From Ulm to New York 1901, board games have embraced stories about urban development – but can they teach us anything useful about planning?

In 1666 a terrible fire raged through London, destroying most of the medieval city and consuming more than 13,000 houses, churches and monuments. It is estimated that at least 70,000 of the city’s 80,000 residents had their homes reduced to cinders. In the ashes of this tragedy, London needed to be rebuilt, creating myriad problems and opportunities.

This massive rebuilding effort is the theme of Martin Wallace’s board game, London, which is set in the immediate aftermath of the fire and encapsulates 250 years of ensuing history. Players must decide what and where to build, and deal with poverty and paupers – all with the aim of rebuilding the great city district by district.

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