t feel like copies of one another and providing catch up features so that the game’s outcome isn’t settled too early in the game.

However, if you did play the original Machi Koro, you know the creators apparently didn’t learn those lessons for their first foray, as there was no randomization in the original game, the ability to roll multiple dice could only be attained after the “Train Station” Landmark was acquired, there were no catchup feature if the dice didn’t go your way, and everyone’s landmarks to win were the same.

So let’s break down these four flaws and see what happened in the new sequel.

To go along with making more different cards, MK2 distributes cards that can be purchased from randomized decks so you always have a number of new options each turn.  This makes games feel much more unique and exciting.

The ability to roll multiple dice is no longer controlled by building anything.  Now you can do it from the beginning of the game.  Your lack of things that trigger on higher rolls will prevent you from likely rolling two dice until you’ve gained a bit of wealth, but now you can strategize when to roll things.

There are now multiple catchup options built into the game.  If you run out of coins and don’t receive one by your turn, the bank will give you one.  (You can spend this on your turn or save it.  There are still a decent number of things that can be purchased for a single coin, so this is very helpful so you don’t just feel dice hosed.)  Other catchups are monuments that will give you three coins if none of your dice hit on your turn and another monument that decreases the costs of buying monuments.

Which gets us to the monuments.  Unlike the four monuments that were exactly the same in the first game, now there are 20 unique monuments that are randomized.  You now only have to complete three monuments to win (or one super expensive one)—but all give you unique abilities, like the aforementioned catchup abilities.


The major presentation changes in MK2 are just MORE.  More of everything.  Because of the randomization, there need to be many more cards and these are filled with beautiful new touches and flourishes.

The video below gives you a better feel for it than our still images.

Audience Fit

Nerdy strategy card/board games are part of our jam here at DGM, so it should come as no shock that Machi Koro is something that we jive with.  (If you’re curious why this was reviewed as a board game and not a card game, it’s because, although it has cards in lieu of an actual board, it includes dice and tokens in the box, which makes it play more like a board game.)

The improvements that have been made to it make it even more in our wheelhouse!

Closing Thoughts

If you played the first Machi Koro and hated it, then there probably aren’t enough changes in Machi Koro 2 to make you revise your opinion.  However, if you liked the possibilities of Machi Koro but didn’t feel like it reached its potential, then MK2 should be a great fit for you.  

I remember how the Knights & Cities expansion of Catan fundamentally changed the game of Catan for me in a way that I couldn’t go back to the original Catan afterwards.  That’s how the improvements to Machi Koro 2 feel to me.

Gameplay: 4.0 Moons (out of 5.0)

Presentation: 5.0 Moons (out of 5.0)

Audience Fit: 5.0 Moons (out of 5.0)

Final Score (not an average): 4.5 Moons (out of 5.0)

Score: Four point five moons

Author: Megan Renee

Megan Renee is a media, game, and culture reviewer and writer from the South. As a transgender woman, she has an especial eye for the effect of pop culture on impacted minorities and people groups. Her favorite film of all time is, Fight Club, followed by the Matrix, American Beauty, and 2023's Barbie the Movie; her favorite fantasy author is Stephen R. Donaldson, followed closely by the much more prolific Brandon Sanderson; she has a deep love for singers Tori Amos, Lorde, and Josh Joplin, while she has an especial affection for bands Over The Rhine, Within Temptation, and Stabbing Westward; and her favorite card game of all time is Magic: The Gathering, with a true passion for the often hated energy and poison decks of yore!

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