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No city lasts forever

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University of Winnipeg geography professor Ryan Smith wants you to build the biggest city you can.

And bleed it dry until every last resource is gone.

In about an hour.

For fun.

The 29-year-old budding board game entrepreneur recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to get his board game CITY on store shelves everywhere. The money raised over the month-long campaign will go towards manufacturing and packaging the game.

Smith says the concept for the game was hatched about a year ago when he and his sister came up with a cut-and-paste version of it.

Smith has been refining it ever since.

"I thought, ‘What the heck? Let's see how far I can take this'," he said. "It took a long, long time developing the art and videos and everything. Basically, it's just been a long road to see how far I could I actually take this, and it seems like pretty far if this thing goes through."

He says the point of the game is for players to build the largest city possible before the resources run out.

"Your goal is to consume everything as quickly as possible. You build little mines and factories and you log all the wood and farm all the fields and in that way you start collecting resources faster and faster. The game has acceleration to it. It starts kind of slow, but then everything picks up the pace.

"Once the resources are gone, then that's it. Game over."

Whoever has the biggest piece of the city wins.

The lesson?

"You can draw out a whole bunch of lessons I think about the effect cities have on the environment, the human impact on the environment, use of resources and city planning," he says. "It's a very capitalism-focused, resource-driven kind of doomsday game."

(Smith teaches human impact on the environment.)

Smith also says the game is partially akin to popular board game Settlers of Catan mixed with a bit with SimCity.

The Kickstarter campaign started at the end of January and runs until March 1. Smith is also supported by gaming store Game Knight on Osborne Street.

He adds he did not consider going on Dragon's Den to pitch his game because he hasn't got any sales yet.

"I've seen about six board games being presented on Dragon's Den and each one of them gets turned down because they want to see sales. They want value, and this doesn't have any sales yet."

He says if the Kickstarter campaign works and he gets some sales behind him, going in front of the Dragons will be next on his list of things to do.

"I'm viewing it as a big experiment. I have no idea where this is going. I'm doing it for the fun of it."

bruce.owen@freepress.mb.ca

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About Larry Kusch and Bruce Owen

Larry Kusch has been a journalist for 30 years, the last 20 with the Winnipeg Free Press. His is one of the newspaper's two legislative bureau reporters.

Raised on a Saskatchewan farm, he received an honours journalism degree from Carleton University in 1975.

At the Free Press, Larry has also worked as a general assignment reporter, business reporter, copy editor and assistant city editor.

Bruce Owen joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 1990 after four years working in other media.

He's worked in a number of positions at the Freep, including pet columnist, assistant city editor and police reporter. Right now he takes up space at the Manitoba legislature.

Bruce is one of five reporters who won a National Newspaper Award for the paper’s coverage of the 1997 Flood of the Century. He's also the recipient of the 1996 Volunteer Centre of Winnipeg Media Golden Hand Award and the 1995 Canadian Federation of Humane Societies Media Commendation Award.

In a past life Bruce worked at YMCA-YWCA Camp Stephens. He has a blog where he and others write about camp and the people who worked and played there.

You can also find Bruce on Twitter where he posts and retweets all sorts of stuff.

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