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Brainstorm Session: City-building Game

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Jean Of mArc
Jean Of mArc's picture
Joined: 04/21/2010

Hey All!

So, being inspired by all the game ideas floating around on these forums, I thought it might be fun to brainstorm a bit with you guys and gals out there. I really like city-building games, such as SimCity, and thought it might be kind of cool to build up a game that is sort of like that. The more I thought about, the more different "ideas" came to me. However, I'm having a hard time isolating it into a cohesive game, and thinking of exactly how it would work. Here are some of the things mulling around in my mind:

- You start off the whole game with only one neighbourhood, which grants you 1 AP per turn.
- There are many different options as to what you can spend your AP on. A number of options involve "saving up". So for example, if you want to build something in particular that costs 5 AP, you will have to put your 1 AP on it every turn until there are 5 AP on it.
- Whenever you add a new neighbourhood to your city, you now get one more AP per turn, which of course increases the speed at which you will be able to do other things.
- I can't really decide if I would like tiles or cards....
- It would be good if there were some dependencies between buildings. For example, you can't build an internet service provider until you have a powerplant.
- There must be balance between the things you build. For example, you can't just build neighbourhoods, because people need jobs at other buildings.
- It would be kind of neat if the layout of your city is important somehow. I was thinking, for example, there could be a mayor token who can move from one tile/card to an adjacent one, and when he does that particular building gets a bonus that turn.
- Within the way the game plays, I want to make sure that players don't always just play the game the same way every time. There should be some chance involved, or that the actions of other players can affect what you are able to do.
- Maybe there could be natural disasters every once in a while (rolling doubles on 2 dice or something) which means that you lose a building or neighbourhood. But you can get certain buildings to help prevent this event's effects, such as a weather forecasting building.
- I'm not a fan of each player playing their own game, ignoring the turns of others, so there should be some form of interaction between them... not really sure what that would involve in this game yet though.

So, does this bring up any ideas for anyone?? :)

Pastor_Mora's picture
Joined: 01/05/2010
Sim City

SimCity is more like a toy, than a game. You just play with it, and play, and play. If you are open to new ideas, I say try making it a solo game. As it already has like a million elements on it, I wouldn't advice adding anything. Just dump the APs and stay with tax income. Plus, SimCity fans are used to things appearing as fast as they order them built.

Keep thinking!

sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
I dunno, I think the idea of

I dunno, I think the idea of action income based somehow on your city infrastructure could be good. I also wouldn't recommend just trying to make a board game version of SimCity - but then I don't much like 1-player board games!

Here are some thoughts off the top of my head which may (or may not) spark some ideas for you:

You'll obviously have different types of things to put into your city. Maybe 1 type of thing gives you more 'action points' to spend, while another type gives you more 'money' to spend...

Like Residential areas mean people move in, and you collect more taxes, so that's the $ income type of thing. Industrial areas are the kinds of things that do construction and help you build stuff, so maybe that's what helps you build more, faster. Commercial areas might be necessary for your residents to work (they could also work in the industrial areas).

Maybe you could have these things on tiles, and a Residential tile might have a symbol on it indicating whether those residents will support an Industrial area or a Commercial area, and whether they require a commercial area or whatever.

Maybe you add up all the 'required' symbols and all the 'provided' symbols and if you are in the negative then that makes your populace unhappy. Too unhappy and they might move out! That would be bad because then you would lose revenue AND lose 'provided' symbols!

Since this is probably supposed to be a multiplayer experience, you need to have some kind of interaction. One way to do this is to have each player building in the same city - I'm not sure how that would work. Another way is to have each player building their own city, but have some interaction in how the tiles are available, maybe by auction, or by draft. Also, there could be Event cards that affect everyone equally - A Crime Wave hits, players get hurt (if you have built a Police Station, then it's not as bad for you). An Earthquake hits, everyone gets hurt by it. Etc.

It sounds like a cool idea to me! I don't know what direction you'd take it in, but if you end up with a rule set you should post it here and see what people have to say! I wouldn't mind seeing it.

- Seth

Joined: 01/01/2010
I like the concept

I'm kinda new here, but I really like the idea you have going there. My initial thoughts on what you so far is that starting with only 1 AP might be too low. Assuming that each neighborhood built adds an additional 1 AP per turn, then it seems that the obvious move for all players would be to construct a neighborhood or two. This would double / triple the AP they have per turn relative to the starting amount. I personally dislike when a game seems to have an "obvious" opening move or two. If the other choices to build offered comparable benefits then I suppose this wouldn't be so bad.

My other ideas.... I'm picturing a large board in the center. Maybe something like small world, where the board size (available "emptyl" real estate squares) varies with the number of players. Toss in some rules on industrial areas not being able to be placed adjacent to residential. Competition for ideal locations would be very fierce, as well as allowing for the strategic placement of certain buildings. I build a smoke belching factory in the middle of your happy go lucky neighborhood. Maybe the "VP" value during the final tally of your neighborhood is now reduced by some amount. This would make player interaction a definitive part of the game.

Variance could be easily be added in the form of a deck of "chance" cards. Perhaps there would be a condition, or maybe simply the end of each round triggers a card to be drawn. Cards could be trigger crime waves, earthquakes, fires and other disasters as mentioned... as well as "political" events. The EPA raises the bar on pollution standards. Each player must pay 10 for each industrial zone. Mixing in some positive events would make things interesting as well. Non-socialist president is inaugurated, commerce explodes as taxes are reduced. Gain x per commercial tile constructed.

Another interesting idea that came to me is to limit the supply of certain types of tiles. Maybe there is only a 2 clean energy power plants in a 4 player game. The other power plants might run be coal/ high pollution. Or maybe nuclear. This would force players to run somewhat different strategies.

I like this idea and think it has much potential. Goodluck to you. Usually when I have a "rough sketch" of an idea for a game in my head it lingers there for sometime until I have some sort of epiphany on the game's direction and core mechanics.

Joined: 12/15/2009
Suggested Ruleset

I think the idea of each player building stuff in the same city is cool.

It seems like it might be interesting to explore what happens when you can (or have to) buy your "requires" resources from game tiles in order to produce your tiles' "provides" resources. Here's a prototype ruleset:
* The game comes with a large number of 2-sided "supply/depleted" chits.
* Tiles feature "provides" icons, each icon with its own "requires" icons.
* At the start of your turn, remove all chits from your tiles. "The External Market" buys your unused "Supply" chits giving you income.
* On your turn you may add "supply" chits to any and all of your empty "provides" icons by acquiring the required resources. You can get them from your own tiles or buy them from other players. (To acquire a resource, flip its "supply" chit to "depleted". This bit of book-keeping stops you from getting infinite loops out of your own tiles: you can't re-supply a depleted tile.) Possibly you can also buy them from "The External Market" at a heavy premium, but I suspect this would warp gameplay.
* On your turn you can spend money to place new tiles or replace your existing ones
* The winner is determined by a race to a certain money total, or VP total (with tiles being worth different numbers of VPs)

The absolute simplest (and unrealistic) way of selling resources to other players would be to have fixed prices on the tiles or fixed prices per resource. "The External Market" buys goods at a secondary (significantly lower) price.

"Residential" tiles would provide meeple icons, which aren't worth that much but don't have any requirements and are necessary for pretty much everything else.

Edited: added some mock example tiles at

Louard's picture
Joined: 02/09/2010
Tiles for the win.

I think this game would be great with tiles.. You can never totally discount the impact of the tactile feel of a game.

More importantly, I like the proposed idea of a starting board as each square/space could contain bonuses to certain tiles. For instance, a rocky part of the map could hinder the yield from farmland tiles. Or a hydro-electric plant could require a tile have a water drop icon on it showing that there's a water flow there. This would entice players to fight over prime spots on the map even before things start to get crowded.

I like the idea that everyone is building in the same city too, especially if I'm not only able to lower your score by placing something like a dump next to one of your housing projects but if I'm also able to reap points off your housing project by building a park next to it. So players could not only hurt each other but benefit off each other too.

And you could consider adding a fun element of "that's the one I wanted!" by having a number of exposed tiles that players can draw from each turn. Something like the 5 face up cards in Ticket To Ride.

Joined: 01/26/2009
SIM CITY Card Game

Before you go too far, you should pick up a copy of the rules to the Sim-City CCG.

It sounds remarkably similar to some of the ideas you guys are coming up with.

Jean Of mArc
Jean Of mArc's picture
Joined: 04/21/2010

Wow, thanks for all the replies!! Sorry I haven't been getting back to them; I was away on vacation. While I was away, I thought of some ideas that I'll write up about, but first I wanted to reply to the ideas given:

Pastor_Mora: I'm not really trying to replicate SimCity, I more-so just meant that it was my inspiration behind the idea for the game.

sedjtroll: Thanks for your ideas!
- I wasn't planning on making this a 1-player game, as I too get bored with those too easily, and am a social person.
- I agree that it might be good to have two counters going on: one for building points (that works better than saying AP I think) and one for money. Money is used to pay off the required amount to build something, while building points determine how long it will take to finish the project.
- I like the idea of having different "types" of areas: residential, commercial, industrial, etc. I'll think over different ways that would affect things gameplay-wise.
- I also like the idea of how building things will increase the requirements to make it "happy".
- I was thinking about having all players build in the same city, but it would be tricky to not make that too complicated... But certainly there has to be multiplayer interaction... Hmmm...
- Yes, of course I was thinking of action cards that affect gameply. :D

Thanks for the encouragement too. :)

Riggeotto: Appreciate your input!

- Yeah, I think you might be right about 1 AP (changed to "Building Points") being too low. Maybe you could start out with 3 building points, which are provided by construction companies (not neighbourhoods), and the cost to build another one is quite high, therefore deterring players from building another one right away.
- The idea of all players building in the same town is definitely something I've thought about, but it could also get rather complicated trying to keep track of everything. Also, I don't want it to become too much like Carcassonne, so I kind of like the idea of each player building their own city, but that the cities are neighbouring and affect each other somehow... But, I'm not going to throw out the idea either. Maybe I could get some feedback as to which would be more fun? Or maybe all players are building in separate "districts" of the same city?
- That being said, the idea of location bonuses, like Scrabble or something, is very interesting, and an idea I'd like to think more about. Which buildings you choose to put in which bonus spaces could dramatically affect the game.
- As mentioned earlier, already have the "chance" deck idea going... but I like your idea of bringing politics into the mix. They should of course be very simple, but could add one more element of strategy to the game.
- I've definitely considered limiting the amount of tiles. Puerto Rico does this, and adds a layer of tension to the game as players try to be the first to build a certain building, or else risk their strategy not working because they don't have what they need. For a while I thought it might be a bad idea, since for example they would ALL need power-plants.. but your idea of having different "types" of power plants would solve that problem! :)

Thanks for your ideas!! Please check out these forums once in a while to see how things are progressing. :)

DogBoy: Thanks for your input! I have to admit that I had to read over what you wrote about 3 times in order to understand it, but I THINK I understand now. Basically you want it to be very easy to calculate whether or not you are balancing your provides and requires, and allowing the surplus to be used to bargain with other cities? For example, if you have more electricity than required, you could provide it to another player in exchange for workers at one of your buildings? I think that's what you're saying. Anyway, it definitely makes me think about the game a bit differently, but I think it could add just that right amount of player interaction, so I'll certainly consider it!! :)

Thanks again!

Louard: Thanks for your feedback on what people have written. While writing this response, I've been thinking about it a bit more, and I was thinking maybe there is one giant city, but players start out by building in a space closest to them, and can only build adjacent to one of their own tiles. That way, there would be random mixes of player tiles everywhere, but rather only towards the center are players fighting for space. Also, the tiles could face the player who plays them, so it is easy to see whose tile is whose. So yeah, thanks for your interest!

stubert: Thanks for pointing that out, but I'm not too worried about the fact that there is already an out-of-print CCG that is similar to what we're thinking. This is supposed to be a "full set" and is more tiles-on-a-board rather than card-based. It should be interesting and different enough. :)

My own brain-storming was a bit different from the rest of these, but I'm sure there is a way to mix everything together (or just drop some ideas for the sake of a better game). In my mind there were different categories to balance, and there was a slider-based score-keeping thingy to keep track of them (subject to change):
- Happiness (Entertainment etc)
- Safety (Police Stations etc)
- Prestige (Interesting Sites)
- Employment (Enough Jobs)
- Education (Schools, Libraries)

So everything that you build increases or decreases your stats, based on what they are. However, this might be too vague and uninteresting strategically... I think the ideas you guys have mentioned might work a lot better (incoming points to spend on things or give to players). One thing I did like about this, though, is that at certain points if your city's safety rating (for example) is low and another player's is high, they might move there instead.

Another thing I was thinking is that every tile is numbered, so that at a certain point there could be an event like "Building ## catches on fire!" and then you roll a 20-sided die (for example) to see what ## means. It could be any player's since they are taking from a pool of buildings. Then there could be something like "If you have a Fire Station, count the number of spaces from the Fire Station to the building on fire. Then roll a 10-sided die. If the number rolled is greater than the spaces away, your building is safe. Otherwise it burns to the ground."

I had a bunch of other ideas, but sadly I lost the piece of paper I wrote them down on, and these are the only ones I can remember right now... wish I had been able to type them up!! :P

Anyway, that's it for now... I'll keep on brain-storming. :)

Joined: 12/15/2009
Yup, that's pretty much what

Yup, that's pretty much what I was suggesting.

I was envisaging a sort of economic game where your tiles allow you to turn cheaper resources into more valuable resources. Labour is produced from nothing by residential tiles. If you produce more labour than you need, and another player needs more labour than they can produce, they buy the labour from you for cash. Otherwise, your labour gets bought "by the game" and you get a small amount of cash for it.

So, Alice produces 3 labour, and uses 1 labour to produce 1 goods. Bob produces 1 labour, buys 1 labour from Alice and uses 2 labour to produce 3 electricity. Alice has 1 labour and 1 goods left which nobody needs; they get bought "by the game" and earn her additional income.

Louard's picture
Joined: 02/09/2010
About separate cities/districts

As you mentioned separate cities or district it made me think of a possible overall goal for the game. Gaining population. It occurred to me when you mentioned how the cities could be neighboring. What if one of the major things players are competing over is population and there's a finite amount of population in the game. Players would then not only try to attract more citizens to the area but try to entice other players' population to move to their city/district.

For what it's worth, I tend to be a fan of more streamlined games so I liked the idea of consolidating the build points and money into a single super resource.

Perhaps, instead of a resource that must be tracked, players could each have a building queue. Like a track that can accommodate, like, 5 tiles or so. Each turn, players move all the tiles 'up' on the track and can place whichever tile pops out of the top that turn. More ambitious building projects would force the player to start the tile lower on the building queue causing it to take more turns before placing on the board. If the queues are public this could greatly affect how other players play as everyone tries to 'head off' other players' strategies.

ReneWiersma's picture
Joined: 08/08/2008
The first game I ever tried

The first game I ever tried making, years ago, was exactly this: a tile-laying game based on SimCity. It never really worked the way I wanted it to work, though.

I think there are two important issues you have to think about:

1) What is the goal of the game? How does a player win? You can't really "win" a game of SimCity, the goal of the computer game is simply to build a great city, but what constitutes a great city is entirely up to yourself. If players all build in the same city, you want to have some method of measuring who contributed the most to the greatness of the city. If players all build their own cities you want to have some way of comparing the cities.

2) How do players interact? This is especially important when each player builds his own city. Perhaps building tiles are auctioned off, or there is some drafting mechanism. Also there could be some other limited resource players are fighting over, such as permissions to build certain prestigious building. Or players could try to attract eachother's population (for inspiration about this, you could look at the game La Citta).

sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
ReneWiersma wrote:The first

ReneWiersma wrote:
The first game I ever tried making, years ago, was exactly this: a tile-laying game based on SimCity. It never really worked the way I wanted it to work, though.

I remember this!

In fact, I remember a post Rene made on BGDF a LOOONG time ago, I believe it was a "Game Journal" (the equivalent of "Blogs" on the current site) which was basically a list of all the games he had in mind in various stages, their descriptions, and maybe how far along they were in development. I was very inspired by that list (which was also full of great sounding games!), and have made similar lists for myself on my Game Design Blog and found it useful.

It's good to see you posting, Rene ;)

I think there are two important issues you have to think about:

1) What is the goal of the game? How does a player win? You can't really "win" a game of SimCity, the goal of the computer game is simply to build a great city, but what constitutes a great city is entirely up to yourself. If players all build in the same city, you want to have some method of measuring who contributed the most to the greatness of the city. If players all build their own cities you want to have some way of comparing the cities.

Great point, you need to figure out how to score the game.

2) How do players interact? This is especially important when each player builds his own city. Perhaps building tiles are auctioned off, or there is some drafting mechanism. Also there could be some other limited resource players are fighting over, such as permissions to build certain prestigious building. Or players could try to attract each other's population (for inspiration about this, you could look at the game La Citta).

I was thinking the same thing while reading your post - that perhaps the goal of the game should be to attract population to grow your city. La Citta does EXACTLY that, so maybe it's been done, but it's a possibility here as well.

I liked the idea that I think the original poster made about sliding tracks to monitor several stats, and each time you add a tile to your city (or your part of the main city), you adjust the tracks accordingly.

Maybe each player controls a barrio, and as the barrios grow they will merge together to form a city, and at the end of the game there will be an election for Mayor of that city - the people in YOUR barrio will vote for you, so in effect you want to have more people than everyone else. In that regard, population could be VP, and the game could be about getting people and keeping them happy so that they don't leave (or support another candidate/player).

sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008

I don't know if this would help or not, but you could use the idea of Zoning... I see 2 ways to implement it off the top of my head:

1) Call a set of 2 (3?) or more contiguous tiles a "zone" and have some benefit for grouping things into Zones. Like a Residential "Zone" of 4 tiles might be better than 4 residential tiles placed haphazardly around the board.

2) Instead of that, maybe a game mechanism could be that you have to Zone certain areas as Residential, Commercial, or Industrial... then later when you acquire a tile you have to have a zoned place to put it or you have to maybe set it aside until you zone properly, or you have to pay extra, or you can't get the tile, or whatever. Maybe you start with a certain number of spaces (1 or 2 of each type) pre-Zoned, so you can acquire tiles righ away, but as soon as you 'fill up' a zone then it either gets harder, more expensive, or impossible to acquire tiles of that type until you Zone some more.

Joined: 05/19/2010
ideas on structure

Just some thoughts that hopefully may help.
One possibility is to use tiles or chits to represent various buildings. One player would pay for the building, but all players could use its benefits, but would have to pay for its use to the owner. For example, Bob builds a hydroelectric dam to generate electricity. Pete could use the electricity, but would pay Bob for it. The dam would provide power for a certain radius, which means if another player (or Bob) wanted to build a supermarket and use the dam for power, he'd have to place it within that radius or acquire power elsewhere. This structure also helps to influence the way a city develops.
Certain tiles have other benefits or drawbacks. For example, the city dump may be necessary to expand beyond 10 residential neighborhoods, however, if a neighborhood is adjacent to the dump, it loses value in some fashion. Again, the player building the dump pays the initial cost and other players would have to pay him somehow for its use.

Jean Of mArc
Jean Of mArc's picture
Joined: 04/21/2010

Wow, there has been quite a response to this game idea... Thanks a lot everyone!!! Sorry it's taken ME so long to answer it.

I will try to respond to each one:

Labour-Resources: This seemed like a really good idea to me, but as I was trying to think of it, I wasn't really sure what the resources would be... I could think of labour, electricity, and goods... but that seems like rather few and would be easily provided by your own city most of the time without relying on others... any more ideas?

Population as a goal: I thought about this for a while, but decided against it for a few reasons. One is that there are already a number of games out there with that goal. But the more important reason is that my original vision was more like those city-ranking sites that say which city is most DESIRABLE. They take into account things like safety, education, employment and such, and really that's more what I'd like to aim for with this game. However, a nicer city WILL attract more people, which within game-play means it will expand faster. Therefore, population is important, but in the end I'd like the BEST city to win (obviously this must be calculable) rather than the one with the most people.

Build Queue: I really really liked this idea while I was thinking of it, but then I thought of a problem with it: When the players build a construction company, I would like the speed that buildings are built to increase. Originally I was thinking that when a building is laid down, it has a build cost and that many tokens are placed on top of it. Each turn, you look at your current build-speed (determined by construction companies) and that many tokens are removed from any building of your choice that still has build tokens on it. When the build tokens are gone, you have completed the building and it takes effect. This would be much harder to do in a build queue. Let's say you put it in slot 5, and it goes up by 1 every turn... what happens when the construction increases? If there were a lot of "blank" squares representing time that must be "popped" off the stack before the building will be completed, then that is a lot of sliding and moving squares around, which would reduce game speed... So if construction were one-building-per-turn, then the queue would be a GREAT idea, because it would be you are FORCED to plan ahead. However, as I liked the idea of it taking time to build stuff and the build speed can be increased, I don't know that it works so well... Any thoughts?

Interaction: I like the ideas shared here, and will have to think about how to use them. Certainly games without player interaction are rather lame. I don't like multi-player turn-based solitaire! I certainly want attracting citizens from other cities to play a part. I liked the idea of limited buildings to choose from, and resource sharing might be nice. Just like the idea of "buying" from other players, as was just suggested.... I'll have to keep thinking about things.

Zones: This is a really cool idea and I think it makes a lot of sense to implement. In cities, different "kinds" of areas areas are usually grouped together, so it would be nice to make sure that the city doesn't just look like it's things placed randomly everywhere. Like was suggested, placing dumps next to neighbourhoods should have a negative effect.

One thing I was just thinking of was if the player should have some sort of overall terrain design that they must work with. Ie, instead of placing everything on blank tiles, the tiles already have plains, lakes, woods etc, just like a real place. This would be generated randomly, but would be more or less even for all players. They could have advantages and disadvantages. For example, you obviously can't build on water, but having some lakes and such does increase the beauty and desirability of your town. Woods tiles cost extra building time because they must be leveled first before anything can be built on them, but having a lot of woods makes a healthier city (extra oxygen!)

This might be over-complicating things... I'm wondering if I should just try out a bunch of different rules and see what works and doesn't, and then add or cut back along the way.

For you other designers, do you prefer to start with something simple and build up, or start with all the aspects you want, and then cut back accordingly? Seems like the first option makes more sense to me...

Thanks again for all your feedback!!

Joined: 05/11/2010
I really like the attracting

I really like the attracting population idea. I do tend to like games where each player has their own gameboard, and there is some limited interaction between players, usually competing for some resource or other. It gives you the feeling of just trying to do your best, but also has the interaction. Perhaps each waiting person will enter the first built home that has some minimal number of crime, pollution, and distance to certain services. If two houses open up at the same time, they will move into a better one. I do worry about how all this will be tracked.

Maybe to keep it simple, it can just be based on a few global properties of the city. Cities can be scored by certain criteria. Number of factories increases pollution, number of houses in each residential zone over a threshold is the crime level, and the number of houses within range of each hospital, school etc (measurable with colored translucent mats you position on each service and then just count the houses) is the service rating of the city. Every time the "moving" phase rolls around, maybe every couple of turns, free people will move into empty houses in order of the city ratings.

I've been playing a lot of through the ages, so some kind of scoring and income tracks might be useful to keep track of the city rating and other values, so that they don't have to be added up all the time.

I also think that it wouldn't work if the cities got to big. 10x10 tiles or even less is probably the limit of what needs to be tracked, although it's hard to tell without actually playing with it.

Need factories and power plants to build buildings, but those add pollution; a residential area is maybe a 3x3 block; if it has 4 houses it is crime free, if it has 9 it is overcrowded (crime); a police station next to a residential zone will eliminate 2 tiles worth of crime (so you can effectively have 6 houses); hospitals service every house up to 3 tiles away.

Action cards can be based on different layouts. For instance, you can put a lot of police around a residential zone in order to fill it, but you might have an action card where people move out if there are too many police. Having residential zones too close together may be bad, because disasters such as floods or hurricanes will be more likely to take many of them out. Balancing things so that there isn't one "proper" way to build the city will make or break the game.

I think you would have to zone, which would be flat sheets you put on your town board first, maybe paying for the zone. The zones would determine what kinds of tiles may later be built there.

Hopefully I'm not taking things in the wrong direction, if I am feel free to throw all of these ideas out :) It's just what was on the top of my head.

sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Ooh - that sparked an idea!

saluk wrote:
I think you would have to zone, which would be flat sheets you put on your town board first, maybe paying for the zone. The zones would determine what kinds of tiles may later be built there.

This made me think of something interesting...

Suppose you have a board that is a square grid, and say there are various "Zoning" overlays which have 2 properties: (a) what type of building can be built in that zone, and (b) a particular shape (like Tetris pieces).

I imagine a deck of "Zoning permits" would indicate those 2 properties, and at times Zoning Permits would come up to be purchased or auctioned off or otherwise taken by players. When you get a Zoning Permit, you must take the appropriately shaped overlay and place it on your board - and it must fit! I suppose a subset could be used (like if you take an "L" shaped overlay and only have 3 adjacent space in a row, you could probably put the overlay there, using only part of it and missing out on the rest).

That could be a good base for a game.

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