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Review: 3865 City Alarm Boardgame


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#1 xtremegoogler

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 04:15 PM

The mailman delivered this one yesterday, so I decided to take lots of pictures to make it easier to decide whether to buy this or not.

3865 City Alarm
Year released: 2012
243 pieces, 6 microfigs

First the box art
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Shows the boardgame against a city background. Stereotypical criminal with evil grin, bad teeth and bad shave job, cause that's how they roll. Maybe some criminal organization can start a petition against this sort of oversimplified conception of criminals.

Back of the box
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With symbol suggesting that the boardgame fits in the box. We'll see about that.
Nothing more annoying than a game you can't put back in the box it came in.

I'll open the box for you.
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The die and the brick separator are loose in the box, as well as the two manuals and two plates

This is what is inside.
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Three bags of pieces, a bright green 16 x 16 plate and a dark bluish gray plate (6x16).
Two manuals, one with the building instructions and one with the game rules, I made a scan of the English rules:

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I have not played it yet myself, basically a two player game, one player plays with the police microfigs, trying to catch all the thiefs before they steal all the money.

This is what's inside bag no. 1:
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Lots of grey "stud-in-center" tiles.

Close up of some unique pieces for this set:
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Helicopter tile, two money stacks tiles and of course four criminals microfigs.

On to bag two:
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Nothing of much interest here, except for the two blue wedge plates, which were only used before in a 2012 ninjago set.

Close up of the police microfigs:
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And finally, contents of the third bag:
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I'm now building the die:
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However, the game is played with the tiles numbered one through six and a station tile.
When a crook ends his turn next to a building (not diagonally), he must roll the die, the outcome decides whether he gets money, an alarmed helicopter, or both. The helicopter protects a building temporarily, it makes the game a little longer and a bit more interesting. When you turn over the station brick tile, you can teleport a microfig to another white tile.

Twelve money stacks in the game:
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When the criminals have stolen ten stacks, they win the game.
However, if the police arrest all of the criminals beforehand...
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...and put them in jail by landing exactly on them, they win the game.

Finished board:
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Finally, you have to build ten microscale "buildings" next to which a criminal can eventually steal money.
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Here you can see six buildings, a pizza hut, a post office, a bank and some buildings that aren't very clear in their purpose, you have to use your imagination I guess (I don't have any).

Three small left over pieces:
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Finished product:
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And yes, it does fit nicely inside the box.
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Final thoughts
A simple, very nice looking cat-and-mouse style game, with the helicopter and station twists to keep things interesting.
It's nice that a brick separator is included, however to remove tiles I still prefer that little crowbar piece.
The box says 6+, which is about right, because while some luck is involved (which tile you turn over, what you roll with the die), you also have to plan which microfig to move where.
However, while the box says 2-4 players, it's essentially a two player game. The manual says you have to form two teams when playing with three or four players, which is a bit of a cop out, no pun intended.

Edited by xtremegoogler, 29 February 2012 - 04:54 PM.


#2 Jargo

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 05:31 PM

Nice tiles and microfigs. I'm sure I could find a use for most of those. The rest seems an ok parts pack but the game offers little to me.

thanks for the clear review xtremegoogler

#3 xtremegoogler

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 05:41 PM

Thanks for your kind comment.
And yeah, it's clearly a children's game, like all Lego boardgames.
It would be great if TLC would release a boardgame aimed at adults, but that would be a very small niche market.
I mean, adults that still like Lego AND like to play boardgames are hard to find.

#4 Flipz

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 05:48 PM

View Postxtremegoogler, on 29 February 2012 - 05:41 PM, said:

Thanks for your kind comment.
And yeah, it's clearly a children's game, like all Lego boardgames.
It would be great if TLC would release a boardgame aimed at adults, but that would be a very small niche market.
I mean, adults that still like Lego AND like to play boardgames are hard to find.

*cough*Heroica*cough* :tongue:

Great review, xtremegoogler!  I don't think I'll be rushing to buy it, but if I see it on clearance I might grab it for the spare die and all those 2x2 with 1 stud plates and all the printed tiles!

May be slightly depressed.
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#5 meyerc13

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 06:02 AM

Thanks for the great review.  Looking at the early photos online I figured this would be a good set for parts if nothing else.  However, the pictures couldn't tell me what the game play was like, but your excellent review has answered the questions I had in that regard.  Thanks!  I'll be near a LEGO store this weekend, I hope they have it in stock so I can pick it up with double VIP points, I know my kids will love this game.

And the parts... wow!  A full set of six tiles with pips... great for making your own LEGO six sided die.  Money tiles, a croissant, a letter tile, a pizza tile... all great parts.  I also like some of the other 2x2 tiles like the train, the helicopter, the tile with two stacks of money... these could make great signs in a LEGO City.

Once again LEGO seems to have hit a great combination of game play and parts.  I'm sure this one will sell well.
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#6 Legocrazy81

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 11:09 PM

The finished product is very cute. Little city atmosphere. A lot of useful pieces. All those $ tiles?! That 2x2 tram or bus tile is useful as well.
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#7 SirSven7

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 10:40 AM

Thanks for the review I was on the fence but this has given me the push I need, Now I Need This Set  :laugh:

cheers
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#8 xtremegoogler

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 07:18 PM

The Gameplay

Okay, so I played this game a couple of times now with my nephew, but the basic rules are too simple for a six year old.
Luckily the manual suggests some variants, first we tried the Ride the Train variant, but that made the policemen too strong, so we also added Jail Break. Since the manual suggests that you have to put jail in a corner, the problem arose that when three criminals are in prison, you simply stand guard with one cop and chase the remaining thief with the other cop.
So we decided to put the prison somewhere else, next to TWO spaces (tiles), so the criminals have a slightly better chance of escaping. Three tiles puts the criminals at an advantage.
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#9 just2good

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 11:16 PM

Nice review, 'xtremegoogler'! :classic:
I have always had interest in this boardgame. The price-per-piece ratio is great, and there are some interesting pieces.
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Edited by just2good, 03 March 2012 - 11:17 PM.


#10 Arigomi

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 02:41 AM

View Postxtremegoogler, on 29 February 2012 - 04:15 PM, said:

Here you can see six buildings, a pizza hut, a post office, a bank and some buildings that aren't very clear in their purpose, you have to use your imagination I guess (I don't have any).
The other buildings are a jewelry store (jewel), a bakery (croissant), a coffee shop (mug), and a lighthouse (at the dock). I'm not sure what the unmarked buildings are but some possibilities include a police station, fire station, or hospital.

When the alternate rules direct you to place the jail next to the building with the overhang, it forms a bridge. Based on this, there is a strong possibility that this is the police station.

The printed tiles in the game are great for anyone looking for decorative parts. The new orange brick separator is handy for removing tiles and disassembling technic elements. Overall, there are a lot of interesting parts.

I'm disappointed that this set doesn't include both left-hand and right-hand copies of the blue plate used for the pizza parlor sign.

Edited by Arigomi, 04 March 2012 - 02:44 AM.




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