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Notes & FAQs

Notes & Tips from the Game Designer

  • Are all the Vice Presidents (VPs) bad?
  • What's a BAD IDEA anyway? Aren't there any GOOD IDEAS?
  • What does it look like when a player is going well?
  • What does it look like when a player is going poorly?
  • What's the all time highest burn rate any player has had?
  • What's the winning strategy?
  • What's your favorite card?
  • What are you proudest about BURN RATE?
  • What are you proudest about Cool Studio?

  • Rules FAQs

  • How does the HIRE card work?
  • How does the BAD HIRE card work?
  • Can a development manager work on BAD IDEAS like an engineer?
  • How do the special purple cards work?
  • What happens if all the employees in a department are hired?
  • When I HIRE an employee, can I use him or her to play other cards immediately?
  • How do the "contractors x2" cards work?
  • Can I rearrange my contractors and engineers?
  • If my bank account falls to exactly zero, am I still in the game?
  • Can I play and discard in the same turn?
  • Can I play cards during my opponents turn?



  • Notes & Tips from the Game Designer

    Are all the Vice Presidents (VPs) bad?
    No! Some of them are very good. Ben Zhao, for example, is a great Finance VP. He will pay for himself many times over if you can get him (and keep him).

    What's a BAD IDEA anyway? Aren't there any GOOD IDEAS?
    A BAD IDEA is a dot-com idea that flopped because it didn't make money. Some of them were pretty cool, I admit, but most of the companies that made them went under anyway. Engineers toiled away on all those BAD IDEAS -- I was one of them. You'll notice that there aren't any GOOD IDEAS (meaning, profitable products?) in the deck. That's intentional.

    What does it look like when a player is going well?
    A player that is in good shape will have a company that is small and well balanced. The burn rate of a healthy company is probably between 4 and 8.

    What does it look like when a player is going poorly?
    A player that lets things get out of control will do poorly. A player doing poorly will have too many (or just plain bad) employees, a pile of Bad Ideas, and an army of expensive contractors. If your burn rate is higher than about 10, you should be concerned. If your burn rate is higher than 15, you should be VERY concerned.

    What's the all time highest burn rate any player has had?
    Thanks to some exceptionally bad play and some table talk that drew the combined wrath of his opponents, William Lee once reached a single-turn burn rate of 42. To my knowledge, this is the highest burn rate ever. Needless to say, that was his last turn in the game.

    What's the winning strategy?
    You know, aside from beating up on newbies, I tend to lose more than I win. I have a few play tips, but as far as coming up with a winning strategy, you're on your own. Here are some tips:

  • Play lots of cards. Any time you're only able to play one or two cards, you're probably better off discarding.
  • BAD HIRE cards are great. Not only can you force your opponents to take useless or (better yet) incompetent employees, you can also use them to burn through the labor pool to expose a key employee that you want for yourself.
  • Look for combination plays. A great move is to POACH a player's only sales manager, and then drop some nasty BAD IDEAS on him while he's defenseless.
  • A popular play is to POACH an opponent's engineer when it forces him to take on a contractor to replace him.
  • What's your favorite card?
    No doubt - Dawn Ledbetter, the worst VP in the game. Any similarity to your own VP of Sales is completely unintentional.

    What are you proudest about BURN RATE?
    The game works on a number of levels. On one level, it's a fun, unique, and fairly simple tabletop card game. On another, there are some interesting strategies that can be developed. And then there's the "realism" level - sometimes you stop and look at what's going on in the game, and you can say, "hey, that's really what happened!".

    What are you proudest about Cool Studio?
    The best part about being part of the dot-com gold rush, for me, was that it made Cool Studio possible. A bunch of talented people - my friends - were all let go at the same time. It made for a great and diverse talent pool for the company. It's been a privilege to work with them.

    Rules FAQs

    How does the HIRE card work?
    When you play a HIRE card you choose from the four employees on top of the labor pool and add any one of them to your company, regardless of that employee's skill or department color. But you can't rummage through the piles to find a specific employee; you have to choose from the four on top.

    How does the BAD HIRE card work?
    You choose from the face-up employees on top of the labor pool, and force your opponent to take one. So, having a good Human Resources employee working for you is important: their skill allows you to play HIRE cards, and blocks your opponents from playing their BAD HIRE cards on you.

    Can a development manager work on BAD IDEAS like an engineer?
    No. They just work with the rest of the managers, helping you play your cards. My apologies to all the dev managers out there that would rather be writing code.

    How do the special purple cards work?
    Unlike the other Play cards, the purple "Vice President" Play cards are used on a player with at least the printed number of VPs. LAYOFFS is defensive, so you need to have at least two VPs to play it on yourself. The others are offensive, so you need to play them on an opponent with at least two or three VPs. Any employees that leave a company go back to the bottom of the labor pool.

    What happens if all the employees in a department are hired?
    Then there are none left for you to hire! Hey, it was a tough labor market when times were good, remember? You'll have to wait until one of them is FIRED or laid off and goes back into the labor pool, or you'll have to POACH one from an opponent.

    When I HIRE an employee, can I use him or her to play other cards immediately?
    Yes.

    How do the "contractors x2" cards work?
    They're for your convenience, and they count as two contractors for the purpose of working on BAD IDEAS. Any time you need to, you can "make change" with two "contractor x1" cards.

    Can I rearrange my contractors and engineers?
    Yes. You may freely move engineers and contractors from one BAD IDEA to another, as long as all the BAD IDEAS are accounted for.

    If my bank account falls to exactly zero, am I still in the game?
    Yes. You are in the game until your bank account goes below zero.

    Can I play and discard in the same turn?
    No. You may play OR discard, but not both. Deciding when to take a discard, or "go out for a round" as the playtesters liked to call it, is an important aspect of the game.

    Can I play cards during my opponents turn?
    No.

     
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