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Cross Bronx Expressway




Base price £78.95
Price £71.95
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Product Description

Theme:      Family Games      Pre-Order     

Available for Pre-Order. Made the Cut.

Cross Bronx Expressway is the third game in the Irregular Conflicts Series. It simulates the socio-economic processes of urban development, and the human costs that result, as a competitive city-builder with collective loss conditions. Players control one of three asymmetric factions working in the South Bronx between 1940 and 2000, pursuing their own goals while cooperating to keep the borough viable. Through a card driven sequence of play, they will work to solve the economic challenges facing the area by building infrastructure and organizations, forming coalitions, mitigating the multitude of issues facing the vulnerable population, and managing resources to stay out of debt. Cross Bronx Expressway offers an engaging way to learn about the recent history of American cities, as exemplified by Jane Jacobs' pivotal work The Death and Life of Great American Cities, simulated through the case study of the South Bronx. Players will experience the conflicting incentives and complex factors shaping urban life and together determine the fate of the Bronx.


Prototype Game Board

During his 1980 Presidential campaign, California Governor Ronald Reagan took a tour of the South Bronx. As he walked the same streets that President Jimmy Carter had walked three years prior, what Reagan witnessed was a scene so devastating it caused him to remark that he had not "seen anything that looked like this since London after the blitz." Cross Bronx Expressway is a game about the social and economic processes that created this scene in the South Bronx and the impacts they had on the local population during the second half of the 20th Century.

A derelict building in the Bronx

These six decades, from 1940 to 2000, witnessed many major events that shook the nation and the world, including the Second World War, the Korean and Vietnam Wars, an international recession in the 1970s, and economic recovery and increased globalization during the 1980s and 1990s. Less well known, but no less impactful for the people involved, were events in the Bronx during the same period, which underwent rapid growth and demographic change in the 1940s and 1970s, suffered through the debt crises that affected the whole of New York in the 1960s and 1970s, and struggled through the 1980s towards a recovery at the end of the 1990s. This is a game about navigating all these events as a local stakeholder in the South Bronx.


Beginning in the 1940s, New York embarked upon infrastructure and urban renewal projects that would reshape the city, including the culturally rich working class neighborhoods of the South Bronx. The game takes its name from one particularly infamous infrastructure project, an expressway conceived of and championed by the city's "construction coordinator" Robert Moses, which from 1948 to 1972 gradually cut through the borough, disrupting neighborhoods and businesses alike. This, and other similar infrastructure projects, impacted the local fabric of existing communities in ways that are still having an effect to this day.


Prototype event cards

The South Bronx also underwent significant demographic, economic, and social changes during this period. The existing European immigrant population, which had watched World War II unfold from the Bronx, went on to use post-war financial incentives to leave for the suburbs. With the introduction of commercial air travel, a new wave of migrants arrived from Puerto Rico, while segregation in the South saw many African Americans moving to the area. This growing minority population led to redlining policies which restricted real estate investment. At the same time, roadway and infrastructure projects used eminent domain laws to seize property and move forward with large-scale redevelopment, often at the cost of those already living locally. Neglected housing and social services reached a boiling point in 1977, when a citywide blackout combined with looting and arson to devastate the Bronx.

Prototype Event Cards

Throughout this period, a wide cast of public figures would take interest in the Bronx, including Robert Moses, US Presidents like Ronald Reagan, and New York Mayors like Rudolph Giuliani. For some, the area served as a publicity prop, while others saw it as a set of statistics to be manipulated from a distance. Yet each of these manipulations, no matter how far removed, had their impact on those that were fighting for survival in the borough.

Prototype Event Cards

Cross Bronx Expressway models this rich history as a competitive economic city builder with collective loss conditions. Three playable factionsPublic, Private, and Communityattempt to save the city from the brink of bankruptcy and protect the Bronx's vulnerable population throughout this tumultuous period, while also working to achieve their own conflicting objectives. The game progresses using a shared event deck, divided into decades. Each decade features a semi-random series of historical cards whose effects will always occur but can be manipulated by the players. The factions perform actions around these events in order to mitigate their effects, while hoping to tip the balance in their favor. Infrastructure will be built and sometimes demolished, coalitions formed and abandoned, populations housed and displaced, and the vulnerable encouraged and discarded, while each faction struggles to stay out of debt and achieve their own objectives. At the end of each decade, census numbers are tallied to determine which factions have achieved their objectives and at what cost. If they manage to keep the city afloat, each decade provides the players with new opportunities to transform the South Bronx according to their own vision, but if too many vulnerable people are lost or if the city goes bankrupt, everyone will lose. Can you cooperate better than the historical actors did and pull the South Bronx back from the brink of disaster?

  • 22x34" mounted game board
  • Event Deck
  • Card-Driven Solo-System Deck
  • 152 Wooden Pieces
  • One half-size, full-color counter sheet
  • Three fold-out player aid sheets
  • One fold-out solo play aid
  • One custom 6-sided die
  • One standard 6-sided die
  • 1 Rule Book
  • 1 Playbook

Number of players: 1-3 (includes full solitaire system)

Game Designer: Non-Breaking Space
Game Developer: Joe Dewhurst

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