The Cities of the Aeronauts

From The Open Source Board Game

The Cities of the Aeronauts is a resource management and city building game that can be both cooperative and competitive depending on your personal style of playing. This section expands on that game idea and provides a top-level view of the game to direct the creation of the game and provide inspiration. The purpose here is to record the overarching idea, direction, and structure that is in mind.


The Cities of the Aeronauts
Current Version 0 (Pre-Alpha)
No. of Players 3-6 players
Player Age 10+
Gameplay Time 2+ hours
Game Theme Colonise a newly discovered land
Gameplay Resource Management, City Building, Combat
Objective of Game Build a city that is self-sufficient


The Cities of the Aeronauts is set in a world where airships are the primary form of transport. The terrain is such that ground-based transport is not a viable method of travel. This difficulty forced the original settlers to build self-sufficient cities, which, in turn, led to the development of an altogether different governing structure.

Because of the size of each city, and the extreme isolation between each one, cities are like their own individual nations; making and breaking alliances with other cities, creating and enforcing their own laws, and existing outside of any responsibility to a higher governing body. Out of the city limits, any type of rule is practically non-existent. Merchant ships travel from city to city with their trade, pirates plunder the merchants' vessels, and vigilante enforcers and private mercenaries fight back against the pirates.

Several settlement fleets, sponsored by various mainland cities have travelled to a newly-discovered, rich, and fertile island to build new cities there. Each player in this game is a governing official of one of these settlements in the new land. The mainland is too far away to provide constant assistance, and instead, each settlement must pave their own way with very little outside help.

The Guild of Merchants is the worldwide organisation that protects and governs all the Aeronauts who pursue the business of trade. The guild, to promote the successful settlement of this new land, has offered a lucrative trade deal to the first city to become self-sufficient. This deal includes the establishment of a trading hub in that city, making it the central point of contact between the new land and the mainland. The race is now on as to which city will be the first to become not just self-sufficient but also capable of withstanding any attacks against it from opposing cities.



Tokens and Paper Slips[edit]

Card Decks[edit]



Grow your settlement into a self-sufficient city that is capable of withstanding any attack. Make and break alliances, crush opposition, establish trading relationships, and more, all with this end goal in mind.

Game Play Overview[edit]

Each player starts off with a map of their city location, an airship, and a cargo of resources to be used to establish their settlement. These are what the player uses to get a start building their city.

There are two main types of building for a city, residential and industrial, both of which produce resources (residential building provide manpower, farms produce food, smelters produce metal, and refineries produce gas). Things like buildings and vehicles can be built in exchange for a set amount of resources. Some utilities open up areas of expansion for the players, (e.g. ship-yards allow players to produce airships), while other utilities provide benefits to existing mechanics (e.g. a grain mill doubles food production, and a senate increases the number of actions a player can take).

Airships are used for a variety of purposes, including trade, combat and exploration. Trade allows players to exchange resources, but is not without its risks; rival players can attempt to seize your cargo as it makes its way to your trading partner's city. Combat allows players to war against each other, or even stage an attack on a rival's city. Finally, exploration allows players to discover new natural resource deposits as well as a variety of other interesting finds.

It is impossible for players to grow without trading with other players. This is because the cost of the infrastructure for resource production is such that players, when starting off, can't afford to generalise. Instead, players are forced to specialise and trade. Trading with the mainland is another option, however, it is expensive and time-consuming, making it only worth doing under specific circumstances.

Rounds begin with each player taking their turn to use their actions to move, build, attack, etc. After each player has had their turn, we enter the Conflict Phase, where attacks, defences, and other conflicts that emerged in the Action Phase, are resolved. Finally, the round ends with the Trading Phase, where the market opens for players to trade their resources.