I have played a lot of games lately, after buying some at a used game event.
Carson City It terms of enjoying playing it and wanting to play it again, I think this is the winner. However, I have to say its had some very lop sided scoring. This is a worker placement game, somewhat reminiscent of Caylus (the first worker placement game, holds up very well, try it). You place your worker on a track, and after everyone places their workers, the actions get resolved in the order it appears on the track. The catch is, multiple players can put their workers on the same space... and then who gets to use the space is solved by a duel! Hence, the Western theme. In addition, there is an 8 by 8 grid, where players will be building their own town. Buildings then make players money, which they can turn into more buildings... or VP. Finally, everyone round players can choose a new "helper" from one of seven (or eight with an expansion) roles. These helpers include the Sheriff who gives you an extra worker who can never be dueled, the grocer who doubles the income of a building type for you, and the Settler who instantly gives you a plot of land. Interestingly, every helper you chose has a money limit. At the end of the round, if you are over that money limit you are forced to discard down below it. The final piece of the puzzle are spots on the gameboard where a player can buy VP. Time the game right, a player can score a lot of points, leading to the lop sided scoring. Plus, sometimes luck definitely plays a factor. Winning those duels early can really set a player up for the rest of the round. So, fun to play, maybe some bad mechanics behind the scenes.
Ulm I thought this was a faction in Dominions? Now, it is a city in Germany? So, this game has an innovative mechanic. One draws tiles out of a bag, and uses it that tile to push a grid of other tiles, pushing one tile "out of the grid." Hard to describe in words. Then, players take 3 actions corresponding to the tiles they just pushed still in the grid. The most basic action is to just get a coin. A more advanced action is to place a seal in a city section which gives the player an immediate benefit, such as moving their barge (which is basically points) or drawing a city crest to score some VPs now and throughout the game. While it is unique, well balanced, and the mechanic is generally sound if a bit random because of the blind tile draw, it suffers from players not being able to plan their turns until their turn starts. Interesting, unique, good components and price tag, but ultimately kind of meh.
City of Spies - I described this one up above, and I've only enjoyed it more as I played it more. Very tactile game, about placing your spies in the right place at the right time to win the right spies. So, every round you place spies to win spies, but after each round you can only keep 6. Every game has four randomly chosen unique objectives, which are having spies with certain attributes, such as the Diplomacy ability or being from a specific country. Hence, the game is about going for the spies with nice abilities, or who could help you score end game victory points. With 4 objectives and only a hand of 6, you can't win them all, so its a matter of figuring out which spies to go for. Big winner for me.
City of Iron - This is like City of Spies in that the title starts with "City of..." Other than that, there is very little in common. This is a Ryan Lauket game, who is the guy who both designs, provides artwork for, does the graphics, and ultimately publishes his games all by himself. Here, you buy buildings to give yourself goods for VP or some other special ability. Yet, your starting city/land can only hold so many buildings. Eventually, you need to buy expert cards, which give you a post of other option, such as expanding your starting city or acquiring new land/cities so you have more buildings slots, or attack independent towns. Independent towns don't let you build more buildings, but just outright give resources and income... but other players can attack your conquered towns and take the income/resources. In addition, the game has a "science" resource, important for hiring more experts and buying more advanced buildings. This can be scarce. So, playing this game is about soon hitting a wall, and figuring out how to expand in advance of it. One last think to note. Those expert cards go into their deck (or rather decks, but lets keep it simple). When there are no more cards to draw, instead of shuffling the discard, the player just flips them over. Hence, cards played sooner come back sooner.
Do I like it? Yeah, I think so. The catch? Players are going to get a lot of information in the onset, meaning first plays can be very slow.