My wife and I are big fans of puzzle-style board games, so a game like World Monuments where you collectively and competitively construct monuments, sounded like a good game for us. It looked like an interesting concept and great for nights when we’re looking for a lighter game to play.
In World Monuments, players select different colors of wooden pieces that will serve as the building blocks for different monuments that you’ll collectively build. In the standard edition, you can choose between the Capitol, Notre Dame, Taj Mahal, and the San Pietro. Everyone decides on the monument to build and that game board is placed in the center of the playing area.
Each game board shows how many of the colored wooden pieces are required for each round. Those pieces are placed in the included black cloth bag and then randomly drawn and placed onto the round quarry board.
A starting player is determined and they choose 1 wooden piece from the quarry board by moving the black player marker to a space on the outer ring of the quarry. The next player gets to take 2 pieces, but they must move the player marker back to the outer ring. The next player takes 3 pieces, again making sure they return to the outer ring by the 3rd move. The next player gets to move the player marker 4 times and returns to the outer ring by the end of their turn. After this, all players get to move 4 times each turn until the remaining wooden pieces have been claimed and placed behind each player’s screen.
The player who claimed the black wooden piece is the starting player for this round and gets to place the first piece onto the game board. The starting player also receives 2 points from the start, so it can be worth taking the black piece during the quarry phase. On the back of the player screen boards there are reminders of how much each layer of wooden pieces is worth. For example, the starting player will place a piece on the bottom row, so they will gain 1 point. If the next player were to place a piece on top of the first piece, that player would receive 3 points. However, they must obey the rules of the building layout that is outlined on the game board.
If at any point a player is unable to place a piece, they reveal their remaining pieces to the rest of the players and 1 point is deducted for each piece. The exceptions are the black starting piece and blue pieces. You do not deduct points for these pieces and you keep the blue ones until the end of the game. Each blue piece in hand earns 3 bonus points at the end of the game scoring.
Once everyone cannot make any additional moves, the next rounds’ pieces are placed into the bag (as outlined on the game board) and Round 2 begins with the quarry phase. The game lasts a total of 3 rounds and most of the time, the monument will be completed by then. Then the final blue piece bonus scores are accounted for and the highest score wins.
World Monuments is a light and fun game and can be a good introductory game for those new to the hobby. However, I do have a few minor criticisms. One is that you never really feel like you’re constructing a World Monument. The blocks end up being the rough shape of the monument they’re supposed to be, but they don’t actually end up looking like replicas. Also, I wish the game boards were recessed a bit where the wooden pieces go. This would prevent some of the sliding and shifting that occurs as players build onto the initial pieces. You’re constantly adjusting the pieces each time you add a new piece.
Minor criticisms aside, it’s still a fun game and it’s really easy to teach to new players. If you can find it on sale (I got my copy on Amazon Prime Day for $10), it’s a great deal. Overall, I’d say it’s worth checking out if you’re looking for a light/filler game that allows you to build miniature structures with wooden pieces.