Rainy Day Game's Board Game Review of Fifth Avenue:
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Fifth Avenue in Summary
The Fifth Avenue board gametakes you back to the 1930's in New York City, with the players developing the downtown area near Fifth Avenue. (Get it?) Fifth Avenue is a game of auctions, and players bid to build their skyscrapers on the most desirable lots. You want those affluent Fifth Avenue shoppers surrounding your skyscrapers, so build with lots of shopping surrounding you, and you'll go for in this town...
Fifth Avenue Gameplay
The Fifth Avenue game board is cut into 7 neighborhoods, and each neighborhood has 5 colored lots on it. These colors match the 5 color suits of the cards you use for bidding, and are critical to your strategy. Buildings or shops will occupy the 5 lots in each district. The score for your buildings goes up with more shops adjacent to them, so pick out those premium colored lots to win at auction!
In front of you are your cards in the 5 color suits (plus Black wildcards) and your reserve of buildings. When it comes time to build, you have to take them from your reserve, so don't let it run dry or you'll be unable to take advantage of winning those auctions!
During your turn you can choose one of 4 actions: replenish your building reserve, place a shop on the board, move one of the commissioners towards their destination, or initiate a scoring round in a district that contains a commissioner. Players then draw bidding cards and finally move one of the commissioners (possibly for the second time.)
The commissioners start on one side of the board and moves toward Central Park on the other side. Every time a commissioner enters a district, he leaves a marker. And when he arrives at the far side of the board, all the districts with his marker have an auction. This is the real heart of the game.
The key to remember is the color of the card you open your bid with determines which colored lot you can build in if you win. Or sometimes the opposite: if you already have buildings in a district, you must bid with that same color cards. The auction itself is straightforward last-man-standing style bidding, but here's the catch: the higher the value of the cards you use, the fewer buildings you are allowed to build. So bidding higher with stronger cards can ruin the benefits of doing so.
Players can initiate a scoring round in a district if a commissioner is there. You receive points for your buildings according to how many shops are surrounding it. For example a building with one shop beside it gets you 2 victory points, but a building with 4 adjacent shops gets 8 points. The exception occurs when a player wins an auction in a district they CANNOT build in (i.e. all the lots are already occupied.) The winning player declares the neighborhood closed and players only receive half the usual points. And the player who closed the 'hood does get one VP for every building present.
The game ends after the second neighborhood is closed or the final shop (of the 12 in the game) is placed on the board. It's a simple tally of the victory points to determine the winner and real estate tycoon of Fifth Avenue!
Who should buy Fifth Avenue?
When we first opened this game up I expected it to be very simplistic. It turns out that Fifth Avenue is comfortably an "Intermediate" level game. We recommend this game for players with some experience with games. As a strictly development game with little direct interaction between the players, it's perfect for the Settlers of Catan generation of gamers who appreciate the race for the top of the victory point totem. The bidding as well as territory control dynamics makes for a tight game that doesn't have a "seventh-inning stretch"; every turn feels like it's a pivotal part of your strategy.
The Manufacturer's Board Game Review of Fifth Avenue:
Building in New York City is booming and everyone wants to get in on the new fad - building that touch the sky: skyscrapers! Players compete to build their skyscrapers in the best locations, but what is a good location? One with shopping - and the more shopping, the better!
Players always have more to do than they may in this exciting game of building and bidding. Players place businesses, acquire building materials, and get bidding cards so they can later bid on the building spaces. When a player wins a bid, he erects his skyscrapers immediately! Building commissioners move about the city, deciding where building should be built and giving awards to players with good locations.
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