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Shaken, not stirred

Occasional ramblings on playing and designing boardgames (by the designer of Extra! Extra!)

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Shaken #52. How to play Extra! Extra!

Andrew Bond
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Inspired by Vital Lacerda's 'How to play' geeklists for Vinhos, CO₂, and Kanban: Automotive Revolution, I have prepared a 'How to play' Geeklist for Extra! Extra!, my newspaper-themed boardgame published by Mayfair Games.

At present it is just a work in progress, but hopefully will prove to be a useful aid to playing the game.

The full Geeklist is available here:

How to play Extra! Extra!

and the first 'completed' entry in the list is available here:

Phase 1: Refresh the Newsdesk & Morgue
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Sat Jul 11, 2015 10:41 pm
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Shaken #51. Expo! Expo! Read all about it

Andrew Bond
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Last weekend was the official launch of my newspaper game Extra! Extra! in the UK.

Unfortunately there was a last minute production problem during die-cutting that meant Mayfair Games had only a few copies of the game in transit to the NEC at Birmingham. And then UPS let them down and failed to deliver those copies to the Expo!

This was a big let down for Mayfair, especially since they had advertised the game in the show's brochure.

Despite this, I still managed to get my hands on a copy of the game, courtesy of Robert Carty of Mayfair, who brought it with him all the way from the USA in his luggage. Thanks Bob!

So, with UPS failing to deliver, I cracked open the only copy of EE in the UK to run two demo games at the Mayfair stand. Details of those demos are posted here First UK demos of Extra! Extra!.

Since getting back from the Expo, I have played the game twice with friends and have finally won my own game!! Here are some screenshots.

First, proof that I have (at last) won the game:



And this was my winning newspaper:



My winning score was 68 Circulation Points, made up from:

10 from a size-4 story
+5 from Extra! Extra! bonus on that story
6 from a size-3 story
+4 from Extra! Extra! bonus on it
6 from a size-3 story
3 from the headline
10 from the column
3 from 3 x the size-1 furniture tiles (classed 'classifieds' in the game)
Total = 47 CPs

+15 CPs for the first Gone-to-Press bonus
+ 3 CPs for the another Gone-to-Press bonus
+ 3 Copy Editor card (unused)
Total = 68 CPs
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Sun Jun 7, 2015 8:56 am
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Shaken #50. Recruitment, sales, and advertising

Andrew Bond
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Previously: Shaken #49. Headline news

I am going to wrap up this series of posts about Extra! Extra! - my newspaper-themed board game coming soon from Mayfair Games - by showing you the first floor of the Operations building.



There are several important spaces that a player can visit on this floor:

Advertising
Sales
Recruitment
Hire
Offhire

Advertising provides a quick injection of cash into your newspaper's coffers. Three different sizes of ad can be claimed by one reporter: size-1 earns you $100, size-2 earns $200, and size-3 $300. The ad must be placed on your newspapers page, but those spaces cannot then then be used to hold stories that will score Circulation Points. So you have a difficult decision to make: whether to take the money and sacrifice the points or to live without a cash injection.

Sales also provides cash income - but in return for giving up news leads (cards) from your hand. Each reporter here allows you to sell up to three leads for $100 each. This is a good place to go when you are likely to exceed the game's 14-card limit at the end of the round (Phase 8).



Recruitment allows you to employ another reporter. The cost for this is reflected in the salaries you pay from the beginning of the next round (Phase 4). Each reporter in your employ costs $100 from your fixed income of £400. You may employ a maximum of five reporters - provided you've saved up money to do so.

Hire is where you take on further Stringers - local reporters, fleet of foot, who can snatch a news lead from one of the six cities in Phase 5 before regular reporters arrive in Phases 6 and 7.



Finally, offhire allows you to temporarily dispense with a reporter in order to recover his $100 salary. This may sound like a pointless exercise, when there are so many other things you can do with a reporter, but this cash injection is immediate - the cash can be used in the current round (to raise a bid on another space, for example). Very powerful when needed.

I must give praise to Vicki Dalton for creating the artwork for the game board and the cards. It is very evocative of early 20th century newspaper rooms.

And another call out for Mark Zug for the box cover, which I reproduce here:




I may provide some more details about Extra! Extra! in future posts, but for the time being this ends this mini series.

Expect to see Extra! Extra! in the Spring of March 2015.
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Wed Jan 28, 2015 9:41 pm
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Shaken #49. Headline news

Andrew Bond
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Previously: Shaken #48. Late-breaking stories

The final two places on Extra! Extra!'s Editor's Desk that I want to show you are the Titles and Typesetting spaces.



The Titles space is where you claim either a Headline OR a column.

To claim a headline, you need to discard three news leads, as follows:

1 One news lead MUST be a Headline/Column card
2 One news lead MUST be in your newspaper's subject (e.g. Business, Sport, etc.)
3 The final news lead MUST be either another Headline/Column card, OR another card in your newspaper's subject, OR two matching cuttings

A newspaper MUST have a headline if it wants to go to press and end the game - assuming the remainder of the page is full.



Claiming a column is very similar, except four news leads are needed:

1 One news lead MUST be a Headline/Column card
2-4 The other news lead MUST be in three different subjects (suits) AND match the typewriter and camera symbols on the column tile being claimed (cuttings can be used here as well)



Finally, the Typesetting space allows players to rearrange the stories on his or her newspaper, flip tiles over from their 'A' to their 'B' sides (thereby changing their orientation from portrait to landscape or vice versa).

Not a space that you will need to send your reporter to very often (hopefully), but one that is a lifesaver if you make a mess of your paper's layout!

Expect to see Extra! Extra! in the Spring of 2015.

Next: Shaken #50. Recruitment, sales, and advertising
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Sun Jan 18, 2015 10:43 pm
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Shaken #48. Late-breaking stories

Andrew Bond
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Previously: Shaken #47. Claiming those stories

Continuing my rambling journey through the delights of Extra! Extra! - my newspaper-themed board game to be published by Mayfair Games in the Spring of 2015 - here is the explanation of the Interview, Late-Breaking Story, and Furniture spaces.

The Late-Breaking Story space is the least interesting one to talk about - and yet possibly one of the most important on the board. A reporter here allows its owner to claim any tile from the previous 6 spaces (see Shaken #42. What's it all about, Alfie? and Shaken #47. Claiming those stories for pictures of the board) that has not already been claimed.

Not that great? Well, if your reporter has been pushed out of the 4-Story space and you desperately want to claim a 4-Story this round (even if it is the one left behind by whomsoever claimed the first one), then the Late-Breaking Story space is for you. This is something regular players of the game soon realise - but it may be missed by newbies.

Furniture is a newspaper-industry term for fixed features that appear in a paper on a regular basis, such as crosswords, cartoons (comics), and radio* listings.

*The game is set in the 1920s, before television, so this is equivalent of today's TV listings.

By occupying the Furniture space, your report allows you to discard up to 2 Furniture cards to claim a matching 1 x 1 tile, worth 1 Circulation Point (CP) at the end of the game. They may not give you much by the way of points, but these tiles can be crucial to completing your newspaper before your rivals! (And claiming up to 15 CPs for being first to do so.) Here's one of the cards you need to claim a furniture tile:



Finally, the Interview space. With a reporter here, a player can claim a bonus tile that doubles the base value of the story on which it is placed. So, a size-6 story (normally worth 15 CPs) suddenly becomes worth a whopping 30 CPs! There a little more to it than that - the player must discard the same number of Interview cards as the size of the story on which he places the bonus AND he must already have that story on his newspaper. Difficult - but well worth it if you can pull it off.

Here's what an Interview card looks like:



(It can also be used as a Newswire card - split purpose.)

So, on the Editor's Desk, all that remains for me to explain are the Headline/Column (or 'Titles') space and Typesetting.

Expect to see Extra! Extra! in the Spring of 2015.

Next: Shaken #49. Headline news
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Sat Jan 17, 2015 1:00 pm
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Shaken #47. Claiming those stories

Andrew Bond
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Previously: Shaken #46. Syndicated stories from the Newswire

Stories in Extra! Extra! can be claimed from the first floor (shown in Shaken #42. What's it all about, Alfie?) and from the ground floor (below) of the Editor's Desk.



To claim a story, a player needs to discard a number of news leads from the same suit that matches the size of the story - 6, 4, 3, or 2 cards. The symbols on the cards must also match those on the story.

Here's an example:



This size-3 story require 3 news leads, two copy (typewriters) and one photograph (camera). And here are the cards to claim it:




But what if you haven't got the right cards to claim the story?

Well, two cuttings from the morgue (see Shaken #44. In the Morgue) can substitute for any news lead that you do not have (subject to the requirement that at least half the news leads must be cards).

Next time I'll describe the other spaces on the ground floor of the Editor's Desk - Interview, Late-Breaking Story, and Furniture.

Expect to see Extra! Extra! in the Spring of 2015.

Next: Late-breaking stories
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Fri Jan 16, 2015 10:11 pm
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Shaken #46. Syndicated stories from the Newswire

Andrew Bond
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Previously: Shaken #45. Sending reporters to gather news leads

Another place where you can obtain newsleads in Extra! Extra! - as well as from the News Desk and the Morgue - is from the Newswire. The Newswire contains syndicated stories from news agencies such as Associated Press, Reuters, and Agence France-Presse.



The Newswire appears on the top floors of the Sources building (above) and the Opeartions building (not shown). There are six placeholders available for news leads, three in each building.

At the start of each round (in Phase 1), three new cards ...

one Copy (blue back)
one Photo (red back)
one Feature (green back)

... are placed in the Newswire, displacing any existing cards (3 are moved in, 3 are moved sidewards, and 3 are moved out). So there is a continual turnover of cards.

So, how does a player claim a news lead from the Newswire? By having a reporter in one of the spaces shown above during Phase 7, Activation, AND handing in a Newswire/Interview card (below).



Depending on which space the reporter occupies, his owner can claim 1, 2, or 3 cards from any of the 6 spaces along the Newswire.

Next time I'll explain where the news leads are used.

Expect to see Extra! Extra! in the Spring of 2015.

Next: Shaken #47. Claiming those stories
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Mon Jan 12, 2015 10:43 pm
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Shaken #45. Sending reporters to gather news leads

Andrew Bond
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Previously: Shaken #44. In the Morgue

Last time - in this ongoing series of posts about Extra! Extra!, my newspaper-themed boardgame - I covered how you get cuttings and explained that two cuttings of the same type can be used as a news lead when claiming a story.

If you go back to Shaken #42. What's it all about, Alfie?, you will see a size-6 story "where the typewriter and camera symbols indicate the cost for claiming the story". That's what news leads are - payment for those typewriter and camera symbols.

A 'copy' (i.e. text) newslead is represented by the typewriter symbol
A 'photo'(graph) newslead is represented by the camera symbol

So the cuttings can be used as newsleads, but so too can cards that your reporters pick up when they visit the six cities in the game. You saw the first three of these in Shaken #41. The slow reveal... - New York, London, and Paris. And below you can see the remaining three - Rome, Berlin, and Tokyo - which are located on the ground floor of the Operations building.



When you get to Phase 7 of the round, Activate reporters, each player who has a reporter in a city can take ALL of the cards located below that city's space. This can vary between 0 and 6 cards in extreme cases, but would normally be 1, 2, 3, or 4 cards. The more cards you pick up the better. (I'll explain how the cards get there in a later post.)

Thus, if there are a lot of cards available in Berlin, you might want to be the player whose reporter is standing there at the start of Phase 7. So, during Phase 6, Place reporters, you want to send one of your (initially) 2 hacks to Berlin.

Other players may - on their turn in the same Phase 6 - decide to push you out of Berlin by placing their reporter there with a bung, a bribe, a fee, i.e. money. A reporter + $100 displaces a reporter with no fee. (Consider it the cost to get people to tell their story to one newspaper rather than another.)

So are you done? Not at all! Since displaced reporters are immediately returned to their owners, on your next turn you can reclaim Rome with a reporter and $200 (or more). Fees are also returned to their newspapers with displaced reporters. This goes on until all but one newspaper has pulled out of the fight - often when they have insufficient money left to overbid.

Since money is in very tight supply, you are going to have to think carefully where you commit your limited budget in order to secure the news leads/cards you want.

This is the heart of the game and what makes it so much fun to play!


And if you are successful, you pick up some cards, looking like this (this one from New York):



Next time, I will discuss another area of the gameboard where you can obtain (syndicated) stories - the Newswire.

Expect to see Extra! Extra! in the Spring of 2015.

Next: Shaken #46. Syndicated stories from the Newswire
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Sun Jan 11, 2015 5:00 pm
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Shaken #44. In the Morgue

Andrew Bond
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Previously: Shaken #43. Fill that page up with stories

So now I need to show you the Morgue, which - according to Wikipedia - is where newspaper reporters kept old article clippings in case they became of use later. In modern newspaper businesses, the term 'Morgue' is used to describe the files that hold past issues flat.

The newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst forbid his papers from keeping a morgue file on him.

The Morgue in Extra! Extra! is found on the first floor of the SOURCES building:



This is where players can pick up 1-3 cuttings/clippings: copy or photo. Each cutting serves as half a news lead - when a player has two matching cuttings, he has a complete news lead to use when claiming a story.

The other news leads are cards that reporters can pick up when they visit the six cities in the game - but we'll get to that next time.

Note that the Morgue is also the place where you will find a handy Round Summary, which I will explain in a later blogpost. The key things now to note are:

d10-1 Phase 1: is when the cuttings in the Morgue are refreshed, so there are three of each type (copy/photo) available
d10-6 Phase 6: is when players take turns to place their reporters on the gameboard. Most spaces are contested - only one reporter can stay there - and there is a bidding system that resolves the competition
d10-7 Phase 7: is when players activate their reporters - in the order indicated by the red arrows - and collect their rewards. In the Morgue, that will be either:

3 from the 1st space, 3 cuttings (one copy, one photo, and one other of the player's choice)
2 from the 2nd space, 2 cuttings (one copy and one photo)
1 from the 3rd space, 1 cutting (whatever is left)

So, you want to be the player who grabs that first space!

Expect to see Extra! Extra! in the Spring of 2015.

Next: Shaken #45. Sending reporters to gather news leads
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Sun Jan 11, 2015 6:00 am
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Shaken #43. Fill that page up with stories

Andrew Bond
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Previously: Shaken #42. What's it all about, Alfie?

When I left you last time, I asked (rhetorically) where do the stories go?

Well, since Extra! Extra! is a newspaper game, you know the answer already! On your newspaper, of course...



You play the game on one of three different page sizes:

Tabloid 3 x 4 = 12 spaces to fill
Berliner 3 x 5 = 15 spaces
Broadsheet 4 x 6 = 24 spaces

On top of that, you can play on one page only (the 'Front Page Scenario'); on two separate pages ('Cover Pages Scenario'); or across two pages ('Centre-spread Scenario').

So the game provides a lot of variety in terms of game length.

Want a 30-45 minute game?
thumbsup Play the Front Page Scenario on a Tabloid newspaper.

Want a 90 minute game?
thumbsup Play the Centre-spread Scenario on the Tabloid.

Want a 120 minute game?
thumbsup Play the Cover Pages Scenario on a Berliner.

But now you are asking, what do I need to get those stories onto my newspaper? The answer is reporters, cuttings (photo and copy), and money.



And if you want to know where cuttings come from, you will need to join me in the Morgue... surprise

Expect to see Extra! Extra! in the Spring of 2015.

Next: Shaken #44. In the Morgue
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Sat Jan 10, 2015 9:49 am
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