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A Game of Strange Bedfellows – The City

Picture Credits here , here , and here .

The City is a board game concept which combines a couple known gameplay elements, and a couple new ones.  The game narrative is that 12 wildly varying characters are trying to build a city together.  The players' goal is to get all 16 characters moved into the new city.  They all have their own requirements before moving in – housing, water, electricity, and other things (a big backyard, a house near the woods, etc.). You'll have to build the city from the ground up.

Building the city in this game is quite literal, and players will be using real piping to pull real water from the lake, and real wire to pull real power from solar panels to light up the houses.  By the end of the game, the game board (composed of many connecting housing plots) should look like a realistic little town with houses and power lines.

Success isn't easy – everyone loses if any of the 16 characters doesn't make it in the City before the end of the game. If they all do enter the city, then the winner is the one who is has the most votes to become “Community Member in Chief”.

Electricity and water, combined... Muahahahah!

This game will use actual electrical circuits, powered by small solar cells (<1 watt), to light up houses (LEDs). While the setup will be foolproof (it'll be really hard to blow an LED, for example), it will hopefully engage players to understand how basic electrical systems work.

It will also use basic piping systems. A water tower (syringe) will pull water from a lake (reservoir of water) through clear tubing. As the water is pulled through the tubing, any houses it passes by then access water. There's no direct physical connection to the houses themselves (that would be a real pain), but once you pull water close enough to the house the “connection” is made.

Coopertition (or Comperation... not sure)

The victory condition is a combined win/lose/cooperative setup. Everyone loses if not all characters are brought into the City before the game ends. Therefore, cooperation can become critical to NOT lose. However, once all characters are in the city, the winner is the person who is voted as “Community Member In Chief”. Voting is largely based on who has curred the most favor in the community, along with who has brought in the most characters. “Curried Favor” cards are sort of like the money of The City – when you deliver power, water services, or help others you get some Curried Favor cards (the card itself shows a dish of Indian Food – the joke is they are giving you a curried dish of food which everyone in the community likes because they want to repay you for your good deeds). It can't be spent on anything, but it does get you more votes for Community Member in Chief.

Dominion-like card handling

Each player will work through their own personal deck. Therefore, adding lot of cards to your deck may be useful, or just may dilute the good cards. The key is making a good, balanced deck of materials, special cards, and characters to do the work.

Puerto Rico-like storage and production of materials

Players will be able to buy stuff (electrical lines, tubing, materials, etc.) and store it in warehouses. They'll also be able to make factories which increase their production efficiency per turn (ie do more with the same number of people).

Settlers-like game board

Probably not a hexagon, but the board will be built up over the course of the game with houses, lines, tubing and all that stuff. By the end of the game, it should really look like a real city!

Further Development

I'm really excited about this game for a variety of reasons, but it's definitely a tricky one to design.  We need to design an electrical system which is relatively fool proof (so you're not blowing out LEDs all the time), a water delivery system which is interesting but also straightforward without being onerous or annoying, housing pieces that connect and of course cool art and characters to make the game fun.  The next post will talk about the progress of these pieces in more detail, in particular the electrical system design.

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