Here is the fictional background to the storyline
You should understand the basics, as there isn't a lot of space to elaborate on, in the in-game text.
Arab-Asian mix; black hair, men sport short beards as clean shaven is too boyish. Hair shortening is commonly done by singeing it; blade cutting is for wealthy willing to risk infection.
Older women of prominence(head-of-household) may henna ink a false beard appearance to show there stature. Head-of-household must be 18 to 60years of age; with it traditionally being 26-52years as an acceptable norm.
They worship an Astro-Zora like deity(Daoist buildings) with a pantheon of Messengers(Daoist/Ancestral/Confucian). The Academy is a public educational institution for all youth regardless of class; though less fortunate may have to travel a greater distance for instruction.
Commoners seldom become Elite but marriage into an Elite family is an acceptable norm and one way for an Entrepreneurial Spirit to rise in stature to become Elite Head of Household.
The Elite are business people and sometimes politician; whatever enriches their family. Their workers ease their life and judge their lifestyle; weighing its worth against their own lot. Woo, to be a slum lord invites animosity, to not tax is to stifle the city as well as the will of its people. Provide for the peoples wants and all shall prosper.
Socialist-Republic is the best analogy. Commoners register there support for a local Elite Household which receive the electoral accounting equivalent to the tax revenue paid. Each collection the Commoner can choose a different Household but the previous balance remains with whomever was recorded for at those collections. For Elite voting purposes; the last 2 full 6 month periods(1 year) between feb-aug and aug-feb of tax revenues tabulated towards them is their allotment. Often the electoral vote runs several months behind current popularity.
City Mayor and City Council are selected/drafted into service based on the Elite Households voting; the term of service is 5 years. The mayor is exempt from being elected/drafted into a second term and must pass their Head of Household status to another family member while serving. Mayor doesn't dictate policy, rather the council devises plans that the Mayor may select from for a final vote. Certain appointments; city manager, bureaucrats, etc are the Mayors decision but can be overridden by a unanimous council vote.
The Capital has a Governor position for any Elite Head of Household of the Empire in addition to the Mayor-ship. Similar restriction of Powers are in place, but the Governor position is usually voluntary, draft is possible if no one wants the job. The term of office is 5 years, additional terms are allowed if no one wants to replace him/her or cant get the support votes, but the next term cannot be forced onto the Governor rather a draft vote is preformed on eligible Elite Head of Households.
The Council to the Governor are the City Mayors which meet if need be in times of crisis. Mostly they sign off or against the Governors messaged plans, bureaucrats tabulating the decision, Capital Mayor works out any wrinkles and the Empire continues to turn in the great Bureaucratic Engine. Those that desire the positions are usually pedaling influence and positioning people for their families benefit; no megalomaniacs, tyrant or dictator. The Bureaucracy would just chew them up and shit them out.
The Elite do not shirk their political responsibility; sometimes fearing being drafted into service if they are remiss in attending or politely negotiating with their peers. This keeps their business interests aligned fairly; avoiding conflicts of mutual interest and corruption. Not to say that Elections are without drafting a person into office for all the wrong reasons. The system will survive, regardless.
Going beyond the game mechanics
The Capital has say 100 Compounds which would make the City Council chaotic. Solution is to limit the eligible Elites to say 10 Families that must provide maintenance materials to the 20 Military Forts(10 Governor/10 City Mayor). 20 Forts is possible after all with a little exploit help. Materials mainly being Horses which is not part of Emperor mechanics and other equipment; armor and weapons upkeep. Extend this to the other Cities and you get a Horse industry that is also a sporting competition for the Elite Families. No rule about a family maintaining many Elite Houses in different cities/towns; after all families grow and sometimes merge/split.
What to do with young couples? Send them to an old Abandoned Elite house in a town or small city, to make a baby; proving there worth to the family. The Siheyuan is too low to qualify for an Elite Household and there age would be too low traditionally to be a Head of Household. They could raise horses and watch over family business interests with a little help. Besides who wants a newlywed couple in a family environment; all that PDA and nighttime noise.