Let’s start a Band
Imagine yourself sitting on the jury of one of the many talent shows we can see on television. But now you don’t have to look for someone with a great voice, you need to put a band together. Do you have what it takes?
Because this is your moment. You’ll need to find someone with the vocal capacities of Freddy Mercury, with the crazy guitar skill of Jimmy Hendrix and let’s not forget the slamming base of Mark King.
Only then can you build a fan base, will the sales of your records hit the sky and can you buy yachts and sport cars.
It’s time to start a band!
How did I come across this game?
I read about this game on bordspelmania.eu (the Dutch boardgaming forum) and was interested because of the theme of the game. I’ve always been really into music and the prospect of making my own band really appealed to me.
The topic on bordspelmania.eu mentioned the website where more information could be found and where the game could be ordered.
Let’s start a Band turned out to be a game published by the small Dutch publisher Elven Ear Games and is made by Dutch designer @. Only 100 copies were to be made of this game and some components were going to be handmade.
Read everything on the website and read the rules and I decided to order one of the hundred copies of this game.
Because it was announced I knew some of the components were going to be handmade. Awesome for sure, but I was also a little bit afraid that the game would be like most print&play game I make: nice to play but you’ll always see it’s handmade.
After watching the unboxing video on youtube most of my concerns were taken away and I really was looking forward to receiving the game.
The game itself came in a sturdy metal box with the front and back of the game pasted upon the metal box. First points scored by the game. The metal box looks nice and it’s perfect to bring along on vacation or to friends.
Upon opening the box you’ll find all the components you’ll need to play a game. Amongst other items we have the rulebook, the cards which allow you to bring out records, the cards with all the different artists, the cards with the luxury items, the gameboard and of course the guitars which players will use to keep score of the points can be found inside the box.
All components look good and really invite the players to set up the game. The artwork on the cards and board, which is done by the designer himself, looks fun.
Minor point of criticism on my end is the size of the cards which are used to play the game. The smaller game board isn’t a big issue, but the cards really are too small for my taste. Because they are small I have some difficulty holding the cards in my hand and choosing which cards to play.
What’s the purpose of this game?
Basically you need to score as many points as you can before the festival starts after 8 months.
In these 8 months (rounds) you can score lots of points in lots of ways. Record sales will earn you points during the game as will ending up in the first place in consecutive months. But at the end of the game you will also earn points for the fans you have and the female members of the band.
How does it work?
Each round you start by adding one member to your band. Your choice is somewhat limited because every artist has a different colored border and there can only be one band member of each color in your band. Each new member will come into your band on the right side of your board, moving over all other members to the left.
Once every manager has selected a new band member it’s time to create and sell records. To do this you can take two broken records per turn and add them to your hand. The broken records can be combined with each other forming the title the song the band has made. Also the records, if combined in the correct fashion, will earn you fans and money.
At the end of each round every player who has created a song will check to see how much records he has sold. That will be determined by looking at the numbers of your band members. Whoever sold the most records will take first place on the charts.
Sounds easy enough right? Well here’s where the tactical twists are added to the game.
First off some of the band members have special abilities which can be used if the band member has reached the appropriate level of fame. These abilities will either improve your own band/songs or will bug your opponent. Sometimes it’s best to wait before using the ability because the higher the fame level of the artist the better the ability.
Oh hadn’t I mentioned the fame levels yet?? Each turn of the number of your band member is higher than the number you rolled on the d4-dice your band member raises his level of fame by 1. Once he or she has reaches level 4 he or she will have become to famous for your band an leave the band for a solo carrier (e.g. leaving the band and the game).
The records show either fans or money and by combining those they will earn you one of them. Sometimes the records will also cause the members of your band to switch places in the band, which will have an effect on the record sales. You know which records you need and when paying attention you’ll also know which records your opponent will need. So will you choose the records you need of will you bug your opponent?
I already mentioned you can reach first place on the charts, which is great off course. However if you remain on the number one spot of the charts for multiple months in a row you will earn bonus points. Your opponent will do whatever it takes to prevent this. Maybe even give up some fans, because giving up fans will earn you extra record sales.
And of course there is the way you put your band together, because having female band member in your band at the end of the game will earn you bonus points.
The game is good as it is and I don’t see any expansions of this being necessary or hoped-for.
I’m not particularly chauvinistic, however I do have a soft spot for people who have the courage to dare to do things their self. Designing yourself, doing the artwork yourself and publishing yourself. As we say in Holland: ‘Petje af’. I hadn’t played any games of this designer before, but when I read about this game, the way he was doing things himself (instead of through a big publisher) and the fact that he was Dutch I knew I had to at least give this game a change.
And I must say I was pleasantly surprised by this game. The components are fine, though – as mentioned before – I would have preferred slightly larger cards.
The game itself plays pretty quick and is fun to play. The rules are easy to explain, but the game has more depth than you would think at first. The special abilities of the band members can often be used to better yourself, but also to bug your opponent. Also you have to choose between keeping you fans for points, or trading them in for more sales (and perhaps some points on the short run).
We have enjoyed the game as a two player game and I’m curious to see how it plays out with 3 or 4 players. I guess with more players it will be even more difficult to stay on top of the charts!
I really like the theme of the game and because the game play is very enjoyable I suspect this game to get quite some plays. Definitely a good addition to my game collection.
Credits for the pictures go to BGG-users W. Eric Martin and ThomasJansen