Cardboard Town – Game Review

I have always loved games where you build your own towns/villages/islands etc. First growing my love for this genre when I played Tropico 3. The amount of customization available and the wide variety of ways you could build up your island had me hooked. Would you wage war against the Crown or suckle at their teat for money injections? All the while fending off rebellions. Cardboard Town, although similar in genre, is much more relaxing. So, with that said let’s take a better look at Cardboard Town…

Cardboard Town Details

Developer: Stratera Games

Publisher: Rogue Duck Interactive

Platform: PC, Windows, Steam, Steam Deck

Release Date: 12th April 2023

Price: £16.75

Gameplay of Cardboard Town

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When starting a new game, you are given different options that alter gameplay. Some make it noticeably harder or easier. New starting options are unlocked upon leveling up, XP is earned at the end of runs. Once in your new game you are welcomed to your little cardboard town on what looks like a Monopoly board, on top of a desk. This kitschy design aesthetic really works for the game, adding a level of charm to familiar gameplay. As Mayor you are tasked with building up the town using cards you draw each turn. Being careful to manage your resources as if you go negative on anything you get one red alarm. Get three and your game will end.

Difficulty increases as you get grow in population as red cards are introduced. These cards must be used/built before they expire, or they give you a permanent red alarm. Potentially ending your run, and if not permanently endangering it.


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Gameplay is really easy to pick up. Drawing cards each turn and getting money which you can use to build stuff is so reminiscent of traditional board games that you quickly pick up everything about the game. If not don’t threat! The game has plenty of useful hints that pop up whenever needed. Games are surprisingly relaxing, allowing players to forget about the worries of the day as they become mayor of their latest carboard town!

Steam Deck

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Cardboard Town plays almost perfectly on the Steam Deck. The only problem I encountered was sometimes the touchscreen input would glitch and it wouldn’t accept the button inputs anymore. A quick fix was to simply return to the main menu and continue the game. It wasn’t too frustrating to put me off playing and it only happened a couple of times.

Summary of Cardboard Town

Cardboard Town on Steam
Image Source: Steam

Although Cardboard Town doesn’t bring anything that new to the city building genre. It’s unique aesthetic, simple but addictive gameplay, and variety of cards provides a genuinely enthralling game. The whole game takes place on a desk, lending to the whole board game feel. Having the player draw cards which they use to build up their village, only adds to the sense of playing a board game. It truly is one of the games most powerful aspects.

Games can end as quickly as they began however as the game does offer a challenging experience as well. It all depends on the starting setting players choose. Yet again adding to the impressive variety this game offers in gameplay, buildings, and more! If you’re a fan of management/simulation games or city builders I couldn’t recommend Cardboard Town more! It has rekindled my love for city builders.

Overall Rating: 8.5 – Excellent!

Platform Played On: Steam Deck

Recommendation: Yes!