we have played the game several times now and we have modified the rules as follows in order to make the game more balanced:
1. Commute time goes up by 2 minutes if upzoning near/on C but not D.
2. Commute time goes up by 3 minutes if up zoning near/on neither C nor D
3. rent goes up 2 spaces per 25.000 units missing at the end of the round
4. rent goes down 1 space per 50.000 units exceeding demand at the end of the round
5. Commute time goes up by 2 minutes in all counties per 25.000 units missing at the end of the round
6. Commute down goes down 1 minute only in counties where up zoning occured per 50.000 units exceeding demand at the end of the round.
7. Deal 2 objective cards per player.
From the start we found that the game is more balanced that way and there is still room for more difficulty by adding more goal cards.
Any thoughts from the designer?
How many players do you typically have in a game? I think this does look like a good way to have balance while limiting the number of goals to keep track of in a 2 or 3 person game. I like the idea of asymmetry in rent going up vs. rent going down as it is more realistic, and it also means it's harder to just intentionally come up short and catch up later.