City of the Great Machine board game

City of the Great Machine is a board game that will appeal to fans of steampunk and strategy games.

The greatest minds in humanity came together to create the perfect city, and the result exceeded all expectations. 

The city is built on giant aerial platforms. It soared above the world as the triumphant embodiment of science! At the heart of the city is the Great Machine, an artificial intelligence created for the benefit of humanity. 

In this article, we will look at the purpose of the game, the pros and cons and other important features.

Key facts

Created by  In 2023
Number of players1-4
Age of players14+
Duration of the game60-90 minutes
Level of complexityheavy

The aim of the game

Player objectives may vary according to the character they choose to represent.

✔️ The Great Machine's ultimate goal - to quell social unrest and fulfil a grand master plan for the betterment of humanity.

✔️ The purpose of heroes - to lead a revolution against the Great Machine. They are stirring up discontent in the city, trying to attract the support of prominent citizens and inciting riots.

They are also trying to prevent the Great Machine from implementing its master plan, which leads to humanity's enslavement to artificial intelligence. 


The pros and cons of the game

✅ Wide range of game options: The game can be played in either a one versus many format (1 vs 2-4 players) or a cooperative format (1-3 players).

✅ Stimulates strategic thinking: Players have to think several steps ahead when performing actions.

✅ Engaging: The theme and the mechanics fit together perfectly and complement each other.

Can be played multiple times: There are many different ways to win.


❌ Long playing time: A large number of players can significantly increase the game time.

❌ A complex game: It may be too difficult for younger players or players who do not know how to play strategy games.

About the game

Over time, the Machine developed a plan to realise its ultimate ambition - to make the ideal city, to improve man himself, to make him as standardised and reliable as the cogs of its own machine.

In the board game City of the Great Machine, a tense battle is fought between the Great Machine and an alliance of disobedient Heroes. 

Once a thriving and prosperous fantasy city, it is now under the dark shadow of humanity's enslavement by artificial intelligence. A few heroes of the Resistance have one last chance to save the people!

One of the players takes on the role of the Great Machine. He commands intelligent servants and mechanical guards. The Machine wants to realise the Grand Plan that will bring happiness to humanity as it understands it. 

This will happen when the progress bar reaches the end of the Grand Plan scale. But AI also has to deal with the city's growing unrest.

The rest of the players are Heroes and cooperate with each other. Their goal is to organise uprisings and overthrow oppressive regimes. To do this, they must organise 3 successful revolts against the Great Machine. 

Against all odds, the Heroes seek the support of influential citizens and stir up discontent among the city's residents. They try their best to thwart the Great Machine's plan.

The city is made up of several districts on giant hanging platforms. This allows the neighbourhoods to move freely! 

Heroes and servants of the Great Machine travel around the city to achieve their goals. In each district, they can perform both standard and unique actions. 

As the streets are strictly regulated by the Great Machine, Heroes have to carefully calculate their routes and assess the blocks, taking into account their cost and the availability of mechanical guards.

The main weapon of the Heroes is popular discontent - on the other hand, the Great Machine can use the suppression of resistance as a positive lever on its side. 

The heroes try to convince the city's inhabitants that the Big Machine is harming them. The heroes' resources are the trust of the citizens, while the Machine's are the rules and laws. 

Each side in the conflict is firmly convinced that its way is the only and right way. 

Game rules

In the City of the Great Machine stage, one participant takes on the role of the Great Machine and the others become a united team of Heroes who work together to fight and play against the Great Machine.


Heroes can interact as much as they want, as long as it is in the presence of the Great Machine. For example, they can use gestures, secretly show each other their access cards or look at the tokens of identified city residents. 

However, Heroes are not allowed to whisper or leave the room to discuss their actions outside the Great Machine.

Experienced Heroes always find ways to impress the Big Machine, even if it is watching their every move. The Great Machine lures Heroes into one trap after another, convincing them at every turn that it has no idea what they are about to do.

Stages of the game

The game has five stages.

1. Initial phase

The Big Machine reveals the top card of the city's event deck. Each such event determines the special conditions of the game and the progress of the Grand Plan in the current phase.

The Big Machine acquires bonds (its own special resource) depending on the current stage of citizen discontent in the city. Citizens' dissatisfaction is marked on a special scale on the top disc of the progress board.

Heroes receive a level of trust (their special resource) depending on the number of active and inactive residents in the city's neighbourhoods.

Each resident brings 1 Trust Point to Heroes in the same district.

The Great Machine is starting to count down the time until the implementation of the Grand Plan. 


2. Access phase

All Heroes choose which district they will travel to. They can stay in their current district or move to another. To do so, they choose the appropriate Access Card from the cards in their hand and place it in front of them.

The mood in the city is rebellious. People are taking to the streets and building barricades. The apogee of the uprising is approaching!

3. The Great Machine Stage

At this stage, the Great Machine carries out its plans through servants and guards, paying for their actions and manoeuvres with bonds. 

Servants can move between districts and perform certain actions, while guards can only move. Movement and action by a servant costs 2 bonds, movement by a guard costs 1 bond. 

Each Servant can perform 1 action per phase, after which they cannot move to another area.

A servant can:

  • Arrest one active resident by removing their token from the territory.
  • Repair one guard that was previously broken by the Hero, returning his token to play.
  • Conduct a raid to apprehend the Hero by placing a raid token on the territory.

Special actions can be carried out by officials in the relevant specialised fields. For example, for a Great Machine to take a Directive card, a servant must perform a special action in the main stronghold. 

The Law Tower can be used to issue Directive 1, the Central Square can be used to obtain bonds based on the number of inhabitants, and the Control Centre can be used to relocate a district to another part of the city.

The rules for action directives and events are always listed on the relevant cards.


The Great Machine can quickly capture the Heroes by fulfilling the conditions on the cards, without paying attention to what the rebels are doing.

4. Heroes' Stage

The heroes are clever, inventive and dangerous. They perform actions in the order of initiative indicated on the cards.

Movement. By opening the previously selected access card, the Hero moves to the corresponding destination area. All Heroes move and cannot stay in one place.

If the Hero has no confidence points, then he can rely on luck and roll an escape die. If successful, the Hero escapes from the guards. If unsuccessful, he is apprehended and the Great Machine forcibly ends the Hero's actions and continues with its plan.

Action. Once the Hero arrives in the destination area, he can take his first action. He can perform several different actions.

Agitation. This is the main way to prepare the city for the uprising. This action is carried out in any normal precinct and costs one confidence point for each guard present.

Standard actions. They can be performed by the Hero in any area.

Guard attack. The hero can pay any number of confidence points he wishes and roll the attack dice at his discretion. If the amount spent equals or exceeds the value rolled on the dice, the Guardian is destroyed.

Identifying influential populations. The hero can identify one or more inhabitants of the neighbourhood. For each inhabitant, he pays trust points equal to the number of guards. 

Relocation of influential populations. The hero can move one or more residents from one neighbourhood to another by paying one trust point for each neighbourhood the resident leaves.

Gaining trust. This is useful when the Hero is unable to perform an action due to a lack of confidence points or wants to gain more confidence points in the next round.

Raising the stakes. To trigger an uprising, the Hero has to pay a trust point to a guard for each unidentified resident. 

The active population joins the rebellion, while the traitors take the side of the Great Machine. 

An uprising is considered a success if there are more active citizens than traitors and guards. If it fails, the Great Machine carries on with its plan and may arrest the population.

Special actions. Heroes can perform special actions in certain areas: 

In the Central Square, it can increase the dissatisfaction of the population, in the Control Centre it can relocate the urban area, in the Law Tower it can revoke one published directive and in the Main Fortress it can impose one unpublished directive.

5. Final stage

In this phase, Heroes increase the frustration of the townspeople with each failed raid by removing the corresponding chips from the blocks.

Also, at the end of the round, participants fulfill the special conditions described on the event cards. At this stage, the Grand Plan can move forward. The game conditions stipulate that the Great Machine or the Heroes can do something at the end of the round.

The first to reach their goal wins the game. There are no two winners in this confrontation: either there will be a serious uprising and the Main Fortress will fall, or the Great Machine will implement its brilliant plan to create a perfect humanity, which it will lead for eternity.

What is in the game kit?

The City of The Great Machine board game set includes the Great Machine and Heroes components.

Great machines:
progress board disc1
Tokens of famous citizens30
two-sided trust and bond tokens36
city event cards21
cards for smaller districts5
cards for larger districts4
Servant Order Tokens3
figures of servants3
wooden guard figurines18
directive cards9
reference cards2
raid tokens3
Large Hero cards6
Access Cards (9 for each Hero)54
Revolutionary reference cards (2 per player)6
Hero figurines6
Attack Dice1
escape dice1
Rebellion token1

Single play and cooperative play

The game also features a special automated game with a one-versus-all mode, where players take on the role of Heroes against a ruthless and fully automated machine.

The Big Machine can be fought by a single player or in teams of up to three players.


City of the Great Machine is funded by Kickstarter a platform for start-ups.

The board game offers a wide range of tactical options, making it an interesting choice for experienced board game enthusiasts looking for unique challenges and strategic solutions.

What is the purpose of the game❓

The objective of the game may vary according to the character you choose to represent.

The Great Machine's ultimate goal - to quell social unrest and fulfil a grand master plan for the betterment of humanity.

The purpose of heroes - to lead a revolution against the Great Machine.

What is the recommended age of players❓

The game is recommended for ages 14 and up.

How many people can play the board game City of The Great Machine❓

The game is for 1-4 players.

What is the difficulty level❓

Board game classified as complex games.

What is the duration of the game❓

Game duration 60-90 minutes.