City Council is a game by Elad Goldsteen, published by Golden Egg Games. It is for 2-5 players. In this game, players will be members of the council that are trying to build the city. They will be gaining favors from political groups as they seek to fulfill the desires of these groups. Along the way, the players will be gaining victory points. The player with the most VP at the end of the game will be declared the winner.
To begin, each player will get 1 player marker and 3 round tokens in the same color. They’ll also get a black delegate meeple. The favor cards are shuffled and each player is dealt 2 cards while the rest of the cards are placed face down near the board. Each player places one of their round tokens on the scoring track at 0. The city budget is set with a token depending on the amount of players. Blue collar worker meeples and White collar worker meeples are placed in the workforce housing section depending on the number of players as well. 1 green goods cube is placed in the goods depot section. All the rest of the tokens and meeples are placed where all players can reach them. Building tiles are separated into 2 groups of starter and advanced buildings. The advanced building tiles are sorted according to shape and are placed face down near the board. Starter buildings are also sorted by shape and then placed underneath the advanced buildings. 3 cards are drawn from starter tiles and each one placed face up with the top tile of the stack turned order. There will now be 8 face up starter buildings for building. 1 money and 1 relocation token are placed in the planning area as well. Play can now begin.
The game is broken up into 5 different phases; committees phase, council meeting phase, production phase, monitoring phase and turn end and replenishing phase. In the committees phase, the first player is chosen and that player places a round token in the Election Committee position. They will then choose the different committees that each player will start off in. This determines player order as well. Each committee gives each player an ability that they will be able to do during their turn. Each turn the players will be assigned to different committees as chosen by the election committee current player. The players perform their different roles.
The next phase is the council meeting phase. In this phase, each player will start by pitching their plan to build building basically so that they can fulfill their own favor cards. This is done by building buildings, relocating buildings or selling buildings through voting. They will place their round player token on the building they choose as a reminder of what they’ve chosen. If they choose to relocate or sell buildings, the matching token is placed with the round player token to indicate this. Once this is done, players will vote on what they’d like to do, they can’t vote on their own proposals though. This is done by placing one of their black delegate meeples on the building of their choice. The treasury committee then can place a dollar that they embezzled during the committees phase on a building of their choice to make it more appealing to vote for. The executive committee then gets a 2nd vote which they can vote on any building including the one they proposed. Votes are counted. The ones with the most votes will be chosen to be executed. Then, depending on the number of players will determine how many of those plans will be executed. Now the election committee chooses what order that the plans are resolved in. Buildings are built starting in the gray area on the board and then however they are chosen later. There are additional costs for building in other areas so this must be remembered. The budget is reduced based on the cost of the building. Relocating does not cost unless the building is moved to a different area. Selling buildings allows the budget to receive $1 less than the cost of the building.
The next phase is the production phase. Buildings are activated during this phase as well as reporting unemployment and the resolution of actions. Transport committee gets 2 actions this turn. The player will choose workers and resources to activate different buildings by placing the correct number based on the tile icons. This is done until there are no more workers, resources or buildings to activate left. Next the unemployment report is checked. This determines how many workers of each type will arrive in the city. It also determines the crime rate, depending on how many workers were left over from the previous actions but this is updated in the next phase. Finally the building actions are resolved one at at time, also updating power supply and budget tracks accordingly. Once the workers have done their job, they return to the workforce housing section on the board.
The next phase is the monitoring phase. In this phase the players determine how well they did with the council’s actions earlier. This is where community, crime and pollution determine if more workers are added to the workforce or if they’re removed. If at any time crime or pollution gets up to 7 cubes, the game is over. Simple and quick.
The next phase is the turn end and replenishing phase. Building favor cards can be played at this time to gain victory points. Unconstructed buildings are discarded and new buildings are drawn. Players move their tokens to the A or B spots on the committee spaces accordingly. This is because a player can only occupy the same committee up to 2 rounds of play. This is just a visual way of tracking that. The election committee will then choose to move players to different committees based on which spot they’re on. This is done during the next committee phase and at least one move must be done. This all continues round after round until someone reaches 11 victory points or as stated earlier, crime or pollution gets too high.
Included with my copy was the Government Agent expansion. This gives an added set of favor cards that make some modifications to how the city planning is done. It introduces a new interest group that’s not one of the original groups.
This game has a lot of different components with it. The game board has a real SimCity type of feel to it. It looks really nice and works nicely. The favor cards are regular card stock style cards but they have some really nice artwork on them. I like the choices of using one or more of the favors to play the card. The building tiles are really nice and thick and the artwork look reminiscent of SimCity as well. The meeples are wooden and look really nice with a great look. The different cubes for pollution, crime, goods and community as well as the round player tokens are all nice wooden pieces that are nicely colored. The player markers, money, power, relocation, and sale tokens are all thick cardboard and look really nice. I especially like how the player markers all have these really neat looking buildings on them. All in all, the components are super nice with this, just like in other Golden Egg games.
9 out of 10
The rule book for this one is rather long but has lots of great information inside. There are lots of pictures and plenty of explanations on how each aspect of the game works. Everything is explained in great detail with some great examples of game play. There are also special rules for 2 players as well as advanced game variants for sandbox and hard mode. There is also a great reference list of buildings with size, cost, type and action. I really like the inclusion of this as well as the building upgrade chart that’s also included on the back of the book. This is really great and does a good job of conveying everything you need to know to play the game. It’s a little bit deeper than some games so it takes a little bit more attention when reading.
8 out of 10
This game is really great fun. The city building is very reminiscent of SimCity and definitely comes through in the gameplay. I like the semi co-op feel of working together to keep crime and pollution under control. It can be difficult keeping everything under control. It’s still lots of fun. The favor cards are really cool in how they determine what you will be working towards accomplishing on your turn. This makes each game a little bit different and each player will be trying to get their own goals accomplished. This game takes a bit of time to play. It’s recommended for 60-90 minutes. I’d lean more towards the 90 minute mark, possibly longer for first time players. Even with a large time frame, the game is lots of fun. The theme is definitely present in this one. You will be making lots of tough choices collectively and individually to help make this city grow. A couple of bad decisions can ultimately lose the game for everyone. However even losing is still fun, kind of like with Pandemic. The game play is the thing.
9 out of 10
City Council is medium weight game of city building fun. This is a really fun game. To me it feels like Suburbia and Corporate America had a baby and fed that baby with SimCity. That’s a lot of goodness in my opinion. The game looks really nice. The artwork looks great and is literally dripping with theme. I highly recommend this to anyone that’s a fan of city building games like Suburbia or SimCity. The expansion adds a bit of added depth that makes for a lot more variation in scoring. It’s really neat playing with it. I really enjoyed this one and look forward to playing it again. Definitely this one should be played and enjoyed with several people to truly enjoy it. Give it a try. I’m sure you’ll like it.
9 out of 10
For more information about this and other great games, please check out Golden Egg Games at their site.