Things get a little spicy in Suburbia Nightlife – Review

Suburbia Nightlife Feature

Having reviewed both Suburbia Inc, and Suburbia 5 Star, it’s time to review Suburbia Nightlife, the last big expansion within Suburbia Expansions. It introduces 32 new nightlife tiles that bring a more sinister tone to your borough. Including haunted houses, werewolf dens and, most evil of all, campus libraries.

Unlike the other expansions, Suburbia Nightlife was never released separately. Originally, it was only accessible through Suburbia Collector’s Edition, which is the version I’m reviewing. However, it can now be purchased alongside the rest of Suburbia’s expansions, and the promotional tiles of Essen and Cons, in a new offering called Suburbia Expansions.

Given that this is an expansion review, there’s an expectation that you already know how to play the base game. But for those who don’t, you can read the original review of Suburbia that goes in-depth on how to play.

A tile from Suburbia Nightlife saying Game Night Host. Gives you 5 population for every restaurant.
I feel seen

What’s new in Suburbia Nightlife?

Suburbia Nightlife adds 32 tiles, 2 Bonus tiles, 2 Challenge tiles, and 4 Goals to the game.

As the name suggests, all of these tiles are based on after-hours activities such as a dance club, game night or a back alley. Aesthetically, these tiles trade in the usual optimistic daytime appearance for a shady nighttime setting, with the only light coming from street lamps or open windows.

Otherwise, when it comes to the Bonus, Challenge, and Goal tiles they’re somewhat uninspired. As they’re all variations on having either the most or least amount of Suburbia Nightlife or Suburbia Inc tiles within your borough.

The sliding tray from Suburbia Collectors Edition with the Back Alley tile from Nightlife front and center.
Using the slider from Suburbia Collector’s Edition

The good, the bad, and the nightlife

What’s painfully clear from playing Suburbia Nightlife, is that this expansion needs to be mixed in with others before it starts to shine.

A lot of the tiles have painfully negative effects on them but offer significant short-term benefits as a trade-off. For example, the Werewolf Den is free to buy, gives you two income, but then loses you one population for each other nightlife tile you own.

If you’re using all nightlife tiles, then you could be losing one point per turn for the rest of the game. Though Werewolf Dens aren’t the only tiles producing such consequences, and if you’re using all nightlife tiles, it’s quite easy to build a borough that goes backwards.

Especially at the two and three player counts.

That said, you can avoid this happening by diluting the tile supply with tiles from the original or Surburbia Inc expansions. When you do this, Suburbia Nightlife’s tiles become much easier to digest and a lot of fun to play with. Unfortunately, this dilution is painfully unaddressed within the Suburbia Collector’s Edition rulebook.

This is a shame because these new tiles offer some interesting new decisions. I’ve already mentioned the trade-offs they offer, but not yet about how cheap they are. With over half of them costing 10 coins or less, they give you a couple more options in the early game. Additionally, because they’re so cheap, you have less hesitation in buying up-market later on.

Nothing within Suburbia Nightlife is ground-breaking, but these new tiles add the right kind of spice to the base game.

At this point, this is all I want from a new Suburbia expansion. Anything more drastic is liable to ruin the winning formula. Case in point: Suburbia 5 Star. However, as it stands, Suburbia Nightlife is a welcome new addition. One that I’ll happily mix in now and again between playing games of Surburbia Inc.

Designer: Ted Alspach

Publisher: Bezier Games

See how Suburbia Nightlife compares to all of the other board games I’ve reviewed.

Suburbia Inc cover
  • Includes Surburbia Inc, Suburbia 5 Star, and more!
  • Borders, bonuses, and challenges add so much to Suburbia without adding much
  • A must-have for Surburbia lovers

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