Sprawlopolis: The Lightweight Strategy Co-Op City Building Game | Casual Game Revolution

Sprawlopolis: The Lightweight Strategy Co-Op City Building Game


Sprawlopolis is a newly founded city, and you and your fellow players will build it together. You are responsible for planning and shaping the growth of this thriving city. The game has only eighteen cards, with three used to determine the variable end-score system and the remaining fifteen to build your city; no two matches are ever the same. It will be challenging to balance growing large zone districts, minimizing road construction, and achieving the end-score objectives. If you love "city planner" games, Sprawlopolis is an excellent filler game that fits in your pocket for gamers who want something light, quick, yet challenging and diverse.

Sprawlopolis is a trendy game from Button Shy Games, which mainly publishes eighteen-card games that fit in a double-sided pocket. Button Shy games usually shine for their brilliant game design, being light, straightforward, and easy to play while still being challenging and strategic.

Sprawlopolis is a game for 1-4 players, best played with fewer players (it is a delightful solo game), and takes only 15-20 minutes. The game is so easy to learn that it is suitable for players as young as eight.

Sprawlopolis components

A Straightforward, Lighthearted Game

Sprawlopolis rules are straightforward. Cards are double-sided; one side shows scoring conditions, while the other shows city zone blocks. The initial setup involves shuffling the cards and randomly drawing three cards that determine scoring conditions. The remaining fifteen cards compose the terrain deck. Finally, place an initial terrain card at the center of the building zone.

During the game, players keep one card at hand, while the current player keeps three. The current player plays a card on the building zone following placement rules, passes the remaining cards to the next player, and draws a new card from the terrain deck. Continue playing until you play all fifteen cards.

The three condition cards have a number on each, and their sum determines the Target Score for the game. Once players have played all cards, compute the city score. Determine the final score using the rules on the three condition cards, score one point per block in your most extensive group of each zone type, and subtract one point for each road in the city. 

If the final score exceeds the Target Score, the players have successfully won the game.

Sprawlopolis gameplay

Building a Better City: What Makes Sprawlopolis a Hit

Sprawlopolis is a city-building game that has become popular among board gamers. With its unique card-based approach to creating the perfect city, it has become an instant classic within the gaming community.

Sprawlopolis is a cooperative terrain-building game that adopts mechanics such as tile placing, layering, and closed drafting. It embraces all of these different mechanics while being a lightweight strategy game that packs a big punch.

Each game uses three cards to determine the different end-game scoring conditions, and the remaining fifteen cards are available for players to cooperatively build the city. Players are tasked with building the most efficient city they can in fifteen cards. Players are incentivized to discuss their plans and to work collaboratively without revealing their cards. Every game feels like a unique experience, and it is so quick that you can easily play it multiple times in one evening. Both player interaction and replayability are critical factors in the game.

The biggest strength of this game is its simplicity; there are only eighteen cards in total, and you can learn the gameplay almost immediately. It's easy enough for even younger kids to understand but has enough depth that experienced gamers will still enjoy playing. Game sessions are short, with an entire game completed within 20 minutes. Sprawlopolis is an ideal choice when you don't have hours to commit to a longer board game but still want something that will challenge your mind and provide lots of fun. The artwork on each card adds an extra layer of delight; it's colorful enough to catch your eye but not so busy that it detracts from gameplay or overwhelms players new to these games. As Sprawlopolis is packaged into a portable wallet, it is easy to pack and take it wherever you go.

The game also features a fantastic visual aesthetic; each card features a full-color illustration of a different part of your city (such as parks and office buildings), making it feel very immersive as you progress through each round. Overall component quality is as expected from any Button Shy game: thick, high-quality cards, lovely wallets, and a small but comprehensive rulebook.

The game is challenging but has almost immediate setup and tear-down, quick play, and minimal complexity.


Final Thoughts

Sprawlopolis is an excellent addition to any collection of "building games" due to its unique mechanics and simple setup. Whether playing solo or with friends, this fast-paced yet strategic city-building experience will keep you entertained for hours! So if you're looking for something new or want a quick but engaging game night experience, give Sprawlopolis a try!

Sprawlopolis stands out from other board games due to its straightforward yet complex mechanics. It is an excellent choice for gamers who want something light yet challenging that won't take hours upon hours to play out—or require tons of components or complicated rules! It offers all the joys of strategy without being overly complex or time-consuming, making it perfect for gamers looking for something enjoyable yet quick enough for even a lunch break session! Whether you're new to gaming or need something different for your next gaming night, give Sprawlopolis a try; we think you'll love it as much as we do!

This unique city-building game combines excellent artwork with simple yet challenging gameplay mechanics that make it incredibly enjoyable and replayable.


  • Light abstract game with deep strategy.
  • Outstanding, clear, and supportive artwork.
  • A lovely solitaire game.
  • Many hits and hard-to-spot misses.


  • It is a quick and simple game, a great filler, and not for those long and complex game sessions.

Disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.

Note: This article is provided by Roll & Mind.