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Subject: Media & Negative Legislation Improvements? rss

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Michael Fairchild
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I love this game.
That said, I read the designer's own Design Analysis on it and I agree with him...Media is certainly the weakest.

I was curious what other people thought on that, and if they use any simple tweaks to improve Media.

Also any opinions on this tweak...

For synergy bonus, you are always considered to have 1 Media more than what is actually owned.
So 1 Media owned pays $2 synergy bonus, 2 Media pays $5 synergy bonus, etc...
This is in addition to the normal Media rule "Sponsored"

Too much? Not enough? Any other easy ideas?


In addition, he pointed out that there is too much Negative Legislation that rarely, if ever, gets chosen to be enacted. So they just end up as wasted space on the board, limiting the real choices.
I was curious about a way to ensure that some Negative Legislation gets used.
What is the thought on this tweak?....

When possible, Negative Legislation must be selected to satisfy protests.
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Michael Fairchild
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Or, what I think is a better... though a bit more involved... fix for negative legislation....

1) First split the legislation deck into 2 decks... one with negative legislation, the other with positive. Whatever you deem negative or positive is fine. It will probably end up roughly equal amounts.

2) Draw 5 from the positive deck for the legislation that the player's will choose from for their campaign promises.

3) After a president is elected, add 3 from the negative deck.

4) The president still gets to enact 3 legislation, but at least 1 of them MUST be from the 3 added by the negative deck. The other 2 that he enacts can be from any of the other 7 legislation, keeping or breaking his other campaign promises as normal.

5) Protests must still be satisfied as normal. But put a limit on the number of protests drawn to only 1 per round. So only the first protest drawn each round will be activated. Any more drawn in the same round are just discarded.

My reasoning for this variant: Part of the problem is people usually don't choose negative legislation for their campaign promises. Roughly half the deck is negative so on average only 3 of the 6 that are drawn for campaign promises are positive. This makes most campaign promises very similar, if not exactly the same.
The above variant will only have 5 cards for campaign promises instead of 6...but they are all positive. So there should be more variety in campaign promises between players.

It will also add a bit more of a bluff element because all players are lying about at least 1 campaign promise (since at least one MUST change to those negatives that are drawn after the president is elected). You just don't know which one (or more) they are lying about.

The numbers can be tweaked to suit your needs. So maybe draw 6 positive then only 2 negative, if that works better for you. Otherwise it would work the same.
 
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Jim Hansen
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I definitely agree that media feels underpowered. The easiest solution would probably be to change the cost or income on the cards to make them more cost effective, but that involves writing on the cards which may or may not be considered a deadly sin.

I'm not too excited about the +1 synergy thing because it feels very inconsistent with the rest of the game. I might focus more on the sponsored effect, and maybe say it gives you a 3 or 4 dollar discount instead of 2 dollars. Or maybe say you can use it multiple times per turn.

For the negative legislation, I haven't personally experienced the problems you describe. Whether it's "positive" or "negative", all that really matters is how it affects you relative to the other players. I think the people I play with have been able to parse that information pretty well, but I could see how some people might get hung up on it or feel like they are being attacked.

That said, I kind of like your idea of starting with positive legislation and adding negative legislation after the election. That would encourage backstabbing by the president, which everyone enjoys. One positive negative side effect would be that you wouldn't get any of the giveaways after the election. Those are the best for broken campaign promises. Maybe you could put a few in the negative legislation stack.

Give your ideas a try and let us know how it goes!
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Nothing Sacred Games
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Hey, I just got back from traveling and thought I'd chime in!

First off, thanks for the kind words! "I love this game" is all a designer ever really wants to hear or read

Since writing the article about the biggest problems with Corporate America, I haven't made suggestions because I haven't had much time to playtest any alternatives. I haven't even had the chance to playtest drafting starting businesses, a simple modification that was discussed on here months ago But if others get the chance to test new rules, I'd love to hear your experiences!

Here are my thoughts on ways to improve media and negative legislation.

Ideally, media businesses would have their costs and incomes tweaked. I would also try to simplify the Sponsored ability, say make each extra consumer card cost $1 less rather than a one time -$2/phase.

But those changes are pretty radical. Michael's suggestion to always have media count as one extra synergy is pretty interesting, and does a good approximation of just upping their income (though it probably makes some businesses, like Oggle Search and Deranged Fantasy Games, overpowered). Alternatively, try letting each media business reveal a consumer card for free each Main Street Phase (no discount, just a free card). That could have the added fun aspect of trying to get other people to help you with cheaper ones so you can maximize the ability by revealing a more expensive card. (This one's just $4! If we pay to flip it, I'll use the media business to flip the $6 one instead...)

Negative legislation is tougher. Ultimately, the legislation in the game should probably be different, but that would be a major undertaking. For a simpler solution, I'd avoid separating the legislation into two decks. Instead, I'd try these two rules.

1) If you flip a piece of legislation that would do nothing that doesn't state "Does Nothing" (for example, hurts an industry no one has, or would affect the next president on the last turn), discard it and reveal a new piece of legislation.

2) If you've already seen 4 pieces of negative legislation and flip another one, discard it. It's possible that number should be different--only playtesting could tell.

I think those rules would help keep elections a little more interesting... but only experimentation can show if they do work or not! If you get a chance to try the rules (or the drafting rules, for that matter), please share!
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