👥 1-4 players
🕗 60-90 min
The goal of City of the Great Machine is to act as rebels to thwart the plans of the advanced artificial intelligence, the Great Machine, and unleash an uprising. In competitive, co-operative, or solo game modes, you’ll battle against the Machine and try to mobilize citizens to thwart its master plan.
City of the Great Machine is a fascinating board game set in an alternate history where electronics never really took off and steam power is the dominant technology. The game can be played competitively, cooperatively or solo.
The competitive game is played one vs many. One player takes on the role of the Great Machine and controls the actions of the three enhanced servants, while one to three other players take on the role of rebels and try to thwart the Machine’s plan. In co-op and solo mode, one to three players play as the Rebels fighting against the Great Machine, which is controlled by game mechanics. The cooperative variant has different scenarios that you can play, each with its own win condition, so that every game plays differently.
The game is played on a modular board consisting of nine different city districts. Each district offers different actions that the players can perform with their characters. The modular nature of the board means that the game can be set up differently for each session. The districts can even be moved during the game, leading to many tactical and strategic decisions.
Each district has a number of citizens whose identities are hidden at the start of the game. Depending on their identity, the civilians will be more or less inclined to support the rebels as the game progresses. The rebels try to identify the civilians and move them into the neighborhoods in order to gather enough sympathizers to overcome the guards and start an uprising. If the Rebels do this three times before the Great Machine completes its master plan, they win. Otherwise they lose.
The Great Machine player tries to hold off the Rebels long enough to complete her master plan. The masterplan acts more or less like a timer, but can go faster or slower depending on the actions of the players.
Each Rebel has its own special ability and there are eight to choose from. Three of them are always present, regardless of the number of players. The Great Machine always has three servants that are functionally identical, but it has some skills (guidelines) that may or may not appear in a given game. These abilities can be used by the Great Machine and removed by the Rebels. These mechanisms increase the variability of each game and increase replayability.
City of the Great Machine has excellent top quality components. The cardboard parts as well as the cards and miniatures are of high quality and look great. We think the artwork fits perfectly with the steampunk theme. The game looks great on the table and contributes enormously to the gaming experience.
There are two tutorials, one for learning how to play and one for looking up questions during the game. This makes both learning and playing the game much easier. Very cleverly thought out! The game also contains many reference cards that are useful during the game.
We are very excited about this game. It has pleasantly surprised us in both competitive and cooperative games. We played the game with both two and four players. And honestly, it works best for us with two players. There is a little less downtime and it was super close with us every time whether or not we were going to win (in cooperative) or who was going to win in the competitive variant.
The game offers deep strategy and tactics, and every move has consequences. This sometimes gives the “steam from the ears” feeling.
I highly recommend this game for board game enthusiasts who are comfortable with a complexity similar to Pandemic and ready for the next step. It’s a great game that offers fun in all game modes!