During a walk in 2013, Gordon mentioned to Bri how terrible it would be if there were a board game that simulated the pains of finding an apartment. (At the time, he was fresh from an apartment hunt.) After discussing it a bit, soon after that day, they decided to try to actually create the board game.
The initial idea was have a simplified map of New York City (specifically Manhattan) divided into neighborhoods, and the end goal of the game was to compete against other players for the most fitting apartment, of which location was a major factor.
There would be an Oregon Trail style character setup where everyone starts out on a spectrum of advantaged to disadvantaged roles. (Think of the farmer with a headstart but less cash to start, and the banker with most cash but a farther starting point on the trail. In this case, you might be an artist low on cash with particular needs that counterbalanced that – open space requirements in an older building of an artsier hood – or you might be a day trader high on cash with higher needs for apartment attributes.) The goal was to find an apartment that struck the best balance of your character attributes and the associated housing needs.)
Chance cards, as borrowed from Monopoly, would allow random events to happen, ranging from catastrophic (Hurricane Sandy hits and removes available housing stock for everyone) to beneficial (one or all players are subject to job bonuses or city tax credits).
Apartment cards would be drawn from another deck, where players would take turns drawing multiple apartments, and then picking one before discarding the rest of the hand.
Around this time, they involved Kate and they tested it on their usual board game group friends in multiple dry runs. After the first run, three rounds were introduced to address the problem of some players sitting on apartment cards they drew from a deck for the rest of the game. Creating these additional rounds (apartment hunting cycles in weeks) were an attempt to incentivize players to stay in the game through the end, since better apartment cards could appear in subsequent rounds.
In the end, they put development on pause after a few trial runs, since the game mechanics weren’t quite making it fun enough to play yet. The lesson: Designing good board games is hard. Much respect to all board game creators out there.