Machi Koro is one of the best lightweight board games around. It’s simple, quick, and can be enjoyed by the whole family. The rules are easy to understand, you roll a die and do whatever the card says that matches the number you rolled.
I have found that these strategies will net you the most wins. Rolling a single die throughout the game allows you to quickly gain coins and take an early lead. Buying the blue primary industry cards first will allow you to earn coins on any ones turn and maximize your earning potential. There are plenty other strategies in this guide including:
- One Die Strategy
- Buy Primary Industry Cards First
- Shopping Mall & Restaurant Cards
- Buy Landmarks in This Order
- Buy the Major Establishments During the Mid-Game
- Spend Your Coins
- Stockpile the Same Icons
The simplicity of Machi Koro can be deceiving and if you are not careful about how you spend your hard-earned coins then it could cost you the game. So let’s take a look at how to win at Machi Koro.
Machi Koro Strategy Guide
Let’s start with a quick rundown of the basics in Maci Koro.
In order to win Machi Koro you must purchase all four of your landmark cards. The game ends instantly and the other players do not get a chance to finish their turn.
Let’s take a look at the different cards and see which ones are the most valuable.
Machi Koro Landmark Cards
The Train Station landmark card costs four coins and allows the player to roll one or two dice. You really don’t need to rush out and buy this card. The higher value cards cost a lot of coins so there is no reason to roll two dice at the beginning of the game.
So don’t waste your coins on the train station and buy another establishment card instead. I would save this landmark card for last if you are planning on using the one die strategy.
The Shopping Mall landmark card costs ten coins and all establishments with the bread and coffee icons earn an additional one coin. This card can help you earn quite a bit of extra coins. So if you are using the red card strategy then buy this landmark card first.
The Amusement Park landmark card costs sixteen coins and allows the player to take an additional turn if they roll doubles. Although this landmark card can be very powerful it is also very unlikely that you will be able to pull it off.
It is also useless to you if you are planning on using the one die strategy. So save this card for near the end.
The Radio Tower landmark card costs twenty-two coins and allows the player to re-roll their dice once per turn. This is by far the best landmark card.
It will allow you to re-roll if you rolled on an opponent’s red card or if you are trying to aim for a specific number. Try and buy the radio tower first and it will make it easier to purchase the other three.
Machi Koro Establishment Cards
Blue Cards: Primary Industries
Blue establishment cards can be activated on any player’s turn. These are my personal favorite. You should try and buy all of the blue cards you can before going for any other color.
Copies: 6 | Cost: 1 | Activation #: 1
Wheat Field gives you one coin whenever anyone rolls the number one. I like stockpiling these first since you already start with one of these cards and they have such a low cost. This card also tends to be activated a lot for the first half of the game. The only downside to the Wheat Field establishment card is that if your opponent starts rolling two dice then this card becomes useless.
Copies: 6 | Cost: 1 | Activation #: 2
Ranch gives you one coin whenever anyone rolls the number two. I buy this card early on so I have a better chance of earning coins whenever other players roll.
Copies: 6 | Cost: 3 | Activation #: 5
Forest gives you one coin whenever anyone rolls the number five. I prefer to buy this card after the Ranch and the Wheat Field establishment cards are gone. The Forest has a high cost and has a low return rate, but it can combo well with the Furniture Factory card.
Copies: 6 | Cost: 6 | Activation #: 9
Mine gives you five coins whenever anyone rolls the number nine. The cost may be a bit high, but if your opponents are rolling two dice and you get multiple copies of this establishment card then you will be raking in the dough.
Copies: 6 | Cost: 3 | Activation #: 10
Apple Orchard gives you three coins whenever anyone rolls the number ten. If you aren’t using the one die strategy then this may be a good option for you. This card also combos well with the Fruit and Vegetable Market establishment card.
Green Cards: Secondary Industries
Green establishment cards can only be activated on your turn. I would start by buying the blue cards first except for the Convenience Store establishment card.
Copies: 6 | Cost: 2 | Activation #: 4
Convenience Store gives you three coins whenever you roll the number 4. This card is a must-have if you are using the one die strategy. It is super cheap and gives you a bunch of coins if you buy multiple copies. It also combos well with the Shopping Mall landmark card.
Copies: 6 | Cost: 5 | Activation #: 7
Cheese Factory gives you three coins for each establishment you own with the cattle symbol whenever you roll the number 7. This card can potentially make you a good bit of money when used with the Ranch establishment card. But the high cost and the fact that there is only one card that has the cattle symbol makes this one a tough sell.
Copies: 6 | Cost: 3 | Activation #: 8
Furniture Factory gives you three coins for each establishment you own with the gear symbol whenever you roll the number 8. This card works extremely well with a lot of the blue cards. If you have the Forest or the Mine establishment cards then you can potentially make a lot from the furniture factory.
Fruit and Vegetable Market
Copies: 6 | Cost: 3 | Activation #: 11-12
Fruit and Vegetable Market gives you two coins for each establishment you own with the wheat symbol whenever you roll the numbers 11 or 12. Much like the Cheese Factory, this card only works with one other card; the Wheat Field. So unless you have a stockpile of the Wheatfield cards then I would avoid this card.
Purple Cards: Major Establishments
Purple establishment cards can only be activated on your turn. Each player can only own one of each of these cards. I buy these as soon as I can afford them. The Business Center is the only purple card that I do not purchase.
Copies: 4 | Cost: 8 | Activation #: 6
Business Center allows you to trade one non-purple card with your opponent whenever you roll the number 6. This is the only card in the game that doesn’t earn you money. This and the fact that it costs 8 coins is the reason why I don’t recommend buying it.
Copies: 4 | Cost: 7 | Activation #: 6
TV Station allows you to take 5 coins from your opponent whenever you roll the number 6. This card can really hurt your opponent and can give you a big lead. I tend to buy this establishment card after I purchase the Stadium, but either card will help you a lot.
Copies: 4 | Cost: 6 | Activation #: 6
Stadium allows you to take 2 coins from each of your opponents whenever you roll the number 6. This card can give you up to six coins and will slow down all of your opponents. This is the first purple card I go for since it costs the least to buy and has a big effect.
Red Cards: Restaurants
Red establishment cards can only be activated on your opponents turn. I like to combo the red cards with the Shopping Mall landmark card since this will allow you to steal an extra coin from your opponent.
Copies: 6 | Cost: 2 | Activation #: 3
Cafe allows you to steal one coin from whoever rolls the number three. It has a low cost of two and can be very useful early on in the game.
Copies: 6 | Cost: 3 | Activation #: 9-10
Family Restaurant allows you to steal two coins from whoever rolls the numbers nine or ten. If all of your opponents are rolling two dice then consider buying this establishment card.
So now that you know all of the cards in Machi Koro, let’s take a look at how to win.
How to Win at Machi Koro
One Die Strategy
Focus on rolling one die instead of two. This is a very simple yet effective method.
The establishment cards have activation numbers that go all the way up to 12; 14 if you count the expansions for Machi Koro. The funny thing is that you really only need the ones with activation numbers between 1-6.
It’s true that the higher number establishment cards have a higher payout, but this strategy allows you to dominate the game with low number cards before your opponents have a chance to even get their high number engine built.
The most important card if you are planning to use this strategy is the convenience store. It only costs two coins to purchase and gives you three coins if you roll a four. Buy a few of these and buy the shopping mall landmark card and you will be able to make bank.
So use this strategy coupled with a few of the other ones I mention in this strategy guide and you will bulldoze your opponents.
Buy Primary Industry Cards First
Blue establishment cards are able to be activated on anyone’s turn. This is extremely powerful.
Let’s say that you purchased three Ranch establishment cards. In a four-player game, you have the chance to earn 3 coins per player in a round. If everyone rolled a two that round then that would be twelve coins in your pocket in a single round!
Now imagine this same scenario with the Mine establishment card which gives you five coins when a nine is rolled. That would give you a total of 60 coins!
It’s likely that if you did have three Mine cards then your opponents would stop rolling two dice. So buying a variety of blue cards with both high and low activation numbers will help bring in a consistent flow of money.
Shopping Mall & Restaurant Cards
The red cards can help you gain money and slow down your opponents. All of the red cards in the base Machi Koro board game has the cup symbol on it. If you purchase the Shopping Mall landmark card then you will be able to steal an extra coin from your opponent.
So say you stockpiled three Cafes and have your Shopping Mall unlocked. If an opponent were to roll a three the. You would get to steal six coins from them! This can really make it hard for them especially early on.
Buy Landmarks in This Order
- Shopping Mall: This is the only landmark card that actually helps you earn extra money. If you are buying restaurant cards or any establishment cards with the bread symbol then you need this card. At ten coins, this card is a steal and you will make your money back in no time.
- Radio Tower: This is the most expensive landmark card to buy. If you are able to buy this card early then all the other landmarks will be easier to obtain. Not only because they are cheaper, but because you will be able to re-roll the dice and hopefully rake in money.
- Amusement Park: I have seen this card dominate in the past. It is extremely rare, but if you manage to roll doubles you get to take another turn. This can give you a huge advantage, but I think the other two landmark cards give you benefits you can use more often.
- Train Station: You can buy this card whenever you want. But if you are using the one die strategy then you should save this landmark card for last since you won’t be needing two dice. This card only costs four coins and if you save it for last then your engine should be powerful enough to where no one can stop you from winning.
Buy the Major Establishments During the Mid-Game
Only two of the major establishment cards are worth your while; the Stadium and the TV Station. The Business Center is mostly garbage unless you have too many bad cards you want to get rid of and is the most expensive of the three.
These cards are very powerful because they allow you to steal a boatload of coins from your opponents. The problem is that you can’t take five coins from your opponent if they have no coins to take.
At the beginning of the game, players are slowly gaining coins. So, waiting until the mid-game to by these cards will maximize their effects since players should be generating income more consistently.
Spend Your Coins
In Machi Koro you can lose money just as fast as you can gain it. Don’t give other players the chance to steal your hard-earned money.
Spens your coins on whatever you can get your hands on. Ideally, this would be on the blue primary industry cards. This way when your opponent rolls a six and they’re looking to steal five coins from you, you can tell them to look elsewhere.
Stockpile the Same Icons
Most of the green secondary industry cards give you coins per certain symbol on a card. For example, the Furniture Factory establishment card gives you three coins per establishment you own with a gear symbol.
This is my personal favorite use of this strategy since all of the gear icons are blue cards anyways.
Conclusion – Machi Koro Strategy Guide
This may be a simple game, but if you aren’t aware of the strategies and how to win at Machi Koro then you may find yourself losing more than you would like. Remember these strategies the next time you play the Machi Koro board game and you should be able to wipe the floor with your opponents.
I hope you enjoyed the ultimate Machi Koro strategy guide. If you would like to know my thoughts on the game as a whole check out our Machi Koro 5th Anniversary Edition Review.
Are you interested in purchasing Machi Koro for yourself or a friend? You can find it on Amazon at a great price!