Urban Imbalance is a competitive card game for two players about building an urban city. One player tries to create a utopian and worth living city while the other one wants to create a dystopian like and ruined city. This project was created during the university course “Zukunftsforschung & Design fiction” by Prof. Frank Heidmann.
Before I went to the course I already knew that I want to create a board game with an urban city theme. The first step took a lot of time because it included research in all directions like general theme for the game, smart city development, cities in sci-fi but also mechanical aspects like board game mechanics and how the gameplay could look like.
I got a lot of inspiration by a paper from the Bundesinstitut für Bau-, Stadt- und Raumforschung: Von Science-Fiction-Städten lernen. In this document are a lot of sci-fi concepts analyzed with the focus on urban cities.
After doing first sketches and writing down possible ideas it was time to start prototyping. One great aspect of designing a board or card game is the possibility to test out all ideas immediately. I tried a lot of different of components I could use by cutting them directly out of paper or using the laser cutter at my university to use acrylic glass. Also, already existing components from board games I own are great to see what I could use later for the finished game.
After a lot of playtesting, trying out new ideas and more research I started to work on my final idea. The board game, called Urban Imbalance, is for two players and competitive, so they are not playing cooperative.
Every player has a deck with 12 different cards which show two developments. The first one is the standard development and the second the stronger one which will provide more useful resources. The utopian player has 6 cards with a special symbol, the gears in the right upper corner. During the game this player will try to get two cards with the gear symbol next to each other to get the ability "blocking". With this ability the player can lay down a coin in the
There are five to six resources in the game: eco, life quality, finances, energy and smog. The sixth one are the coins with which the players can buy new cards. The look of the resources is different depending on the utopian or dystopian cards.
Play fields / districts
The city is divided in three main districts, symbolized by three hexagon tiles: Working and Industry, Living and housing, culture.
The following picture shows how the game will look like when it is complete with all adding components on the table. Added to the previous parts of the game there is a slider in the middle, a card market and smog tiles on the city districts. These new details will be explained afterwards.