The Boardroomers' thoughts on City Hall
City Hall sees players competing to become Mayor of New York City. They do this by attempting to be the most successful at both bringing people into the city as well as campaigning for the citizens' approval. Whoever best balances these two goals will win the election.
There are seven offices within City Hall. These offices deal with a different aspect of building the city or campaigning, such as the Tax Assessor, Surveyor, or Zoning Board. In a round, each player will get to activate one of these offices. Unlike other role selection games, just because you activate an office doesn't mean you will get to use it. The other players will have an opportunity to use their influence to steal control of the office away from you. Keeping it will require countering with your own influence. However, you can instead let another player control that office this round and add their influence to your own, giving you a leg up on controlling things later on.
In using these offices, players will buy land and build properties to create attractive neighborhoods which will bring the most people into the city – or they might place a factory next to an opponent's housing complex to drive people out. They will also tax their constituents to raise funds (with the option of sacrificing popularity to tax at higher rates), buy and sell influence to the Lobbyist, and campaign to increase their approval level.
At the end of the game, the citizens of the city will vote based on which player brought them in and that player's approval level. Special interest groups will also collect votes for players based on certain goals, such as Wall Street backing the player with the most money. Whichever player has the most votes on election day will become Mayor of New York and appoint his or her opponents to the Sanitation Department.
If you want to know exactly how to play City Hall, you can watch the video above or download the draft rulebook here.
Finally, a session of the game was broadcast live through Cartrunk.net on November 11th. You can watch a replay of our game. (Skip to 4 minutes in to see the actual start of the game.)
"City Hall is an excellent role selection game that cleverly incorporates bidding and tile placement to simulate its rich theme. What I love the most about City Hall is that I feel like I'm actually building Manhattan and deciding what kind of city it will be. There is a genuine feeling of political ruthlessness as you deny your opponents the actions they need or trick them into outbidding you for a role you never intended to take. City Hall is one of those games that you want to play again as soon as it's over, just to see how things will change the next time you play!"
-Andrew Parks, designer of Core Worlds
"City Hall is a juicy role-selection game with many strategies and only so much time to accomplish them all. It's goooood."
-Gil Hova, designer of Prolix
"City Hall has everything you want in a meaty euro-game: it looks great, it’s got several good twists on familiar mechanics, and I’ve always felt like I was engaged in a political race with the other players. Do yourself a favor and jump on this one… this is a game that definitely deserves to be made!"
-Dan Cassar, designer of Cavemen: The Quest for Fire
Read his full post
"I've had a few chances to play City Hall and each time has been engaging, engrossing and enjoyable. City Hall is one of the most unique and complex role selection games that I've ever played and both of those are a good thing. The resolution of the bidding mechanic leads to great interaction, cunning game play, and dramatic surprises each game. The theme and game play are tightly connected, infusing it with the promised flavor."
"Tense, with multiple currencies to manage, and many paths to victory. I need this game!"
-Linda Baldwin (Carmilla on BGG)
"City Hall requires players to balance an assortment of key components of local politics, including finance, popularity, influence, and geographic development. Together, these elements immerse players in a fast paced, engaging simulation of the development of a city and the election of a new mayor. City Hall's blend of auctioning and role-taking effectively captures the adversarial, highly interactive nature of a politics. The role-taking elements of City Hall are comparable to those of Puerto Rico in style and complexity, but unlike Puerto Rico, players must bid influence to activate a role. Space for developing the city is limited, and buildings affect other nearby buildings. Thus players are constantly responding to or preempting the plans of other players while also trying to advance their own interests."
"City Hall, by Michael Keller, is a strategy game of city building that has many unique features. The game models population growth,political influence, zoning and relative property values using a unique star value system all wrapped up in a role selection game with a unique twist. In this game, players have the ability to bid their influence to take away the chosen office of another player at a crucial moment in the game. This is just one of the many unique elements of City Hall that make it both highly strategic and interactive. The game achieves this level of complexity using streamlined systems that are easy to learn and play, while maintaining a rich variety of choices. City Hall is well worth exploring!"
-Geof Gambil, The Long View podcast
The value of your neighborhoods is represented by their star value. The base game will come with standard punchboard stars. However, you have the opportunity to upgrade to handpainted wooden stars.
Instead of being painted yellow all over, these stars are painted with yellow faces and black sides. The black sides make the piece jump out on the board and feel better to play with than standard punchboard. This upgrade contains 40 stars.
In the video and below you can see a sample of the art. However, this is still in draft stage. While the art will be completed before the end of the drive, this will give you a good idea of the final product's art style.
Risks and challenges
Once the project is funded, the next steps will be to sign a contract with the printer whose quote I have chosen. After that, the game's files will have to be delivered to the printer in the correct manner. As I have hired a professional board game artist who has several existing published games, I believe that there will be no difficulty in getting the printer exactly what they need.
Once the game is printed and shipped, the next challenge will be to deliver it to backers. I will be using a professional fulfillment service, so this should go smoothly as well.
While there is a small risk of a change in costs due to currency fluctuations, the approximate breakdown is as follows:
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$16,000 to print the game
$1,500 to ship the full run to the United States
$5,000 to ship individual games to backers
$2,500 in fees