At one point in the past year I grew a little tired of working on digital things. There tends to be a significant amount of time spent on implementing changes on a digital game, so I decided to make an analog game. Originally it was called “City Building Card Game”, and it was inspired by a now-discontinued 2-player card version of SETTLERS OF CATAN and CARCASSONNE. These two games interest me because actual physical spaces are depicted on their cards – in placing them, the players actually build up the terrain, and awesomely so in CARCASSONNE.

The intended experience is for the players to feel that they are building the city together, while also competing to be the most influential player. I have been through many, many iterations, and this intended experience is at the center of each design decision. I have used this approach before in creating games, but not so explicitly stated as I have it here. It’s an interesting exercise, particularly in an analog game, where the game is stripped of everything except its “functional” part – the mechanics.

This game is still under development, although there are some elements on which I have settled. There are 3 types of “influences” – Religion, Commerce and Science – which the players use to build buildings. Players must place populations in the city, which enable the building of religious, commercial and scientific buildings. Players get points for building these.

The first iteration went through a “draw one, play one” type of playing mechanic, with each building also having some immediate effect such as taking a card from another player. I have also explored the idea of players having a stock of followers who are sent out to perform tasks; this limits players’ possible moves while still giving them some flexibility regarding how to spend their moves. Currently I’m testing a system where the players develop their stock of available moves and employ the populations to build buildings.