In Startup Fever, the players are company founders in Silicon Valley and manage money and employees. Hiring Nerds (engineers) creates better products, which attract more users, who in turn generate money. Hiring Suits (Sales) generates more money, which can be used to hire more nerds. At the end of every year the best products steals users from the other products during showdown. Employees initially are very eager to stay with a company, but over time are more likely to move to competing companies, unless they get further (monetary) incentives.
Each player starts with 2-4 products (depending on how many players there are) and four event cards. The game is played over several years. Every year each product gets one turn, i.e. every player gets to play 2-4 times per year. Players adopts users, based on the number of engineers and a die roll. Then they earn revenue, based on the number of users and the number of suits. Third, the player can use money to hire more employees. Soon, no more new hires are available, and players must steal (or "poach") employees from other players. The other players try to spend their money to prevent "poaching" from happening. During the product show down at year's end users shift towards products that invested wisely. Outside the regular turn order, event cards can be played by any player at any time, both to further their own objectives as well as to hinder other players.
To win, a players needs to obtain the largest number of users. Players need a good mix of nerds and suits, and make smart decisions throughout the game. The constant back and forth over limited resources (employees) is different from many other resource based games and adds a lot of fun. The winning strategy depends to a large extend on guessing/reacting to other player's strategy.