City of the Great Machine is a strategy game set in a grim universe of technocratic Victorian steampunk. The game features the conflict between the Great Machine, an artificial intelligence network, and an alliance of Heroes. The Great Machine is either controlled by a player or is automated, which completely changes the gameplay.
The Great Machine controls the City built on mobile platforms in the sky. As the Great Machine, the player (or game AI) commands a force of perfected Servants and mechanical Guards. The Great Machine’s ultimate goal is to suppress social unrest and complete its grandiose Master Plan to perfect the mankind.
The other players are Heroes working together against the Great Machine to start a revolution. They encourage discontent in the City, enlist the support of famous citizens, and inflame riots. They also attempt to prevent the Great Machine from completing the Master Plan, as it leads to the enslavement of the mankind.
- City of the Great Machine may be played as One-vs-Many (2-4 players) or cooperatively/solo (1-3 players).
- Modular board allows for infinite City layouts. The players may reposition the City Districts during the game.
- Hidden movement. Each round, the Heroes secretly choose the Districts they will go to.
- Resource management. Both sides of the conflict have multiple actions to take and pay for them in Trust (Heroes) or Bonds (the Great Machine). The same is true for movement and other tasks.
- Asymmetric gameplay and unique victory conditions. The Heroes need 3 Riots to win, while the Great Machine strives to complete the Master Plan.
- Secrecy. The Heroes need to conceal their plans from the Great Machine, however, they may discuss their intentions only in the presence of the Great Machine.