In Tenpenny Parks, you and your fellow would-be theme park moguls will try to develop the most chilling, thrilling, joy-inspiringly amazing (not to mention profitable) fairground around as you attempt to out-build and out-sell your competition and claim the title of best theme park around! But how does this cardboard attraction stack up? Grab some funnel cake, ready the rollercoasters, and let’s have ourselves a grand old time as we explore Tenpenny Parks!
Designed by Nate Linhart and stunningly illustrated by the iconic Vincent Dutrait, Tenpenny Parks is played over the course of 5 tight rounds. Players will spend their turns developing their theme park via a worker placement gameplay. Your goal is to amass the most VPs (Visitor Points, cleverly) by making sure that your park provides the most engaging, exciting, and overall joyous experience!
There are several places players can send their workers, including:
- The Banker, to collect some extra income
- The Arborist, to remove some trees from their property
- The Contractor, to add concession tiles to their property
- The Realtor, to add expansion tiles to their property
- The Builder, to add attractions
The Builder isn’t really a single space. Instead, its a literal carousel of opportunities where players can send their workers to secure blueprints for attractions. Attractions, like Concession tiles, get added to your player board (respectful of the placement rules). By clearing trees, expanding your property, and cleverly placing your tiles, you’ll grow your park and earn lots of bonuses along the way!
Attractions will earn you VP at the end of the game, and players flush with cash can even opt to ‘advertise’ their Attractions, earning even more VPs. Each round, the price of Attraction cards on offer will be adjusted by the player furthest forward on the Awe track.
The Awe track, along with the Thrill and Joy tracks, are the three emotion tracks that players will advance along as they add tiles to their parks Being the first player on each of the three tracks will offer players the opportunity to gain bonuses in the form of extra cash, extra workers, and, as mentioned, influence over the game market for the subsequent turn. Alternately, players can forgo these bonuses in favor of more of those sweet, sweet VP tokens.
At the beginning of each round after the first, players will earn money based on concessions and certain attractions, and after 5 rounds, players will sum up the VPs they’ve earned from Attractions, the Emotion tracks, as well as secret Goal cards you’ve managed to fulfill along the way. The player who has amassed the biggest pile of VPs is the winner!
Tenpenny Parks has a few really neat things going for it that we really enjoyed. First and foremost, the presentation cannot be overstated. Tenpenny Parks is gorgeous in a way that a game about theme parks certainly doesn’t have to be. The component quality is top-notch, too, with thick cardboard tokens and tons of unique, original artwork.
Another excellent quality is that Tenpenny Parks is a tight game that doesn’t have an ounce of superfluous design to hamper the experience. From the first turn, you’ll need to make good choices in order to spend your resources smartly and build up your point engine. A few smart builds early on can make a big difference over the course of Tenpenny Parks’s relatively short playtime, but if you spend too much time focusing on income, you’ll probably miss out on point-bearing attractions, so there’s a careful balance to be struck.
Which is not to say that Tenpenny Parks is a complicated game – when it comes right down to it, the only rules that we had to remind ourselves over and over again were, ironically, the placement rules. There’s something about polyomino pieces that just beg to be Tetris’ed together in the most efficient way possible, but in TEN, tiles can’t share edges, so builds like this, while inherently satisfying, are COMPLETELY ILLEGAL.
The only other criticism we have of Tenpenny Parks is precisely that it’s short and tight, so you aren’t going to get to do everything you want to do, but honestly, that’s a small price to pay for how incredibly playable this beautiful game ended up being. We really enjoyed the whole experience Tenpenny Parks provided, from its table presence to the gameplay itself, and the fact that it didn’t overstay its welcome was just fine by us. We definitely recommend checking out Tenpenny Parks and seeing if you’ve got what it takes to be the best theme park designer around!