Underwater Cities is a 'B' tournament, which means beginners are welcome to play if you have played before, read the rules, or attended a demo.
From BGG: “In Underwater Cities, which takes about 30-45 minutes per player, players represent the most powerful brains in the world, brains nominated due to the overpopulation of Earth to establish the best and most livable underwater areas possible.
The main principle of the game is card placement. Three colored cards are placed along the edge of the main board into 3 x 5 slots, which are also colored. Ideally players can place cards into slots of the same color. Then they can take both actions and advantages: the action depicted in the slot on the main board and the advantage of the card. Actions and advantages can allow players to intake raw materials; to build and upgrade city domes, tunnels and production buildings such as farms, desalination devices and laboratories in their personal underwater area; to move their marker on the initiative track (which is important for player order in the next turn); to activate the player's "A-cards"; and to collect cards, both special ones and basic ones that allow for better decision possibilities during gameplay.”
There are three turns per round. On each turn, a player plays a worker tile and a card. If the worker tile is placed on an action space whose color matches that of the card, then the card is in effect. Otherwise, it is discarded. At the end of several rounds (4, then 3, then 3), there is a production phase, where cities, tunnels, and buildings (a player’s network) produce resources or points.
Turn order is determined randomly for the first round but is then determined by play of worker tiles for subsequent rounds. Some cards score points immediately when played, while others score points when used in subsequent turns. The object of the game is to end with the most points after the third and final production phase. There are end-game scoring cards as well. These can be some of the most valuable cards, but they are costly to play and give you no in-game benefits. Finding the right balance of scoring points during play and scoring points at the end is the secret to success.
The Heats will be played with the basic player boards and no government contracts. The Semifinal and Final will add government contracts but retain the basic player boards for balance.
The game should take around 2 hours for experienced players but can take longer if players are not planning ahead for their moves. At the 1.5-hour mark, players may be asked to speed up if it looks like they are on track for adjudication. The Semifinal and Final will be played to completion, even if they go beyond 2 hours.
The tiebreaker to determine the winner in each game is the final turn order (as stated in the rules), so make sure to record the final turn order before scoring.
Assuming at least 32 players participate in the Heats, the Semifinal will consist of the top 16 players (four 4-player games) using the Heast Most Wins Points standard tiebreakers. If there are fewer than 32 players in the Heats but at least 24, then 12 players will advance to the Semifinal to play four 3-player games. If the number is between 18 and 23, then the top 9 will play three 3-player games, and the final will also be a 3-player game. The following will be the setup for fewer players:
- 16 or 17 – the Semifinal will consist of two 4-player games and the winner and second-place player from each game will play in the Final.
- 14 or 15 – the Semifinal will consist of one 3-player game and one 4-player game. The highest seed overall will decide which game to play in, and the second highest seed will play in the other. The rest of the players will be placed randomly. The winner of the 3-player game and the first two finishers in the 4-player game will play in a 3-player Final.
- 12 or 13 – The Semifinal will consist of two 3-player games and the two winners and the top second-place finisher (as a percentage of the winner’s score) will play in a 3-player Final.
- 10 or 11 – The Semifinal will consist of one 2-player game and one 3-player game. The two winners will play in a 2-player Final.
- 8 or fewer – There will be no Semifinal. The top qualifiers (half the total number of players rounded down) will go straight to the Final.
I will post a list of winners and alternates on the kiosk as soon as possible after each heat. If you win a heat and know that you will not be attending the Semifinal or Final, I would appreciate knowing that ahead of time.
The preference in the heats will be for 3-player games to allow for games to be completed before the 2-hour mark. If numbers require it, some 4-player games may be required.
Event Sheet: For a game to count, a summary sheet must be accurately completed recording ALL pertinent info and submitted promptly to the GM. Winners are responsible for seeing that this is accomplished. Summary sheets will be handed out by the GM before play begins.
HEATS: MOST WINS - POINTS (HMW-P):
- Most Wins (e.g., total in all heats entered)
- Total Points – Players earn the following pints in each heat they entered:
- 1st Place - 1,000 points
- 2nd Place - 100 points
- 3rd Place - 10 points
- 4th Place - 1 points
- All other places - 0 points
- e.g. player has a 1st, 2nd, and 4th in three heats: total points would be 1,101
- GM Specific Tie-breaker Sum of the ratios of your final score and the winner's (second place player's) final score in each game
- High dice roll.