- 72 property cards
- 52 buildings
- 17 streetcars
- 8 neighborhoods^ each with 8 and 9 properties
- 5 colored player scoring markers
- 5 100 point tokens in the player's colors
- 5 summary sheets
- 1 scoring track
- 1 rule booklet
Object of the Game
In Big City, players have the opportunity to build the city of their dreams. Of course, each player has a different dream and the resulting city will be a mixture of those dreams.
The players begin with several pieces of property and will have the opportunity to exchange and acquire more property. On the property they have, players will build the city of their dreams, one building at a time. In the beginning, the city is small and building limited to residences and businesses.
When the city has matured and built a city hall, the restrictions come down and players can build streetcar lines, banks and other exciting new buildings. Each building earns points for the builder and the player with the most points at the end is the winner.
Place the buildings and streetcars on the table within easy reach of all players. Place the scoring track on the table where all players can easily see it.
Separate the 72 property cards into eight stacks according to the eight neighborhoods as shown clearly on their backs. Shuffle each stack and place all eight stacks face down on the table within reach of all players.
Each player draws one card from each of the first five (numbered 1-5) stacks of property cards. With 5 players, each player receives additionally a card from the 6 stack. These are the starting hands for the players.
Each player selects a color and places the corresponding scoring marker on the scoring track in the space marked with the 0. The players also take their colored 100 point tokens and place them before themselves.
Each player takes a summary sheet. Return unused scoring markers, 100 point tokens and summary sheets to the box.
Place the first neighborhood (with properties 11 to 19) in the middle of the table. Place the remaining neighborhoods nearby on the table. Using any method that the players agree to, the players choose a starting player.
Note: Before the first game, the players should become familiar with the components and terms used in the game. Read the detailed description of the buildings at the end of these rules.
Use the summary sheet when reading the rules and playing the game. It contains an overview of the buildings on one side and a snapshot from a game on the other.
Central to Big City are the neighborhoods and properties. They are described first to give you a good understanding of what they are and how they work in Big City.
Neighborhoods And Properties
There are eight neighborhoods, four with eight properties in 2 x 4 grids and four with nine properties in 3 x 3 grids. The neighborhoods are numbered from 1-8. Within each neighborhood, the properties are numbered 1-8 or 1-9. Taking the two numbers together yields a unique number for each property. For example, the properties 11-19 are all in neighborhood 1 and 21-28 are in neighborhood 2 and so on.
Some of the more special buildings can only be built on properties that are adjacent to very specific things. In other situations a player may receive special bonuses for placing a building adjacent to specific things. Two properties are adjacent if they are on opposite sides of the same street. The properties need not be in the same neighborhood to be adjacent. However, two properties that are diagonal to each other are not adjacent.
Each property has an associated property card. The property cards have the number of the property on the face and the number of the neighborhood on the back. One card in each of the even numbered neighborhoods is special. It allows the placement of a park or factory.
The Position Of Properties
The position of property relative to the outskirts of the city is a prerequisite for the placement of certain buildings and can change the value of others. A piece of property is always positioned on the outskirts of the city or in the center of the city.
If at least one side of the property is on the outside edge of the city, the property is on the outskirts of the city. Otherwise, it is considered to be in the center of the city.
It is possible that the players will position several neighborhoods such that there is an empty space in their midst as shown above. Properties on this inside edge in the city are in the center of the city and not the outskirts as an outside edge would be.
Thus, property bordering on such a space can only be on the outskirts if another of its sides is on an outside edge of the city.
Placing the first neighborhoods
Before the first round, the players take turns placing neighborhoods to get the city started. The starting player begins and the other players follow in clockwise order.
With 3 to 5 players, each player places one neighborhood and with 2 players, each player places 2 neighborhoods, alternating turns doing so. Thus, the starting city has the following neighborhoods:
- 2 players: neighborhoods 1-5
- 3 players: neighborhoods 1-4
- 4 players: neighborhoods 1-5
- 5 players: neighborhoods 1-6
Separate the neighborhoods that will be used to start the city from the others. Then the players create the initial city with these neighborhoods. On a player's turn, he chooses a neighborhood from this set and places it adjacent to another neighborhood already in the city.
The first neighborhood (#1) was already placed. Each new neighborhood must be placed so that at least two properties on the new neighborhood are adjacent to two properties already in the city.
Neighborhoods may not overlap. The city is now ready for the players to begin the game. Place the neighborhoods not used in the initial setup of the city nearby. They will be added to the city later in the game.
A player's turn
The starting player begins and players follow each other in clockwise order until the game ends. On a player's turn, he must take one of the following five actions.
- Place a building, park or factory
- Start/add to the streetcar line
- Place a new neighborhood
- Exchange card(s)
A. Place a building, park or factory
When a player wants to place a building, he does the following:
Verify that the building may be placed where he wants to place it. Some buildings require that other buildings or a streetcar be adjacent to the proposed location before the building may be placed. The adjacent properties need not be in the same neighborhood. Others may only be placed after certain conditions exist.
For example, a bank may only be placed in a location that is adjacent to two businesses and may only be placed after city hall has been placed.
Play property cards from his hand face up on the table that correspond to the location where the building will be placed.
Select the building from those available and place it on the location represented by the property cards played. If there are no more buildings of the type desired, the building may not be placed. Again, verify that the building has been placed properly considering the rules controlling its placement. If it cannot be placed as intended, the player picks up the cards and must take a different action.
4. Score the building. Each building has a base value and possible bonuses and penalties. These values are also specified on the overview sheet. The bonuses and penalties are assessed based on the position of the building, what buildings are nearby and whether streetcars are adjacent to it.
Some bonuses and the penalties are additions to and subtractions from the base value. Other bonuses involve multipliers, which are applied after the additions and subtractions.
A residence or business need only have one side of one property on the outskirts to be considered on the outskirts of the city for that bonus (or loss of bonus).
Once a building is placed, it remains for the remainder of the game. It may not be upgraded or demolished to make room for something else. The value of a building is determined at the time it is placed.
Later placements do not credit or debit the player who placed the building. Thus, if a factory is placed adjacent to a residence, no points are subtracted from the player who placed the residence.
The player records his score by moving his scoring marker on the scoring track forward a number of spaces equal to his score for the building. If a player's score exceeds 99, the player puts his 100 point token on the 0 and moves his scoring marker past the 0, counting his points and adding 100 for his total score.
Discard the cards used and draw cards to replace them. The new cards may be from any stack, but only two may come from any single stack. Players may draw cards from any of the stacks, even from neighborhoods that have not yet been placed in the city.
When a player wants to place a park or factory, he does the following:
Play the park or factory card.
Select the park or factory pictured on the card (there is just one of each of these four special pieces) and place it on any group of free spaces on the board where it will fit with the have two properties on the outskirts of the city and a park may have no more than one property on the outskirts.
The player need not have any of the property cards for the location he chooses for the park or factory. The park or factory need not be placed in the neighborhood the card was drawn from. No buildings or streetcars may be removed to make room for a park or a factory.
Parks and factories do not score points for the player placing them. Both are often used as a defensive move to fill property that you suspect another player has plans for. Also, parks offer bonuses for residences and businesses built adjacent to them and factories penalize the subsequent placements of residences and businesses.
Discard the card used and draw a card to replace it. The new card may come from any stack. Property cards, which refer to a property where a park or a factory has been placed are useless to the player holding them because they cannot be used.
A player may discard them at the beginning of his turn and draw cards to replace them at the end of his turn. To discard them, a player places them on the table face up so all can verify them as legal discards.
If they are found to not represent property used for a park or factory, the player must return them to his hand. When drawing cards to replace them, the player may draw cards from any stack, but no more than two cards from any single stack per turn, including replaced and exchanged cards.
B. Start/add to the streetcar line
The streetcar line can only be started after city hall has been placed. To start the streetcar line, a player may place only one streetcar. The first streetcar may, however, be placed on any street in the city, even a street on the outskirts of the city.
After the first streetcar has been placed, two streetcars may be added each turn by players who select this action. Streetcars may not be placed across a property or a building. It is a streetcar line, not a subway or elevated train.
The new streetcars that are placed must extend the existing streetcar line. The player may choose to place each of the new streetcars at the same end, at different ends, or somewhere along the middle to create a branch or branches of the line.
A streetcar is adjacent to a building if it runs in one (or more) of the streets adjacent to the building.
A street car that only runs into the side of a building is not adjacent to the building. Like the buildings, the 17 streetcars represent the maximum number that may be placed.
After 17 have been placed, no more may be placed and players may not choose this action for the rest of the game.
C. Place a new neighborhood
New neighborhoods may only be placed after city hall has been placed. The player takes the neighborhood of his choice from those not yet placed and places it on the table adjacent to the city.
As in the initial setup, the neighborhoods need not be placed in number order and the player need not have property cards from the neighborhood to place it.
Each new neighborhood must be placed so that at least two properties on the new neighborhood are adjacent to two properties already in the city. Neighborhoods may not overlap. When all 8 neighborhoods have been placed, no more may be placed and players may not choose this action for the rest of the game.
D. Exchange cards
The player may exchange as many property cards from his hand as desired. The player places the cards he wants to exchange face down at the bottom of the stacks from which they came. Then he draws cards from any stack to replace them.
With less than 5 players, the player will draw to 5 cards. With 5 players, the player will draw to 6 cards. The new property cards may come from any stack, but only two may come from any single stack.
Players may draw property cards from neighborhoods that have not yet been placed in the city.
The player does nothing and passes. The player may do this even if he has a legal move.
End of the Game
The game ends when all neighborhoods have been placed and buildings have been placed on all properties or all players pass in sequence. Near the end of a game it is possible that only one player has cards that may be played.
In such a case, that player will continue to play, placing neighborhoods, streetcars, or buildings while the others pass until he no longer can or wants to do so.
The winner is the player with the most points at the end of the game.