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“In many ways, it was beautiful. Hot, buzzing streets led between leafy squares with fountains. Yet the beauty came from order. The streets formed a grid, with the squares at the intersections. Nothing was out of place.”
Begin by thinking about a family. Imagine them as they arrive in the city. What is their name? What do they look like? Who are the two family members that matter most? What are their names? How old are they? Why did they come to the city? What do they want to find here? Don’t define every family member. Simply think about one or two that matter and, during the game, invent additional relatives as you need them. And ask each other questions until you know these people, just a little.
Now, for one family member, ask: What would they fill the streets with, if they could? What sounds? What sights? What emotions? What kind of people? Let’s call this a vibe. It represents a feeling, a type of people, a culture, a set of values: everything you might experience in a city neighbourhood. Choose a coloured highlighter to represent your vibe.
Play a short scene there.Everyone rolls a six-sided die. CHOOSE AN AREA OF THE QUARTER Roll a six-sided die. Each round. choose one of the squares. 2. they are in the second-highest stratum. 6. Play out the rest of the scene. Name and describe that area. and so on. a five-by-five grid of streets. before it has filled with people. based on what you rolled. On your turn. 3. Choose an area of the Quarter. bounded on each end by a cross-street. 5. If you rolled the highest number. Fill the area with a vibe. Within the Quarter are four squares.) If you get six. DESCRIBE THAT AREA Imagine the area early in the morning. you get priority over players with families in lower strata: you may choose to go before them or insist they go first. 2. (A street segment is a chunk of street. everyone gets a turn. Describe the area again. 4. The number you rolled is your stratum number. Roll dice. which are open spaces where streets intersect. It represents your family’s place within society. What is the area called? What can you see here? And what happens in this area: is it a market. And you can choose an area that has already been highlighted. a slum or something else? . they are in the highest stratum of society. until everyone has a different number. If you get five or less. they roll again. If your family is in a higher stratum. If you rolled the second-highest. choose that number of street segments. running in a straight line. If two or more people roll the same number. you will: 1. THE QUARTER Everything that matters in the city is in the Quarter.
play the scene. until one day. in which she jostled with bad-smelling labourers. At some point. If they live here. Because the house was at a street corner. the player who is describing the area gives an initial description. Think about the following questions: What time is it? What can you see. choose a family member to be in the scene. she ignored him. It is time to find out what happens there. a beggar sat there. (If you like. See how the two vibes mix.” You will tell a short story that happens in the area. Now decide: Why is your family member in this area? What have they come here to do? (Or do they live here?) To begin. Choose a player to describe the area and play peripheral characters.Now. from dawn to dusk. choose more than one player: each chooses a family member to be in the scene). at the end of the street. spread it. Play out the interaction and see what happens. hear and smell? What are the people doing? Now. too. They. for a reason she could not explain. promote it. Choose another player’s family. It was a dark street. she saw the strange little man within and. Describe what your family member does. Every day. PLAY A SHORT SCENE “The small house. If they came to the area to do something. which a friend had cautiously recommended. think about the area later in the day. two types of people) will meet. What will happen? How will they interact? Choose one of your family members to be in the scene. describe them leaving or returning home. your family member will encounter the other player’s family member (or the other players’ family members). two vibes (two cultures. was where Nashida lived. but in her cloak she went unrecognised. demonstrate it. Whatever it is.” “Indira had come to the market to sell her wedding ring and replace it with a fake. froze. when it has filled with people. When she came to the jewellers. describe them going about this business. Think about your vibe. In it. something in his voice made her turn. .
take any dice that show your strata number. PLAY OUT THE REST OF THE SCENE If you took the most dice. CHOOSE A VIBE FOR THE AREA Look again at the number of dice you took: it shows how much of the area you control. roll one die for each segment. then it’s also time to roll dice. If you don’t get to a clash of values. Then the person in the highest stratum takes the remaining dice. Sometimes. When you control part of an area. Keep it short. then the scene ends with a mixed vibe. you choose the vibe for it. then the number of dice you hold shows you how many street segments you control. you rolled only a single die: whoever took that die controls the whole area. Then roll any remaining dice one more time. but an agreement or accommodation.If you get to a clash of values. Don’t worry if the scene is short! These are brief encounters.) If the area consists of street segments. Then roll any remaining dice again. If the area consists of street segments. (That is. roll a single die. then it’s time to roll dice. a single die for the group. ROLL DICE If the area is a square. You will mark this vibe on the map. With this in mind. . play the end of the scene. If the area is a square. when cultures meet. If there was a tie. but sometimdes. Again. many things happen. take any dice that show your strata number. with a highlighter. then your vibe prevails in the scene. For the last time. Take any dice that show your stratum number. the meeting is short. not a single die for each player. moments in city life.
Think back on the scene. then go ahead. Ally with another player. if you are generous to someone else. You could choose someone else’s vibe. demonstrate your cooperativeness. NOTES ON BEING IN A LOW STRATUM If you are in a low stratum. But. the choice is yours. you can do anything that you can represent with highlighter pens. Perhaps you can combine vibes or split the territory between you. In scenes. you saw the possibility of two vibes co-existing. The player representing the highest stratum will probably choose the vibe for most of the city.Now. choose any vibe for the area you control. If you form an alliance. and so the city can be filled cooperatively. in fact. Appeal to the highest stratum. Show how your vibe can complement or enhance the highest stratum’s vibe. the game ends. but with dots of other vibes. THE END When everyone has had a turn. ● ● ● Accept it.) Why would you do this? Why not just fill the area with your own vibe? Perhaps. Be content with controlling some of the city. you will allow space for it. When every area of the Quarter is highlighted. Perhaps you expect that. (If you want to fill the area with your vibe. . while your vibe covers most of the square. start another round. In any case. the odds are stacked against you. Then fill the area you control with any vibe you choose. Indeed. You can. you will often choose your own vibe to fill in an area. How should you deal with this? Here are some of your options. Perhaps you are simply fair-minded: even though you don’t like someone else’s vibe. you will allow a small corner for someone else’s vibe. Think how the various vibes mixed. in the scene you just played. they will be generous back. choosing an area and playing a scene in it. You could mix your vibe with someone else’s vibe. You could decide that. you can overpower someone in a higher stratum.
depends on the vibes chosen and whether they can mix. you have a choice. your chances of doing this are good. ON ENDING THE GAME Towards the end of the game. Will you fill the grid.This. of course. Will you let the other vibes exist? . ending the game? Or will you attempt to take territory from someone else? If you represent a high stratum.
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