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Subject: Study the labor pool rss

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Richard Koehler
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If you're good at counting cards, here's some advice: watch the labor pools.

Most of the labor pools have eight employees. Some of them are great employees, some are a curse. While you can always see the employee on top, you should always be thinking about what cards are underneath. Here are two key plays that take advantage.

The Dawn Ledbetter Sneak Attack
Suppose you have a HIRE card, a playable BAD HIRE card, and some sales chump like Martha Thule is sitting on top of the sales stack. Suppose you have been counting sales employee cards, and you have seen six other salespeople go by without seeing Dawn Ledbetter yet. That means you know that Ledbetter is coming up next. Here's your move:

HIRE Martha Thule. Players will think you're crazy until you flip the next sales employee over and it's Ledbetter. Relish the realization and horror as you play your BAD HIRE and send Ledbetter over to take over one of their sales teams.

This is even better if you can immediately play a FIRE card that sends Martha back into the pool, as it cycles three cards from your hand, leaves you unaffected, and leaves someone else to deal with Dawn.

The Ben Zhao Gambit
This one's best played late in the game when stretching just one or two more turns can make the difference. Suppose you have a couple HIRE cards, or better yet a BAD HIRE and a HIRE. Suppose you also have one or two of those blockbuster FUNDING cards, but you can't play them because your finance manager is too weak.

If you've been keeping tabs on the finance employees, you may be aware that Ben Zhao is now near the top of the stack. Even if you're not sure that he's next, sometimes even a 1-in-2 or 1-in-3 chance is worth taking a shot. Clear the top finance guy with a HIRE/BAD HIRE and hope that Ben comes up next for your other HIRE. And sometimes you have no choice but to make the gamble.

Do the math -- if it pays off, you're bringing on an extra 2-3 burn in exchange for the play of a +20 or +15 funding card. That's an immediate ROI. And I've always said that a player with Ben Zhao can never be considered out.
 
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