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Design unique and beautiful cities in this partnership-driven, 20-minute, competitive tile-drafting game for 1-7 players.
Design unique and beautiful cities in this partnership-driven, 20-minute, competitive tile-drafting game for 1-7 players.
5,287 backers pledged $221,265 to help bring this project to life.

Seating Randomization and You

Posted by Jamey Stegmaier (Creator)

Hi! We're about to enter the third day of the project, and we're already at 2,602 backers and $107,651 in funding. Thank you so much for your support, and for sharing about yourselves on our "getting to know you" backer poll. I have a few updates, stories, and photos to share with you today.

Tile Variation Stretch Goals

At this point we've reached two of the tile variation stretch goals, and we're rapidly moving towards a third. These are subtle changes to each of the tiles to make the cities you build come alive on the table.

Our artist, Beth Sobel, sent me a few examples of what these tile variations will look like. The building itself stays the same, as we don't want to confuse players, but it's the greenery and presence of people that will change on each tile:

With 17 days left in the project, we need to do a little better than to double the current funding amount to reach all stretch goals. I'm absolutely confident that we can do that. The stretch goal structure is based on precise calculations (time and money), so I appreciate your support in sharing the project to help us reach those goals.

Obviously in the end, we want the added elements of the stretch goals to come together to form a cohesive whole. So if we're near the end of the project and a few of the goals are so far off that we don't think we can reach them, we can look at other options to include them (i.e., investors or my personal funds). But right now we just ended day 3, so let's not get ahead of ourselves. :)

Seating Randomization

In the current version of the rules, you'll see that we suggest to people who play Between Two Cities more than once in a row that they shift seating positions so they have different partners after the first game. We suggest an easy way to do that--reorder seating positions based on age, a quantitative number.

During the development of the game, we realized that there was the potential for a lot of different ways to randomly sit around the table--not just for the second game of the day, but for the first one too.

This is where you come in.

I would love to hear your ideas for different quantitative ways to randomize seating order at the beginning of the game. Please post your ideas in the comments.

From these ideas we'll select the top 10 ideas that are the most fun and streamlined (no heavy calculations or debates necessary), and we'll create a small deck of cards with one seating randomizer on each card.

For example, at the beginning of the game you might draw the card that says "sit clockwise in order of age, oldest to youngest." The oldest person will take a seat, and everyone will sit in relation to that person based on their age. Another random idea that came up (just to help you think outside the box) is hair length.

I look forward to seeing your ideas in the comments!


Our European production partner, Morning Players, is currently working hard to share Between Two Cities and a few of our other games at a big convention in France. They actually have iPads set up where people can pledge to the Kickstarter campaign right after learning the game at their booth.

I thought you might like to see some photos of what's happening over there...and if you're in Cannes, feel free to stop by their booth!

If you'd like to share Between Two Cities at a local meetup or convention, ambassador and backer Ams kindly made a flyer for you. Thanks Ams!

Connecting with Stonemaier

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  • e-newsletter (this is a hodgepodge of all Stonemaier-related stuff--game updates, important news, links to our most-read blog entries)
  • blog (this is solely devoted to crowdfunding lessons--it's how I try to share my mistakes, insights, and lessons learned to help other project creators. You can get e-mail alerts for it if you enter your e-mail in the box on the right side bar of this link)


Thanks, and I look forward to seeing your seating randomizer ideas in the comments!

Bane Williams, Jim K, and 23 more people like this update.


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    1. Ams on

      lso since Ben likes first/seconds how about
      1) first letter of second name?
      2)second letter of first kisses name?
      3) first letter of second grade teachers name?
      4) first letter of second job/second letter of first job
      5) second letter of first school attended (if homeschooled it's "o"

    2. Ams on

      @Jamey/Ben since Ben works for panda games, do you guys have a special "in"?

    3. Ivan Feliciangeli

      @Jamey: I'm glad you liked the idea of the 7 pairs of skylines! :D

    4. Jamey Stegmaier 8-time creator

      Nice! Rodney's awesome.

    5. Rob Crosby

      @Jamey, you made me think of Rodney (Thanks for Watching) Smith just then :D

    6. Jamey Stegmaier 8-time creator

      @Rob: Thanks for watching it! "Randomizing the randomizers" is something we hope to accomplish by shuffling the deck. :) It's possible we'll get to 14 cards--I'm waiting to hear back from Panda about that.

    7. Rob Crosby

      Aahhh, so after watching the AMA video, I understand the ideas I suggested are not what you are actually after. All cool. Since, on a personal level, my ideas were driven by trying to randomise the randomisers and ensure no two games were seated the same, and taking into account the 10 card limit which effectively means none of the token icons could be used, I think we'll just use the Vassel-style component drop (as @Gizensha called it lol). After all we just want to spend 30 seconds working out seating not play a mini game to work out seating for the main game. But all good, there are ideas below which could be used by others, and that's cool. Just a shame you couldn't get to 14 cards. C'est la vie.

    8. Rob Crosby

      #complex, seating options, not setting options

    9. Rob Crosby

      It's a bit rough and ready Jamey.... I actually had to recreate the post as my computer froze just as I was proofing so I had to smash it out fast before getting ready for work.... there's already things which, on reflection, should probably not be on the backs of the town tiles such as QR codes and icons for the tokens as they are identifiable vs some text on all tiles.

      I think the idea of a number, an icon for the 7 tokens on the retail edition, and a QR code for that city on the player aids is fine. The additional 7 cities and tokens, not sure how to handle them for the Standard edition if all token icons and QR codes are taken off the tiles. That said, 14 of the 24 duplex tiles could assist there if all that info (icon, QR code) is only on these tiles along with the other 10 tiles used for other, more complex, setting options. This solves the issue of the icons and options for the Standard Edition plus retail edition. Trying to guess which tile is under that QR code you can see in another person's pile will be difficult at best.

      I do like the idea though of tidbits of information and trivia about cities being included on the backs of tiles. I can image the conversations as people are looking at their hands of tiles.... and kids learning about other places.

      Anyway, as I said, it gives you some more ideas and options. :)

    10. Jamey Stegmaier 8-time creator

      @Rob: I really appreciate your creativity! This is quite impressive. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around it, but it's a cool idea!

    11. Rob Crosby

      @ Joyce, @ Jamey - yep, that was why I asked earlier what was on the back of the player aids :) So that a number and an icon for the 7 tokens used int he retail ed could be included. Doesn’t help for those using the standard ed however.

      @Ams that’s a great idea. The issue is that you’d need some way of determining these quickly. So first way (assuming someone has a smartphone or laptop handy) is you look up wikipedia, city by city and progressively sit down - issue there is might take a minute per city, then you need to put yourselves in seating order, which you can’t do until every city has been checked.

      An easier way, as someone mentioned earlier (sorry I couldn’t find the post whoever you were) might be to have on a tile a QR code for each city (and for that matter each landmark represented by a token) which could quickly link to wikipedia. OR Jamey could create a page on Stonemaier Games website with basic info in each city and landmark so that firstly all the info is in one place, and secondly to indirectly promote his games and company (which is more than fine by me - a little cross promotion never hurts).

      So that led me to thinking, what else could you do along these lines? Well, there’s 108 x Building tiles and 24 x duplex tiles…. hmmmm…. so @Jamey just throwing this out there as another idea…..What you could do is have

      14 x tiles with an icon of each token
      14 x tiles with a QR code for the city (the city name is above / below the code so you can identify which codes to look up)
      7 x tiles numbers 1 through 7

      But Rob, a savvy player could note after a few plays that the QR codes (or whatever) are all parks…. Yep, so you randomly distribute them across all building types.

      But Rob, that still leaves 73 tiles (and the duplex tiles) “empty”! Yes, but what you could then do is:

      On some tiles you could include short random facts about a city or icon, for example :

      Big Ben is actually the name of the bell - the tower itself (built in 1859) is actually called the Elizabeth Tower

      St Louis, Missouri, home to Stonemaier Games is also the home of "Concrete," a frozen custard blend served in a large yellow cup with a spoon and straw. The mixture is so thick that a spoon inserted into the custard does not fall if the cup is inverted (this text is too long but you get the idea)

      On other tiles you could include many of the quick-fire randomisations mentioned in the comments below e.g. “seat yourselves in order of height, tallest player sits first, then in order to their left” (wording again needs work, but just used as a reference).

      I think it would be possible to fill up all 108 tiles with seating randomisers and tidbit facts and info. Or indeed just info on cities and their icons.

      Picking up from the earlier info about how to get info on each city, 14 of the duplex tiles could contain a brief outline of each city’s info (population, area, when founded etc) which could make looking up info quicker, and 10 x more complex seating ideas that folks have suggested.

      So it could be possible to fill all the backs (without overcrowding them).

      That then leaves the back of the 7 player aids….. that could include an etiquette/playing guide (modelled on the ‘Good Chap’s Code’):

      The Good Chap's code:

      - We're here to have spiffing fun with fabulous people.
      - We're all good chaps, so be polite, courteous and behave.
      - We're friendly, honest and err on the side of being good to each other.
      - If we make mistakes we own up, apologize and make good as far as possible.
      - We treat others as we'd want to be treated.

      Do we then need 10 more cards, maybe not. Or maybe they could have more info on cities or the more “personal” seating ideas raised by folks. I am personally not worried about what we end up with as I am sure it will be great.

      I was just toying with ideas as I had too much time on my hands before going to work :)

    12. Costin Becheanu on

      How about seating in the order of entry in the establishment/house/store/building where the game is being played?

      Or, you could shuffle 1 of each of the tiles together (or as many as players in the game) and name 1 tile type before drawing.
      Players take turn drawing, the one who draws the called-out tile sits first. Take that tile out, shuffle them again and name another.
      Keep going until everyone is seated.

    13. Jamey Stegmaier 8-time creator

      @Joyce: That's very clever, especially the part about using the reference cards at the back. We did something like that with Euphoria, and it worked pretty well. It could allow us to include more seating randomizer cards in the game.

    14. Missing avatar

      Joyce on

      For pure numeric ordering, I like having a number on or on the back of each of the reference cards. No additional deck necessary!

      Otherwise, I like the idea of a mini-game. Like -- write down all words you can think of beginning with B. You have 30 seconds. Or all songs with the word "love" in the lyrics. And then sit in the order of number of words/songs/things people come up with.

    15. Jamey Stegmaier 8-time creator

      @Andrew: Do you think it might work for cities around the world so it appeals to backers worldwide?

    16. Andrew Drummond on

      Perhaps a little convoluted... but maybe a set of 7 cards with US cities on them? Then sit in the order of how far away you are from those cities?

    17. Jamey Stegmaier 8-time creator

      @Ivan: That's a neat idea. That would fit into the true "randomizer" category, which is neat. Thanks!

    18. Ivan Feliciangeli

      I'd like to share an idea for Randomized seating deck.
      You draw 7 pairs of different cities skylines and than split them into 2 mini-decks.
      distribute the first 7 cards face up around the table and leave the second shuffled face down on the table.
      Each player picks up a card and seats on matching card's seat.
      As an addictional idea the pairs can even be complementary one another (i.e. Tokaido landscapes cards).

    19. D. Eric Ortega on

      Referee: I like that for a good sized group. It's a little like handicapping. I usually only play with my wife and daughter so we will rarely need these but come the holidays or the times I can make it to the local game group they will be fun and for multiple plays I'll suggest your method.

    20. Matthew O'Malley on

      @Ams - that's a great idea, and would add some city flavor as well! It would also solve @Rob's concerns.

    21. Jamey Stegmaier 8-time creator

      @Referee: Ah, I see. Sure, that could be one of the methods (though it wouldn't work for the first game of the day).

    22. Missing avatar


      @ Jamey: The method is to sit them in a way that reflects the standings of the last game and tries to balance the pairings.

      Assume a full 7-player game, Players have just played a game and they placed 1st to 7th. Now, 1 is seated next to 6 and 7. Now the last place, 7, gets 2 as his other partner, while 6 gets 3. Finally, the last in the remaining players, 5, gets to sit next to 2. Final seatings are then like this: 4 3 6 1 7 2 5.

    23. Missing avatar

      Richard Cole

      any other tie can be resolved by who owns the most other business games!

    24. Missing avatar

      Richard Cole

      how about seating them according to who owns the most Monopoly games? ties can be resolved by who owns the most 18xx games! ha

    25. Jamey Stegmaier 8-time creator

      Rob: Condition X would be determined by shuffling the seating randomizer deck and choosing a card. That card would determine the seating order.

      I hear what you're saying about making sure the cards work for families and friends as well as strangers--we'll definitely take that into account when picking our favorite ideas. As mentioned below, each card will have a number on it, so if people just want a purely random setup, they can deal one card to each player and sit in numerical order.

    26. Rob Crosby

      Problem I see with many of the suggestions is they don't allow for

      1. much variation between games - if you play 2 or 3 games back to back, you may not be moving much, but more importantly,

      2. any real allowance for people that play with children or other folks regularly.

      If you're a child, your holidays or visits to places are always going to be same as siblings and parents, you'll always be in same order alphabetically, same height (at least in short term) etc.

      Very few allow for real randomisation, game after game as between the same groups of players.

      I have worked out a way to use 7 cards to represent all seating options for both Retail and Standard editions and am happy to run through it if you are interested Jamey, so feel free to email me and I can elaborate in detail. I haven't been able finesse it though to increase to 10 cards, but I am working on it.

      Otherwise, any randomisation events or conditions need to be such that a family (or gaming group) playing will not always end up in same arrangement each time condition X is selected.

      One other thing, how do you select Condition X? How do you pick which random event/condition/criterion will be used this game versus the previous or next game? Something else to add to the mix...

    27. Missing avatar

      MK on

      Do you know the game called Uluru? It is a in which you have to place birds and satisfy as many requirements as possible (white bird opposite to black, red and green adjacent, ...). What best way of determining seating arrangement that by playing another game? ;)

      A more practical/faster way is to have 7 cards, each of which depicting the buildings in game (or 14 in the deluxe version). Each player picks their preferred building, shuffle the cads and deal them on the table....and done!

    28. Dagda

      Some suggestions from my side:
      -according number of owned games
      -number of letters in first name
      -number of keys on the key ring

    29. Dan

      I haven't scanned the comments, so hopefully these haven't been suggested:

      Tallest to shortest person.

      Longest hair to shortest hair.

      Date of birth in the calendar year, ie January 1 goes before January 15th, etc. (much better than age, because that's awkward for some people)

      Person who traveled the most recently first, 2nd most recently, etc (could require it to be traveled to a foreign country, or out of state, etc. This one fits the game theme well).

      Similar to above: distance traveled in the last year.

      Most countries/cities/states visited. Choose your pick depending on the group.

      That's enough for now.

    30. Missing avatar

      Gary Rabinovich on

      I think that drawing cards and sitting in order from highest to lowest.

    31. Jamey Stegmaier 8-time creator

      Some more ideas from the general comments:

      - Pick a number between 1 to 100 and sit in chronological order
      - Pick a letter from A through Z and sit in alphabetical order
      - Favorite dessert or any food and sit in alphabetical order
      - Favorite game and sit in alphabetical order
      In case of picking the same thing, rock, paper, and scissor it out.

    32. Jamey Stegmaier 8-time creator

      @Jeffrey: That's a good point. It'll be important to find categories that create a very slim chance of overlapping.

    33. Jeffery Charles

      I have to ask, Do most of the people making suggestions not play with family members or their children? Most of these suggestions assume that people aren't likely to have the same answers when in reality many people will overlap most of these suggestions.

    34. Jamey Stegmaier 8-time creator

      @Jimmy: Sure, split cards are definitely a possibility if there are more than 10 ideas that we think would be fun, simple, and quick. I like that idea.

      @Referee: I'm not quite sure I understand...I've read your comment a few times, but I don't get it. Could you explain? :)

    35. Missing avatar

      Jimmy Lin on

      Jamey, a suggestion. I seen some fantastic idea contributions below. Some are great but may be sensitive to some people. Also, seems like you are limited to 10 cards.

      How about this - doing split cards (something which magic the gathering does). You can split the cards into two. First half (less adventurous type) - height, name, foot size etc. Second half (more fun/sensitive type) - age, amount of hair, how many ex boyfriend/girlfriend, movie star you resemble the most in alphabetical order etc. Then the picker gets to choose which half he/she would like to randomize. Adds a bit more fun (and warm up) before the game begins.

    36. Missing avatar


      How about (I know this is not about the randomizer cards, just another method of deciding seats) doing it for balance? The main strike against this method is that you need to break all the ties, not only those for first, but then you can have it so that the winner is now paired with the two last places, the last place pairs with first and second, while the second-to-last places with first and third, and so on.

    37. Jamey Stegmaier 8-time creator

      Here's another list of ideas from the general comments that I wanted to consolidate here:

      Seat randomizer ideas - alphabetic sequence of players pets names; longest/shortest pinky finger, number of tattoos, alphabetic order of month of birthday, longest shoelaces, longest spelling of home street name, order of house number

    38. Jamey Stegmaier 8-time creator

      I just got back from the gaming afternoon, and again, these additional ideas are great! I look forward to talking with the designers about their favorites.

    39. Ams on

      In sure some of these suggestions exist but:
      First letter of middle name
      Most to least experienced traveler
      Alphabetical order of most recent city visited
      I did look over some tiles- I like the drawing of city meeples and looking at the card with info on it and sitting in order of:
      Oldest city
      Tallest building
      Alphabetical by monument
      Alphabetical by city
      Alphabetical by country
      Alphabetical by province/state
      City with most festivals, tourism
      Most expensive to least expensive to live in
      Homeless population
      Most featured in movies

      Tallest meeple
      City closest to home/where game is played

    40. Rob Crosby

      That all said, it might be able to add an icon of each token on the cards (one on each card) say in top corner (or as the background image to a card under the text), along with the other suggestions you come up with, and maybe a 1-10 number in opposite corner i.e. multipurpose the cards.

      That way people who want a quick numerical order - it's on the cards. People who would use the token match card location system my group will use - it's on the cards. People who want other randomisers (height, # pets and all the other suggestions below), well they are on the cards as well.

    41. Rob Crosby

      Currently our group used a Start Player Dice set which randomises aspects (many mentioned below) height, # keys, birthday, street number, postal/zip code, height, # buttons, phone #, # pets,#games, # siblings, etc etc and this works fine for determining one player quickly. Determining an order of players for 7 players though would be a mess for us.

      A simple, grab your token and then cards are dealt face down to each seating position then flipped up and you sit where your card matches token would be much simpler, quicker and easier for us (and it's also how we randomise seating in 7 Wonders).

      I acknowledge won't work for everyone, but it does for us. This however mean 14 cards not 10 and I'd have to think about how that could work (unless you only have 7 cards and just use the 7 tokens in Retail box (and exclude the additional 7 in the Special Ed).

    42. Stephen on

      @Rob So... Seating order determined by a Tom Vasel style component drop, then? I love it. Hope that one makes the cut.

    43. Rob Crosby

      Ha you know it's funny that I wake up to this update as last night lying in bed I was thinking about the game (yea I know it's weird) and thinking about how to randomise seating within one of the groups I play with and my thought was, everyone grabs a token. The paired tokens are grabbed up and dropped and as they fall and come to rest a pattern forms which will show where the holder of each token sits relative to other tokens. Then I drifted off to sleep happy and secure in the knowledge I had solved a major problem (then wake and find WHAT there's other ways!) :D

    44. Missing avatar

      Nancy Olson on

      Although many of these suggestions are fun, I know that in my gaming groups, for most of the suggestions, it would take longer to figure out the seating order than to play the game.

    45. D. Eric Ortega on

      Mathew- I think your right. It would also mean that ascending or descending order would just change if a person was on your left or right it wouldn't change the actual order just direction.

    46. Missing avatar

      JJ Lee

      Love the randomizer ideas -- if I come up with anything new I'll contribute, but all the ideas off the top of my head have been suggested already. Lots of creative people here!

      About the tile illustrations, I do like the extra elements but I wonder if there could be a little bit more variation. A lot of these details are pretty difficult to see and remind me more of Easter eggs than varied art. Just some simple suggestions that would still leave the tiles instantly recognizable:

      - Mirror image across y-axis (i.e., the awning would be to the left instead of the right)
      - Instead of the tree, a fountain, or patio, or garden, or hot tub, or just lawn
      - Different numbers of windows (e.g., one with no first floor windows)
      - Some with no yellow awning on the side
      - Different number of doors (e.g., some with just the center doors)

    47. Adam J Marquis on

      Was going to say that the cards should also be numbered for random draw, but I see that's been said.

      A seating method idea though: Shuffle cards with numbers representing the available seats, and have each player draw in turn. If you are placed next to a neighbor from the last game you played you may pass and draw once more.

    48. Rainer Åhlfors

      Seating randomization:

      - Number of cities visited in the last month
      - Clothing color (on the ROYGBIV scale)
      - Alphabetical order according to latest movie watched
      - Alphabetical order according to current street lived on

    49. Missing avatar

      Tom Gurganus on

      seat by address in ascending order

    50. 1soni

      Seat them in the order they arrive