La Cittā: Rules

Originally published at the Gaming Dumpster

You are an Italian prince and at the beginning of the game you found two cities. The first building in each is a castle. Initially each castle is inhabited by 3000 people, represented by three small figures -- known as @@citizens''.

As a player, your job is to expand your territory: you build up your existing cities and you found new ones. A basic requirement for this expansion is the availability of people, since each new building that you put up must be occupied by a citizen.

Your first task is to obtain food for your people. Since the size of your population increases from turn to turn, the hunt for more food is constant. It comes from castles and farms, provided these have been sited next to agricultural areas. Even then the growth of your population is subject to limits. Only if your city has a marketplace can it hold more than 5 citizens. A further limit is reached at 8 citizens and to breach this one you will need to have a nearby stretch of water where you can build a fountain. Then your city can have as many citizens as you wish. A fountain meets the basic health requirements of your citizens, but they acquire further needs. Once they have enough to eat and are multiplying, they find further reasons to be dissatisfied, demanding culture and education and the buildings that go with these.

As a result you must construct statues, cloister schools and bathhouses. Then, once in each game year, the citizens meet as a group to determine their wishes -- @@The voice of the people speaks''. If the people decide that they want culture, all cultural buildings (those with white curves) become important; if they want education, then it is educational institutions (black curves) that are in demand; if health, the buildings which offer hygiene (blue curves) are the ones that matter.

For example, if the decision was for culture, the citizens would look around to see if there is more on offer in any of the neighbouring cities. If there is, some of them will migrate. This could result in your city losing many citizens. If, as a result, some of your buildings are no longer occupied, they must be demolished. Were you to lose a farm this way, you would also lose the food it produced and this would then have further consequences, as the food shortage would cause some of your citizens to emigrate. In short, a catastrophe would be upon you, with your whole expansion threatening to come to a halt.

In summary, one can say that in La Cittā peace of mind is at an end as soon as you have neighbours, which you have if the distance between you is less than three free hexagons. Be careful then if another player moves ever closer to you. He is up to no good.

Before the first game remove all the tiles from their surrounds.

Lay the gameboard on the table.
Info: On the board you see a landscape with paths running through it. These paths are made up of hexagons. On the hexagons you found cities, which you then extend ever further across the connected hexagons. The large areas between the paths contain various types of landscape which you will utilize for various purposes.

Sort out the hexagonal tiles, which will be used for building and extending the cities.

40 x Farm, Quarry - Form a twin stack (2 stacks) each with a different side uppermost.
16 x Marketplace - Form a stack.
20 x Palace, Hospital  - Form a twin stack (2 stacks) each with a different side uppermost.
15 x Statue, Cathedral - Form a twin stack (2 stacks) each with a different side uppermost.
15 x Cloister School, University - Form a twin stack (2 stacks) each with a different side uppermost.
15 x Fountain, Bathhouse - Form a twin stack (2 stacks) each with a different side uppermost.

Next take all the landscape tiles and form them into a stack.
(Translator: This step is only necessary if you are using the advanced set-up.)
The different landscapes have the following meanings:

14 x Agriculture - Agriculture supplies food, which you need in order to support your citizens. Each countryside tile contains 1, 2 or 3 food symbols (wheat).
Info: A countryside tile with one symbol supplies one unit of food. A countryside tile with two symbols supplies two units of food. A countryside tile with three symbols supplies three units of food. You receive the food only if you build an appropriate building on an adjoining space.

3 x Mountains - In a mountain one finds marble. If you open a quarry on an adjacent space, you receive an income in gold.

5 x Stretches of Water - Water is important for the health of your citizens. If you erect an appropriate building (health, blue curves) on a space adjacent to the water, the limit on the size of the city's population is removed.

Each player chooses a colour and receives 4 castles in his colour. He places these in front of him.
Info: A castle is always the building used to found a city. Three citizens are then placed in to the building.

The small citizen figures are placed next to the gameboard -- as a @@general population pool''.
All players make use of the same citizen figures. Who owns which citizens will be apparent from the cities in which they stand.

Each player receives the four small, coloured citizen-figures in his own colour. Their purpose is explained later.

Sort the cards into three decks:

Each player receives 3 action cards in his colour (colour borders on the reverse side). He places these face up in front of him.
The cards are the same in content for all players. If there are fewer than 5 players, the action cards in the unused colours are put back in the box.

Now it is the turn of the political cards.
Shuffle these cards thoroughly. Deal the top 7 cards from the deck and place them face up in a row on the spaces provided at the edge of the board (see diagram at the foot of page 2 of the rules booklet). The remaining political cards are placed as a face down deck on the last vacant space (the one without a motif).

Next pick up the 27 @@Voice of the People'' cards.
Shuffle these thoroughly and place them as a face down deck on the gameboard -- on the side with the 4 brown circles. (diagram, top of page 3 of the rules booklet).

The food tokens and the gold coins are laid ready near the gameboard.
Gold Coins
: At the beginning of the game, each player receives 1 gold coin. Further gold comes to the player only with the help of a quarry or through the operation of am action card.
Food tokens: The food tokens are placed next to the gameboard. The players receive these tokens when they build castles and, later, farms. The small tokens each represent 1 food unit; the large ones each represent 5.

Each player is given an @@overview'' chart.

The start-player marker is laid out ready.

Suggested layout for beginners in a game with 5 players
(large picture on page 3 of the rules booklet.

At least for the first game, please use these suggested set-ups. The corresponding ones for 2, 3 and 4 players can be found on the last page of the rules booklet.

Lay out the countryside tiles as shown in the diagram.
Each player takes two of his castles and places them as shown in the diagram.
Collect food tokens.

Info: Castles bring in food. If a castle borders an agricultural area, it brings in as many food units as there are food symbols displayed. There are countryside tiles with one, two or three wheat symbols. Each symbol brings in one unit of food. If a castle borders two agricultural areas, it collects food from both.

Each player, therefore, counts the number of wheat symbols in the areas adjacent to his castles and takes the corresponding number of food tokens, which he then places in front of him.

Food tokens are not a means of payment or similar. They serve only to determine how many citizens the player can support.
Example (see diagram in the middle of page 3 of the rules booklet) Blue's castle borders two agricultural areas, one with 3 wheat and one with 1. Blue receives 4 food tokens.

The start player is determined (for example, whoever was most recently in Tuscany). He receives the start-player token and begins the first game year.

Set-up for Advanced Players

One of the players takes the countryside tiles places them face down and shuffles them thoroughly. Then he places one, still face down, on each of the three-sided areas on the gameboard. When all have been placed, they are turned face up. The different colouring of the paths is only of significance when the game is being played with fewer than 4 players -- see the diagrams on page 8 of the rules booklet.
One of the players (for example, whoever was most recently in Tuscany) begins the game with the placement phase. He takes one of his castles and places it on a hexagon of his choice. On this castle he then places three citizens. If the castle borders an agricultural area, the player receives the appropriate number of food tokens.
It is then the turn of the player to his right, and after that the next one to the right, and so on round the table in anti-clockwise order. Each places a castle, its three citizens and collects food tokens as appropriate.

Placement Rule: Between two castles there must be at least three empty hexagons.

When everyone has placed a castle, the person who placed last takes another turn. He places his second castle, its three citizens and collects any food tokens, as before. After him, his left-hand neighbour does the same and so on clockwise round the table.
The placement phase is complete once everyone has placed two castles. The left-hand neighbour of the person who placed the last castle becomes the start-player.

Game Objective
The object of the game is to have the most victory points at the end (after 6 game years). The game itself is split into @@game years''. Each year is divided into 8 phases.

Change of start-player.
Lay out cards (Voice of the People).
Income from quarries (in gold).
Population growth.
Five political rounds. In each round, each player in turn plays a card and executes the corresponding action.
The @@voice of the people'' is determined.
Migration of citizens.
Feeding the populace.

1. Change of start-player
The start player for the first year has already been chosen and isn't changed. At the beginning of each subsequent new year, the role of start-player is passed one to the left. Hand the start-player's token to the new start-player.

2. Lay out @@voice of the people'' cards
In each year, 4 cards are taken from the top of the deck and placed on the four circles provided for them. The card on the dark circle is placed face up; the others face down.
Info: The four cards form the voice of the people. There are nine of each card. The cards determine what the people want in each game year: health (buildings with blue curves), culture (buildings with white curves) or education (buildings with black curves).

3. Income from quarries
In turn, beginning with the start player, each player receives the income from any quarries he owns. For each quarry that a player owns he receives 1 gold coin. If a quarry borders two mountains, the player receives 2 gold coins.

4. Population growth
In turn, beginning with the start player, each player receives a population increase.
Each player places 1 citizen in each of his cities.
New citizens are always placed in the castle.

Restrictions: If a city already has 5 citizens but no marketplace, it receives no population increase. Only cities with a marketplace can have more than 5 citizens. If a city has 8 citizens (and therefore already a marketplace) but has neither a fountain nor a bathhouse, it receives no population increase. Only cities which have both a marketplace and either a fountain or a bathhouse can have more than 8 citizens. (There are no further limits.)
Important: For the purposes of these limits, all the citizens in a city are counted together: those in the castle and those in the city buildings.

5. Political Rounds 1-5
There now follow, one after the other, 5 political rounds. In each round each player takes one turn. On your turn you play one card and execute the action described on it. Then your left-hand neighbour takes his turn. A political round ends when everyone has had a turn. The next political round starts immediately.
Info: In the political rounds, players add extra buildings to their cities. The food or money that may be gained thereby is for the use of all the player's cities, but the glory belongs just to the one. The level of the attraction is depicted by the curves shown on the building tokens. There are curves in three colours: white for culture, black for education and blue for health. The more of each colour a player has in a city, the more attractive the city will be.

In a political round a player can play two different types of card:

There are no limits on what types of cards a player can play. He could, for example, play no action cards and 5 political ones.

A. Playing An Action Card
When someone plays an action card, he chooses one of the three possibilities on the card and announces his choice out loud. Then he turns the card face down as a sign that it has been used.

Possibilities with an action card:



(a) How you build
In principle, building is very simple! Play a card, take the desired building from the deck and place it on a vacant hexagon which borders either the castle or one of the city's other buildings.

(b) Important rules on building

Tips on Building:
Cost: Simple buildings cost you nothing. You only have to play an action card. However, if you wish to erect a building by means of a political card, it will cost you gold, less or more depending on whether the building is medium or large. Only the card @@Master Builder'' falls outside this framework: here you must also pay to erect a simple building.

Neighbouring sites: Many buildings work to your advantage only if they border the correct territories. So, for example, it makes a big difference if a farm is adjacent to a couple of agricultural areas with good yields. (For example, it is much better to be adjacent to an area with 2 wheat and an area with 3 wheat -- net 5 wheat -- than to a stretch of water and an area with just one wheat.)

Migration: As long as there are at least three undeveloped spaces between your city and that of one of the other players, your citizens will stay put. If the distance is shorter, migrations threaten should your city have fewer @@attraction points''. On the other hand, if your city has more attraction points, migration will work in your favour.

B. Playing Political Cards
Instead of playing an action card, you can, in each political round, opt to take one of the face-up political cards and immediately play that.
Important: A political card which requires the payment of gold may only be taken if the player actually has the gold available. You may not take such a card and then keep it until you gain more money.

If the deck is exhausted, the political cards that have been used are shuffled and a new deck formed.

There are two groups of political cards:

Political Cards with Buildings
With political cards with buildings, you proceed as described above. The buildings involved bring in more attraction points, but they cost money.
Important: You can only build the high-valued buildings with these political cards, not with the previously described action cards. It is also the case with these buildings that if all buildings of a particular type have been constructed, no more can be built (unless one becomes available again as a result of an enforced demolition).

A palace costs 1 gold and brings in 2 culture attraction points.

A cathedral costs 3 gold and brings in 3 culture attraction points.

A university costs 3 gold and brings in 3 education attraction points.

A hospital costs 1 gold and brings in 1 health attraction point and 1 education attraction point.
Exceptional feature: The hospital does not have to be built adjacent to water, even though it brings health. In this respect, the hospital is an especially desirable building. See the final scoring.
A hospital does not, however, replace the bathhouse or the fountain in the matter of the repeal of the upper limit of 8 citizens per city.

A bathhouse costs 1 gold and brings in 2 health attraction points. Political Cards with Actions

Master Builder:
With this card how much gold you pay determines which building you may erect.
For 1 gold: a simple building of your choice (farm, quarry, cloister school, statue, marketplace, fountain).
For 2 gold: an intermediate building of your choice (palace, hospital, bathhouse).
For 4 gold: a large building of your choice (cathedral, university).

Bread and Circuses:
With the help of this card you can increase the attractiveness of your city by placing one of your coloured citizen figures in a building. This figure brings in one additional attractiveness point, the type being dependent on the building in which you placed the figure.
Important: The effect of this card only lasts for the current year. Once the year has ended, you remove the figure and the building reverts to its normal value.
For 0 gold you place 1 of your coloured citizen figures in a building in your city.
For 2 gold you place 2 of your coloured citizen figures in a building in your city.
For 5 gold you place 3 of your coloured citizen figures in a building in your city.
A coloured citizen figure causes the value of the building in which the figure stands to increase by 1 point.
If you place the figure in a simple building, its value goes up from 1 to 2. So, for example, a cloister school containing a figure is worth 2 education attractiveness points. If you were to place the figure in a palace, the palace's value would increase from 2 to 3. If you place a coloured citizen figure in a hospital, you must state, when you place the figure, whether it is the education value or the health value that is being increased.
If you place 2 or more of these figures in a building, each figure increases the building's value by one. If you play a further @@bread and circuses'' card, you may add the figures to figures already placed.
Do not forget: Coloured citizen figures are not citizens. They do not have to be fed and when you are counting citizens you do not include these figures.

Golden Times:
With the help of this card you receive additional citizens.
For 0 gold you place 1 citizen in one of your cities.
For 2 gold you place 2 citizens in one of your cities. (Splitting is not permitted.)
For 5 gold you place 3 citizens in one of your cities. (Splitting is not permitted.)
Info: With additional citizens you can speed up the building of your city. However, these extra citizens will need to be fed!

Rich Harvest:
With this card you double the food production of one of your farms in one game year.
Take one of your coloured citizen figures and place it on one of your farms -- preferably the one with the highest yield. If, for example, it is placed on a farm which produces 4 food tokens, you may, in the next @@Feeding the Citizens'' phase (description later) count an additional 4 food tokens. The card @@rich harvest'' may not be played twice on the same farm in a game year. Important: At the end of the game year the figure is removed from the farm, which then reverts to its usual output.

Closeness to the People:
With this card you gain information about the people are currently wanting.
You may look at 2 of the face-down @@voice of the people'' cards. (Only you!) Place the cards back, face down in the places from where they came.
Info: With this you now know 3 of the 4 cards which represent the voice of the people and can, for example, adjust your building plans accordingly.
For 2 gold you may look at all of the voice of the people cards. You must state before you look at any of the cards whether you wish to look at 2 or 3.

End of a Player's Political Round
If the player whose turn it is has played a card and completed the corresponding actions, his part in this political round is complete. His left-hand neighbour now takes his turn. And so on round the table.

End of a Political Round
If all players have completed a political round, the phase ends. At this point each player should have 5 face-down (used) cards lying in front of him.

You now move on to the next phase -- the @@voice of the people'' speaks.

6. The Voice of the People is Determined
The 3 face-down voice of the people cards are turned face up. The four cards together now reveal the wishes of the people. This could be for culture, education or health.

In the following phase, and under certain circumstances, citizens will migrate to cities which are more attractive. (@@More attractive'' means buildings with more curves of the relevant colour.)

7. Population Migration
Beginning with the start player, each player in turn checks to see if citizens wish to migrate to his cities.
(a) The player examines each of his cities in turn.

(b) If a migration is possible.
The player whose turn it is checks whether his city has more attraction points in the preference (culture, education, health) selected by the people in his city than does its neighbour.

Special Case: If the @@voice of the people'' emphasized two wishes equally (each with 2 cards), both wishes take effect.

Whoever's turn it is decides for each of his cities which of the two wishes he wishes to employ. This wish (culture, education, health) then holds against all this city's neighbouring cities.

For example, if a player has 3 cities and the people are demanding culture and health, he could choose culture for two cities and health for one.

All players take their turn in clockwise order and each must decide for himself which demand is to operate for which city.

Example: The voice of the people has demanded health and culture. Player A chooses health for his first city, which is stronger in health than the neighbouring city of Player B. A therefore takes a citizen from B's city and places it in his own castle. Now it is B's turn. He chooses culture, where his city is stronger than A's and so he regains the citizen.

Before the demolition of buildings takes place, a player may redistribute the citizens within a city. This gives the player the opportunity of saving buildings from demolition and also of ensuring that any which are demolished are taken from the outskirts.

8. Feeding the Citizens
Beginning with the start player, each player in turn counts his citizens and his food tokens.

Penalty because of emigrating citizens
Normally a player may play 1 card in each political round -- 5 political rounds, 5 cards.

End of a Game Year
With that, a game year comes to a close. The 4 voice of the people cards are discarded.

Each player discards any political cards that are lying face down in front of him.

The three action cards remain with their owners and are turned face up, ready for use again in the next game year.

All players who have placed coloured citizen figures on to the board remove them and put them back into their stock.

The next game year begins.

The @@Special'' Sixth Game Year
In the last game year, the sixth, the players may no longer use the political card @@rich harvest'' in order to assure the feeding of their population.

The game ends after 6 game years.

Hint: Of the 27 voice of the people cards, 3 will be left face down in the deck.


The winner is the player with the most points. In the event of a tie, the tiebreaker is @@most gold''.

Example (page 7 of the rules booklet)

Founding a City (First picture):

Here is a very good place for a castle. It borders two agricultural areas, which together immediately bring in 4 food tokens, enough to feed 4 citizens. Nearby are a stretch of water and a mountain (a suitable site for a quarry, which will bring in gold).

First Year (Second Picture):
In phase 1 you receive an extra citizen as the population grows. One of the four citizens will have to remain in the castle, but the other three will be available for placement in new buildings.

First Political Round (Third Picture):
You use one of your action cards to build a farm. The farm borders two agricultural areas, which will once more bring in 4 food tokens. Now you have enough to feed 8 citizens.

Second Political Round (Fourth Picture):
You use your second action card and build a quarry next to the mountain. In the next game year this quarry will bring in 1 gold piece.

Third Political Round (Fifth Picture):
You use the third (and last) of your three action cards and build a market place. The citizen which you place in the marketplace is taken from the common stock. Now your city can hold up to 8 citizens. So far you have 5.

Fourth Political Round (Sixth Picture):
You take the face-up political card @@Bathhouse'', pay 1 gold and build the bathhouse next to the stretch of water. Now your city has no population limit.

Fifth Political Round: In the fifth political round you can't erect any more buildings, as you have no more surplus citizens. You have also used all three of your action cards and have no more gold with which to buy another political card. All you can do, therefore, is take the top card of the face-down political cards deck and place it face down in front of you, unused.

What happens next, in the second game year?
Nothing dramatic, since as you do not yet have any neighbours. In phase 3 you will collect a gold piece (for the quarry) and in phase 4 a new citizen will come to the city.

Strategy Tips
When you are placing your first castle, remember that you need to be able to feed your citizens. Founding your first city in a place that is adjacent to only one wheat symbol will almost guarantee its speedy decline.

Remember also to make sure that there is a good site for your farm! Place your castle so that there is still a site available for a farmhouse adjacent to one or more of the region's most fertile areas.

If you build a quarry -- in order to give yourself an income -- the best time to do it is in the first two game years. The later you leave it, the less time you will have to benefit from it.

Try to ensure that as many of your cities as possible have access to water. Cities without access to water can not hold more than 8 citizens and therefore can not contain more than 8 buildings.

Remember about the bonus points that are on offer at the end of the game. There are 3 bonus points on offer for every city that has buildings in all three categories.

The Game for Two Players (diagram at the top of page 8 of the rules booklet)
Rule Change:
In the 2-player game only the light green hexagons may be built on. All brownish and yellowy green hexagons are taboo. Information: The 8 red lines show where the raw material changes, i.e. stops.

The Game for Three Players (diagram in the middle of page 8)
Rule Change:
In the 3-player game only the light green and the brownish hexagons may be built on. All the yellowy green hexagons are taboo.
Information: A quarry on space 1 brings in gold, one on space 2 does not; however, each of the spaces labelled 3 brings in 2 gold.

The Game for Four Players (diagram at the bottom of page 8)
Rule Change:
In the 4-player game all the hexagons may be built on -- just as in the 5-player game.
Information: A farm on space 1 brings in 4 food tokens; one on space 2 only brings in 2.

Game Material: Game board; 141 building tiles; 22 countryside tiles; 130 citizens (dark grey); 20 coloured citizen figures (4 in each player colour); 32 gold coins; 65 food tokens (30 large and 35 small); 74 cards (27 voice of the people cards; 15 action cards; 32 political cards); 5 summary charts; 1 start-player token.

The Author: Gerd Fenchel, who was born in 1968, is a mechanical engineer and lives in Schwarzwald. He worked on this game for over 5 years before offering it to Kosmos. La Cittā is Gerd Fenchel's second game. His first, @@Kraut & Ruben'' was also published by Kosmos.

Translation: Stuart Dagger, April 2000.


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