From: Rio Grande Games

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Manhattan is a new Board Game from Rio Grande Games.

Manhattan is a building game that uses plastic skyscraper pieces and cards to challenge the players in an abstract race to build the most and highest skyscrapers in 6 cities – Manhattan, Sydney, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Sao Paulo, and Cairo.

From the back cover : “Building Book in Manhattan. But not only there!”

Not sure why they called this Manhattan rather than something like Skyscraper or Skyline,but names like that are more appropriate. It is a 4-player stacking game with a very interesting mechanic. The 1994 Spiel-des-Jahres-winning game is released by Rio Grande.

The board depicts the 6 cities in a 3×3 square gird. The squares in these grids are the build sites. Along the side of the board is the score track. Upon starting, the players must first sit on a different side of the board and select a color. Because the cards are relative to where the player sits, the players must sit along one of the flat sides of the board. The rules assume you are playing with 4 players, although there are rules for 2 and 3 players. Each player places a score marker on the points track and takes 4 cards as their starting hand from the Building cards, after they are shuffled. The first player is determined randomly.

At the start of the game, each player starts with 6 build pieces. Going around the table clockwise, each player attempts to play their 6 pieces before drawing more from their supply. Each player places one card face up in his play area, places a Build piece on the building site displayed on the card, and draws a new card. The round ends when each player has placed 6 playing pieces. After scoring, the first player marker is passed and a new round begins. The game ends after 4 rounds – 24 pieces of each player has been placed.

From the back cover :“Reach for the sky. But watch the others, for they try to top your efforts”

At the heart of the game is playing the Build cards. The cards show a 3×3 square grid similar to a city on the board. One square is colored red. This is the build site you are allowed to place a Build piece. The position is relative to where you are sitting so if two players pick the same card, they are still different sites. Thus, the player’s position at the table determines which build site at each city a building card refers to. The site can be chosen from any of the six cities on the board.

The skyscraper belongs to the player whose piece is on top. A player can place on top of any building, but there is catch. If it was owned by another player, he must place at least as many floors as the previous owner had. This is where the strategy comes in. The pieces come differing sizes from single story to four-stories. There are 12 single-story pieces (one of which is used for scoring), six 2-story pieces, four 3-story pieces, and three 4-story pieces. Planning ahead and knowing what pieces you need for the next turn are strong parts of the strategy.

Once the round is over, players score in three ways – highest skyscraper, most skyscrapers owned in each city, and each skyscraper owned. The points are tracked along the side of the board. Points range from 1 to 3 and each round the points are tabulated including buildings that might have been counted in the previous round.

In conclusion,this is a very entertaining game. There is a marginal amount of luck in the game because of the cards but a considerable amount of strategy behind where to place your build pieces. It is challenging to decide where to place pieces and deciding to either place a new building or top off on another player’s building. In that aspect, there is a certain level of competitiveness and player interaction. The game is fairly quick to play and easy to learn. I would highly recommend this game to any board game fan.

For more details on Rio Grande Gamesand their new Board Game “Manhattan” check them out at their website, and at all of your local game stores.


From: Rio Grande Games, Hans im Gluck Verlags GmbH

Type of Game: Board Game

Game Design by: Andreas Seyfarth

Number of Pages: 4 page booklet

Game Components Included:

  • 96 building pieces in 4 colors and 4 sizes
  • 4 single story building pieces in the 4 player colors used as scoring markers
  • 1 yellow start player piece
  • 45 building cards
  • 1 game board
  • 1 rule booklet

Retail Price: $ 39.95 (US)

Number of Players: 2-4

Player Ages: 9+

Play Time: 30 to 45 minutes


Reviewed by: Ron McClung