A card game
created by James Ernest
and published by his company, Cheapass Games
. In Fight City, there are fine mob-controlled restaurants, plenty of weapons to choose from, and a few powerful families that are very angry at one another. Starting from your base of locations, you build a loosely-knit power structure of henchmen
and accessories, hung together on mutual affinity and skills, and try to run all the other cartels in town out of money.
The mechanic in Fight City is ingenious and satisfyingly corporeal. All cards have Inputs and Outputs, in the form of small icons printed on the cards (Outputs in the top corners, Inputs usually in the bottom corners). All of every card's Inputs must always be covered by a matching Output. These Inputs and Outputs, with names like Influence, Fear, Food, Power, and Pressure, amount to alignments and determine how you must build your power structure. Location cards typically have Inputs for cash, meaning that you must place some of your 10 alloted coins (the things which you must not run out of if you want to stay in the game) on them. The side of the card on which an Output is placed also determines which cards can be built on top of which - "handedness" is a meaningful game attribute.
Character cards have Speed, Hit, and Block attributes, which can be enhanced by Weapons. (The Weapon cards are designed such that covering their Inputs with a character's Output makes their conferred bonuses line up visually with the character's own Speed, Hit, or Block stats.) Killing an opponent's character causes a hole in their power structure, and they must realign everything such that all Inputs are covered, or lose the cards they can't cover.
Fight City is played with two or more players, although I've never seen anyone play with more than two - perhaps because the game is sold as just two separate packages, with two mostly-distinct decks. This way of selling the game caused many buyers to believe FC was a collectible card game, and thus avoid it like the life-sucking leech they believed it to be. Other potential fans were turned off by the game's surface lack of silliness and human detail compared to other Cheapass material - in the designer's own words, "We don't need no stinkin' backstory!" As a result, Fight City isn't getting the supplementary cards and decks its design cries out for, and seems destined, despite its depth and enormous potential, to become one of the "forgotten" Cheapass Games.
Update: as of July 2001, both Fight City decks are for sale in a single ten-dollar box, and expansions are being speculated about.