City of the Big Shoulders

Become an Entrepreneur & Help to Rebuild Chicago

Set at the turn of the century, shortly after the second great Chicago Fire, City of the Big Shoulders is a euro-style, resource management and worker placement game with an 18xx-style economic engine. Take on the role of entrepreneur and investor as you build one of 15 historical companies, hiring workers, acquiring resources, and producing goods to line your pockets and become Chicago’s greatest resident.

Game Features
  • Worker Placement — You will place partners on action spaces to perform actions on behalf of your companies.
  • 18xx-Style Stock Mechanics — You will start companies, trade in shares, buy and sell shares of other companies and track your companies value on a stock track over the course of the game. At the end of the game you will sell all your shares to the bank to calculate a final payout and add to your total score. The most money wins!
  • Resource Management — You will manage coal, wood, livestock and steel in order to produce goods which you will sell to gain revenue.
  • Tile Placement — You and your opponents will select which actions are available each round in a dynamically generated game, creating a complete different experience every time you play.
  • Engine Building — You will hire workers to man your factories, hire managers to gain production bonuses, hire sales people to sell your goods at higher prices and acquire capital assets which grant special powers to your company further improving its abilities and value creation.

City of the Big Shoulders Second Edition is coming soon to Kickstarter!

Get notified when City of the Big Shoulders launches on Kickstarter

Experience Chicago’s Golden Age over the course of five decades, each consisting of five phases

CotBS is played over 5 decades
Stock Phase

In the Stock Phase you will have the opportunity to buy and sell stocks, investing in both your company and your opponent’s companies. Your goal is to gain as much wealth as you can, as quickly as you can so having a keen eye for detail, and an intuition for market conditions will help you consider which companies are worth investing in, and which aren’t worth your time​.

Stock Phase

During the building phase you will chose a building to play, one to discard and one to hold onto which you may play in the following decade. By constructing these building you create additional action spaces available to all players on the game board. With over 40 different buildings you and your opponents will have a unique experience every time you play the game.

Building Phase

On the Action Phase you will send your Partners across Chicago to hire workers, recruit salespeople, acquire Capital Assets and take actions on behalf of your companies, setting them up to run efficiently during the Operating Phase.


In the Operating Phase your company will acquire resources, craft goods and sell them to the Demand Track, distributing them to consumers throughout the Midwest. Once you have sold your goods you will calculate your company’s earnings and decide if you should pay your shareholders or withhold your company’s funds. This decision will affect your stock price, either raising it or lowering it depending on what you choose to do.

Operating Phase

During the Cleanup Phase this other do

CotBS is 2-4 Players, and 2.5 hours for ages 14+

Learn the Rules

Watch the Playthrough


The Burden of Destiny Expansion

The Burden of Destiny expansion expands upon the original gameplay in City of the Big Shoulders to include five new and unique companies to bolster your empire. Make your mark across Chicago with companies such as Arnold, Schwinn & Co., Oscar Mayer, and Quaker Oats.

This expansion, which can’t be played on its own, also features upgraded, premium card-stock money and wooden tokens to represent all new and base-game companies alike.

The Expansion Includes
  • 5 New, Historically-based Companies — Quaker Oats Company, American Flyer, Arnold Schwinn & Co., Florsheim Shoes, and Oscar F. Mayer & Bros.
  • Wooden Disc Upgrades — 30 Wooden disc upgrades and branded sticker sheet to upgrade all company tokens for both the expansion and the base game.
  • Upgraded Cardstock Money — Replacing the base game paper money, the upgraded money is printed on 310gsm ivory-core cardstock.
The Burden of Destiny Expansion


"Outstanding game. Wonderful mix of 18xx and Arkwright in a comfortable and accessible 2.5 hours. Straightforward setup and easy to learn while still offering tons of strategic depth. Can't recommend it highly enough. Great Job!"

–BrushedStatue (BGG User)

"An exceptionally solid worker placement game that outclasses Arkwright in every possible way, seamlessly integrating 18xx-style market mechanics."

–BigD527 (BGG User)

"I found it to be an interesting mix of tough worker placement decisions with the dynamic company ownership of 18xx games. Really liked it."

–uncleskid (BGG User)

"This game is the perfect love child of 1846 and Arkwright. I got to demo the full game and it was everything I had hoped for and more."

–Shalashaska90 (BGG User)