Reiner Knizia’s City of Secrets Pipes Review

Reiner Knizia is back at it again, teaming with iOS creators Aidem Media and updating one of his board games, Pipes, to fit into to the City of Secrets universe, like he did previously with Skyline. This is again being done to celebrate the upcoming game City of Secrets 2. This time, however, the results aren’t as good as Skyline, and we’re left with a fairly frustrating and mediocre puzzler.

Your goal in each level is to connect a series of pipe parts branching out from a central source node to each of the outlying pipes on the grid’s exterior. Each of the outside pipes have different point values and you want to try to get as many points as possible. The more points you get, the better your star rating, up to a maximum of three stars.

Laying some pipe.

The pipe pieces come in different shapes and sizes and with different connections types (certain connectors will only attach with specific types), and you get more points for connecting the pipes in certain ways. You can rotate the pipe parts before you place them on the grid and a green box tells you valid places to put them, but once you place them, thats it. You don’t get a second chance, as there isn’t an undo button. Placing a part in an invalid square creates a ‘stopper’ which creates problems for putting down more parts and takes away points from your total.

And that’s basically all there is to it. Knizia’s Pipes simply isn’t that much fun. It’s a neat idea (we have very fond memories of games like Pipe Dreams), but this isn’t that game. There isn’t enough variation in what you have to do, there’s an obnoxious level of guesswork involved as you never know what the next piece is going to be, and the levels are all presented in a drab, virtually colorless, uninteresting steampunk design. Add in a droning soundtrack and you have a game that could easily put you to sleep if you’re having an off day.

We really can’t find any compelling reason to recommend this game. There are already games for iOS doing this concept and doing it in better, more interesting ways. Enigmo2 easily comes to mind. Reiner Knizia’s City of Secrets Pipes is a boring, uninteresting slog. For the most ardent Knizia fans only.

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