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Subject: So you want to be a food chain magnate? Frame work for 4 player strategies. rss

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Brett M
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So as someone who has played exclusively 4 player games I wanted to look into more (and formulate more) strategies to use. After doing my research/theory crafting (based on my limited experience) I thought I might as well share my findings. I am far from an expert and need (many) more games under my belt still... but hopefully this can serve as a good starting point for others once they feel the fully understand the games ins/outs. This is not meant for someone new to the game but for someone who has gotten a solid grasp of the basics and wants to take the next step up. I will do my best to update things based on feedback here or from my future plays. Thanks all!

A couple quick things before we get into the strategies:
1) If you are a beginner reading this, then I'd start with the trainer into food strategy. Also the link below is a great supplement to this post which discusses common mistakes:
https://boardgamegeek.com/article/21469313#21469313

2) Understand this game is very dynamic and is more about how you REACT to people than your initial game plan. The strategies below are bare-bone frames that you will need to modify for each game. That is part of the strength of this game though. It is never exactly the same and a big component is the human interaction. I just want people to understand this is a guideline not set in stone strategies. They all can be modified accordingly on the fly but you need to pay attention to what people do each turn and react accordingly. That said... it is good to know what type of strategies are out there... both so you can recognize others doing them... and so you can switch gears yourself.

3) All strategies below assume EVERYONE starts with a trainer or recruiting girl. Sure some people could beat you to milestone I say you are guaranteed below if they open with something silly... but that player will screw up everyone's plans (and lose). Just recognize if someone does hire something atypical first turn what that will mean for the milestones and adjust accordingly (possibly to an entirely different strategy). For example if they grab an errand boy or kitchen trainee first... then the trainer into food strategy is much less desirable as you no longer get freezer. If someone grabs waitress turn one then clearly the waitress strategy is out the window... etc.

4) With higher player counts longer term strategies tend to work better as it's very rare for lots of people to select $100 reserves... and even if they do it's still a $600 cash pool! Further, there is more overlap in strategies which can also slow down the game and cause longer term strats to excel.

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1) Trainer into Food strategy

This strategy is very safe and stable but can't push things as much as some other strategies listed here as it sacrifices infrastructure (via heavy training or recruiting) to get a bunch of early milestones. It's a very flexible strategy though and great for newer players to do well while learning the ropes. They won't win but they won't get crushed.

How it Works:

Turn 1: Hire Trainer
Turn 2: Play Trainer (getting first to train milestone). Hire Kitchen Trainee/Errand Boy and Train him to a Pizza/Burger Cook or a Cart Operator (depending on board and what others have done... you want to get the first to produce bonus and hopefully first to market as well for what ever you select so pick something no one else has! For this example I will say pizza)
Turn 3: Play Trainer and Pizza Cook. Hire Marketing Trainee and Train to Campaign Manager. You likely will get first to produce pizza (another free pizza cook) and first to throw away food milestones (freezer)
Turn 4: Play Trainer, Pizza Cook, and Campaign Manager. Hire Management Trainee and train to Junior VP. Market pizza to get first to market pizza milestone. If someone else already got the pizza marketing milestone last turn then consider switching gears (even though you have the pizza cooks) to whatever you can get the first to market milestone of. Worst case you could end up using both products.

Build from there.

Please note however... if you went pizza or burgers... then on turn 4 you will have to fire the free cook you got from the first to produce milestone as you will have 4 salaries but only the free $15 from the milestone. You could delay training your VP one turn (as turn 5 you will sell food and make money to cover salaries) but I think its better to ramp up fast and get the extra slots the VP offers. If you go cart operator then you are good as that milestone/perk does not add another salary to your company. So if given the choice go the drink route (but again this is only if it has not been produced yet... you want the perks and don't want competition)

Reserve Card: $100-$200. You don't want the game going long as other strategies will outpace you... but you want to avoid a quick/short term strategy beating you to the punch. I tend to lean $100 still as I find more people go long game than short game so you going $100 will balance it out more.

Pros/Cons: This whole strategy is a mixed bag. It is more flexible than trainer into Guru but not as dominating if the guru player got going unhindered. It is slower than recruiting girl strategy but not as hard on salaries and comes with the freezer milestone for flexibility. It's true strength lies in getting a lot of milestones (first to train, freezer, first to market/produce, etc) and being easier to pilot... but to do so it sacrifices the company infrastructure the other similar strategies can get. I think this is a very strong beginner strategy but an advanced player can do better.

How to combat it:
Go for a longer game and use one of the higher tier strategies. This one works well, is easy to achieve, and is very fair but doesn't have as much legs as other strategies
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2) Trainer into Guru strategy

How it Works: There are a lot of variants of this strategy but they all rely on rushing Guru and then powering out a high end strategy with lots of high end abilities. In general though they go for a turn 4 Guru, turn 5 brand director, then profit. They just need to be VERY careful about managing their salaries around their first sale as they often go over their $15 free salary the same turn they SHOULD start selling stuff. As soon as the cash starts flowing this strategy is hard to beat unless you played the short game and can end the game fast.

Here is one example:

Turn 1: Hire Trainer
Turn 2: Play Trainer (getting first to train milestone). Hire Management Trainee and Train him up to Junior VP
Turn 3: Play Trainer. Hire Recruiting Girl. Play Trainer on Junior VP to make a VP
Turn 4: Play Trainer and Rec Girl. Hire 1x Management Trainee + something based on board state. Play Trainer on VP to get a Guru

Then go to town... for example on turn 4 say you noticed no one had a cart operator yet... your turn 5 could be this (assuming you bought pricing manager turn 4 with the extra slot)

Turn 5: Play 1x Management Trainee, Guru, Rec Girl, Trainer, Pricing Manager (if it will get you milestone otherwise just leave it on beach). Hire Marketing Trainee and make him a Brand Director (with Guru). Hire Errand boy and make him a cart operator (with trainer). (note this maxes out your free $15 salary)
Turn 6: Play 1x Management Trainee, Guru, Cart Operator (getting milestone), Pricing Manager, Brand Director (radio campaign for a beverage to get that milestone). Hire Management Trainee and make a Senior VP with guru. (Note this only works if you can sell atleast one beverage from your cart operator which is why t4 you go pricing manager to help ensure it). If you don't think you can sell a beverage.... don't play Guru this turn... play rec girl and snag some more L1 employees (marketing is a good choice so you can control demand more or waitresses to up your salary potential).

Then you can start selling beverages in bulk and playing most anything you like. Keep on marketing and building up your company with guru so only you can meet demands... and once you stabilize add some gardens and really hit it home.

Note most good strategies will involve turn 5 making a brand director and getting first radio campaign. It is a powerful milestone that will allow you to both clog up others plans and fuel yours. With guru you are better equipped to keep up with the double demand. You also hope to get the last of the first to market milestones with the radio as it makes things a lot easier if price wars hit.

Reserve Card: $300

Pros: Probably the most powerful engine once it's humming but only if you can keep up with the recruiting girl strats. You can react to most things with your crazy training speeds and will typically have the most powerful employees/moves.

Cons: Does not get first to market bonuses which means pricing wars are bad for you and completely falls apart if someone undercuts you on your first sale. You also have a hard time keeping up with recruiting girls if they play it right (typically involved getting the first to pay $20 salary milestone).

How to combat it:
Pricing Wars. The guru player spent a lot of turns developing his engine so of course it is powerful... and they can outpace you on any strategy since they train so efficiently... but they don't get the first advertising milestones. So if you see someone rushing for Guru make sure you get discount managers, some first advertising milestones, and then beat them in price.

You can also try and get the first to pay $20 salary milestone to keep up with them with regular old trainers. Not as efficient but doesn't require as much early investment so you can get other milestones along the way... and you likely went recruiting girl so you should have a lot of room to play multiple trainers/coaches.

Or you can try to stall their engine by making them spend a couple turns to meet demand. Make it so they cant use a single food/beverage type to quickly take off on turn 7. If all the houses have numerous goods in demand they will have to spend atleast one more turn to make another cook etc... and they will have a hard time fitting it in their $15 budget so they might even have to stall another turn to get some HR directors first. The longer you stall them the better... and you can do it in a manner than doesn't stall you.

Visual Aid
Courtesy of heavenideas


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3) Recruiting Girl strategy

How it Works: You open up with recruiter girl... then hire another one and something else... then get the hire 3 people in a turn achievement. You then use this to spring yourself to a large infrastructure that is very flexible and balanced. This strategy is one of the best out there but also the most demanding of the player. It is the most complex strategy I've tried so far but also the best overall. That doesn't mean it will always win... but you will always be in the fight for it (unless you screw up obviously...)

Here is an example of the first few turns. Anything past that needs to be in reaction to others:

Turn 1: Recruiting Girl
Turn 2: Play Recruiting Girl. Hire second recruiting girl and errand boy
Turn 3: Play 2x Recruiting Girl, 1x errand boy. Hire marketing trainee and whatever others haven't hired (waitress or kitchen trainee) to get more milestones. For this example I will assume I got a waitress and kitchen trainee (since 2 other players went trainer to start and another went similar to this but went kitchen trainee for pizza). Get first drink produced, first to hire 3 people, and freezer milestone
Turn 4: Play 2x Management Trainee, 1x waitress, 1x kitchen trainee, 2x recruiting girl, 1x errand boy. Hire trainer, waitress, and management trainee. Make whatever hasn't been made with the kitchen trainee to get the milestone and a free cook... place an add campaign for something to get that milestone (and maybe eternal marketing as well although I'd rather not in most games)... pay free cooks (from milestone) salary with waitress.

Then keep going from there. You want to keep on building up your infrastructure from there while reacting to others. This is a very flexible strategy but does not get as many high powered people as Guru. If you see someone pushing for Guru fast though you need to push for first to pay $20 salary to be able to hold pace with them. There's too many what ifs for a clear path with this strategy but this should give you an idea of the opening and where it wants to go from there.

Joshua Starr provided another example of this strategy here as well if you want to take a look or see another way to use this strat:
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/28131628#28131628
However note it has a flaw. His turn 5 doesn’t work. You would need to forego the waitress and hire a third management trainee instead.

And Sidnv gave us an interesting RG into Brand Director/Manager take. However note that if the trainer is taken on turn one you can't do trainer on T3 into CM as you want the first to train milestone:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
T1: RG

T2: RG + Trainer

T3: Marketing Trainee -> Campaign Manager, Errand Boy, Waitress or Pricing Manager or Trainer as you see fit. An alternative is to get another Marketing Trainee if infinite marketing is not a threat for a marketing milestone. Trainer is probably my preference here.

T4: Campaign Manager -> Brand Manager. If you took trainer on T3, also go for Management Trainee -> JVP. A management trainee hire is a must.

T5: Brand Manager ->Brand Director or play Brand Manager if radio is not a threat to be stolen. JVP -> Coach or VP in the unlikely instance of Guru still being a possibility.

T6: Grab radio milestone and use coach to push for Exec VP or go for Guru if available. Alternatively, in a 2 or 3p game, try to hire out as many pizza cooks as you can along with the lone chef and go for a Luxuries Manager victory via pizza demand.

The second strategy reacts better to a longer game, as you can push for a late game Luxuries Manager victory rather than an early one. If you get good turn order position on the turn you market via Radio, you'll likely beat the other players to the free CFO.


Reserve Card: Varies but typically going for long game so $300

Pros: This is a very flexible and balanced strategy that always gives you a solid chance to win. It requires you to adapt well but since that is kind of the point of the game it is not surprising this is one of the strongest strats.

Cons: Has the murkiest game plan and is thus easiest to screw up. You need to be able to adapt well. Other strategies (like Guru rush) are more straight forward and the pitfalls it face or more obvious.

How to combat it:
Honestly you don't do anything besides what you'd normally do as they can shift gears so well. You just screw with their plan via marketing and undercutting as usual knowing they can switch gears.. but each time you make them do so you set them a little back.

You need to be very mindful of what they buy each turn as they can be more fluid than other strategies and sneak up on you. See the 3 examples provided for examples. Depending on which way they go you may need to combat them differently. For example if they grab a brand manager, then you need to be mindful of that and try to go after them next turn so you can respond to their marketing, etc.
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4) The Island (Luxuries Manager) Strategy (note I have not tried this one as it seems better in smaller player count games)

How it Works: If you notice one area of the board that is isolated from everything else then you can try this strategy. It is crucial you be one of the last to place your restaurants and are the ONLY person to build a restaurant that can access the house in this area... so ideally pass on placing your restaurant and hope no one else does. You want to be the ONLY one who can service the isolated house. You then use luxuries manager, cheap marketing, and a garden to profit quickly. Hopefully I don't need to explain this much further than that. Here is an example opening which assumes the house in question has room for billboards and garden... it might not in which case you need to modify this slightly:

Turn 1: Hire Recruiting Girl
Turn 2: Play Recruiting Girl. Hire second recruiting girl and marketing trainee
Turn 3: Play 2x Recruiting Girl, 1x Marketing trainee. Hire 2x trainer, and pick your poison of product to sell to your house (I chose soda for this example). Get eternal marketing, first to market soda, and 3x hire milestones
Turn 4: Play 2x managements trainees, 2x recruiting girl, 2x trainer, errand boy. Hire 2x management trainee and immediately train one to new business developer, Hire 1x marketing trainee and make campaign manager. Get your soda and sell it for $15 and first to produce soda milestone. Pay $5 salary.
Turn 5: Play 2x management trainee, new business developer, campaign manager, errand boy, 2x trainer. Hire 1x management trainee and train to luxuries manager. Train your management trainee on the beach to a junior VP. Play mail campaign for soda to overlap your billboard. Add garden to your house. Fire developer. Get $25 from soda and pay $10 salary.
Turn 6: Play 2x management trainee, luxuries manager, errand boy, 2x trainer, 1x recruiting girl. Hire marketing trainee and make campaign manager. Train your junior VP to VP. Sell 2x soda for $90 ($20 price with luxuries manager x 2 for garden + 5 from milsetone... then x2 sodas)... pay $10 salary. Hopefully get first to $100 milestone.

Then start ramping up more marketing on your one house while fleshing out your strategy. You want to get 5 demand on that house (and 3 errand boys to fill it) ASAP. Grab some kitchen trainees with the extra hires to plan for others marketing to your house trying to mess your plan up... and snag waitresses for extra cash otherwise. Keep salaries low! As soon as someone buys a regional manager STOP playing the luxuries manager and get ready for the pricing war (since they can open a restaurant in your neighborhood next turn). You may/may not need to worry about the local manager (since it can only go along roads but could build a restaurant that spans the gap) but with them you get one more turn since you can stop the turn AFTER they build the restaurant as it wont open immediately.

Reserve Card: $100 (you want to end the game fast and your engine does not take long to get up and running). Less slots also hurts others more than you.

Pros: Very fast and quick cash.... with low salaries. Hard to interrupt before you've made a lot of money off it.

Cons: Easily disrupted once people can get to you... but you try to end the game before that happens. Requires a VERY specific board setup and no one else trying to do the same. Doesn't work as well with lots of players since games tend to run longer.

How to combat it:
Go for the long game and one of the players (hopefully someone else but you might need to bite the bullet) needs open a second restaurant near them ASAP. Otherwise you can't market them out of the space with all the kitchen trainees etc they get. They are too flexible and their marketing is infinite. You need to get to them and undercut them to kill their engine... but to do so another restaurant needs to be able to serve them.

How it might be modified for 4 player
I think this could still work if you start off with this and then segue into something else once competition comes knocking. You'll still have a big early lead and some milestones to work with. You will have a sub optimal strategy from then on (too far behind) but any profit will help you maintain your lead. Just start planning for this early as everyone will hone in on you.
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5) Waitress Only strategy:

I have not played this one yet but plan to in my next game :- ) That said.... based on reading the forums it is clear this is a strategy that can work but only in very specific cases. It more often than not is going to put you in the middle of the pack as it is outpaced by other strategies... but in longer games that get into pricing war stagnation this can work surprisingly well!

How it Works:

You must get the first waitress milestone and as many (hopefully all) the waitresses you can. This strategy also rushes for the first to $100 milestone to create a powerful engine that has low salaries and is hard to disrupt (once you have purchased your waitresses). It lacks burst though (aka getting a big turn) like other strategies have as you spend a lot of time building up your waitress army instead of developing your supply chain/employees.

The first 4 turns are pretty locked in as such

Turn 1: Hire Recruiting Girl(if someone hires waitress first turn you must immediately abandon this strategy and revert to a typical recruiting girl strategy)
Turn 2: Play 1x Recruiting Girl. Hire Recruiting Girl + Waitress
Turn 3: Play 2x Recruiting Girl and 1 Waitress. Hire 3 Waitress ---> get 2 management trainees from first to hire 3 employees milestone and also get first waitress milestone (end with $5)
Turn 4: Play 2x Management Trainee, Recruiting Girl and 4 Waitress. Hire Management Trainee and Waitress (end with $25)

After this you need to start tailoring things for the longer game (even though you are hoping for a shorter game). You likely just got the first to $20 milestone so you can see the reserve cards and figure out how long the game will be. No matter what you will want to start developing a supplemental plan to your waitresses AND training up better management people so you can play more waitresses. That said for each salary you get you will slow down you surge to the first to $100 milestone which is crucial. Without salaries you can get it on turn 7. With salaries it will likely be turn 8 (and possibly 9 if you go crazy). So you need to analyze the board (and the reserve cards) to see if you need to rush (aka not train people) or if you can afford to slow down your progress a turn or two to solidify your company (aka train up management etc earlier and/or grab some marketing milestones if left as this will result in you ramping up faster). You can't afford to miss the first to $100 milestone... but if you have plenty of wiggle room you will do better by ramping up your open slots (for more waitresses) early and getting any first to market milestones left.

Rush Route:

Turn 5: Play 3x Management Trainee, Recruiting Girl and 5 Waitress. Hire 2x Waitress (end with $50)
Turn 6: Play 3x Management Trainee, Recruiting Girl and 5 Waitress. Hire Waitress + Trainer (end with $75)
Turn 7: Play 3x Management Trainee, Trainer and 5 Waitress. Hire Management Trainee and train up Junior VP (end with $100 to get milestone and then have to pay you first salary so down to $95 but you still get milestone)

Longer Game plan varies depending on whats available. For example if any of the first to advertise milestones are left (unlikely) it is a good idea to use that as your supplemental route and you should next hire a marketing person and place a billboard on turn 6 while still pushing your 5x waitresses a turn.

Alternatively you can start training up an exec by playing one less waitress... and more recruiting girls to hire some trainers, management trainees, etc. The options really start to branch out here but in general keep buying waitresses... upgrade your management... and try to get into ONE (and only one) product to supplement income to your waitresses. Hopefully it won't be necessary but it never hurts and once your full up of waitresses you have room for it.

The more other players get into price wars and drag out the game the better as you are guaranteed a large chunk of incontestable income each turn. They can't disrupt the waitress/CFO engine but you lack the explosiveness too so you don't want anyone to have a crazy turn. Throw down marketing to stall other players (focusing on houses with gardens as they have bigger payouts) and block as much as you can if you see someone about to win the pricing war. Otherwise just use your supplemental strategy to increase your profits more. Don't bloat your company with a lot of salaries though as that removes one of this strategies best strengths

Reserve Card: $100. Note the 2 slots will be rough on you if it actually wins (I doubt it will)... so try and have something trained up so you can still throw down a lot of waitresses each turn... It will help regardless of how long the game ends up being

Pros: Hard to disrupt (short of people buying waitresses which slows them down to) and almost guarantees you first to hire 3 people, first waitress, and first to $100 milestones which is a powerful combo short of some bad play by opponents. Does very well if the game stagnates through pricing wars etc which is more common in larger player count games.

Cons: Lacks burst so if any player sets up a mega turn you lose. You want a short game OR a very grindy game with atleast two players undercutting each other and allowing you to slowly but surely win. You should surge out to an early lead and then will have a very dependable but not explosive income from their on out.

Also you do not get any of the advertising milestones (typically) which means you often aren't involved much in later game (outside of blocking and laying down the same corporate structure each turn)

It also really needs the first to $100 milestone and a couple openings can beat you to it (for example the luxury manager strat can get it on turn 6... one turn before this can)

How to combat it:
Ideally you beat them to the $100 milestone... but that is tough without others playing poorly and handing it to you. The more likely plan is do your own thing and build your strategy for the first 5 or so turns... then start using extra hires to steal waitresses (slows them down) and set up a big turn for yourself. You want to avoid big pricing wars (bringing price down a little is fine just don't start competing to the point you are making very little profit) and instead focus on gardens and making the food profits far outstrip the waitress one. Understand they want a low cash pool game to end it before people can make a big turn... or a VERY long game with price wars... as their engine steadily churns out the money and they typically have a decent early lead. They are weak to one player having a crazy turn and taking the bank.
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6) The Piggyback Strategy (note I have no tried this one)

Basically this is an offshoot of the recruiting girl strategy in which you don't do any marketing but instead focus on piggybacking on others while undercutting them (and making new restaurants next to theirs). There is another route of going trainer to get first to train milestone but it is slower to start up and often gives up the freezer milestone which is beneficial (not crucial)

How it Works:
Prioritize whatever others are producing... along with the freezer milestone, regional manager and discount managers. It often looks something like this as you need to be flexible and have a large company

Turn 1: Hire Recruiting Girl
Turn 2: Play Recruiting Girl. Hire recruiting girl and kitchen trainee/errand boy (assume kitchen trainee for this example)
Turn 3: Play 2x Recruiting Girl, 1x kitchen trainee (getting freezer milestone). Hire waitress, management trainee, and pricing manager. Get 3x hire milestones
Turn 4: Play 3x managements trainees, 2x recruiting girl, waitress (first waitress likely), pricing manager (first to discount milestone likely), and kitchen trainee. Hire 2x trainer and a waitress (Have $5)
Turn 5: Play 3x management trainees, 2x recruiting girl, 2x waitress, 2x trainer. Hire 2x management trainee and immediately train both to Junior VP, and waitress. (Have $5 after making $10 and salaries of $10)
Turn 6: Play One Junior VP, 2x managements trainees, 2x recruiting girl, 2x trainer, and 3x waitress. Hire another management trainee and make him a Junior VP, hire a food producer. Train you Junior VP to local manager.

Then you can go to town by opening a resaurant and starting your undercutting. Just make sure you always play enough waitresses to pay your salaries until you are selling product. Someone will certainly have done marketing by now so you likely are in the clear. You can also skinny down on the waitresses above and get more food producers IF you sell some product. I just wouldn't plan on it before you start discounting prices and placing new restaurants. Someone else would have to be playing badly for that to happen.

Also when picking who to go after first... go after whoever has eternal marketing... because they cant switch the product on you. That makes it a little simpler although later on they will be able to beat you in price as they have the first marketing milestones (more on that below).

The tough part of the above is you will likely not get many marketing milestones... which is brutal if you are doing price wars. With that milestone you could drive the price down to 0 and still make $5... without it... not so much. So it is also not a bad idea to start with a quick marketing campaign to get one of them at least (planning for the eventual price war clog) but realize this slows down the rest of the strategy by a turn and does not let you build up your ability to make everything as fast. Still likely a good idea in a higher player count game though as games do tend to run long. The earliest you should do it though i in place of the pricing manager (and first to discount milestone)... as you might still be able to get that one a turn later... and it's also not needed (just nice). The freezer and waitress perk are needed though.

Reserve Card: Not having tried it I'm not sure if you want a max length game or a mid length. So either $200 or $300

Pros:
You let the other players do the hard work for you and sneak in. Very hard for others to deal with once you are able to make all 5 product types and have lots of discounts.

Cons:
Really not a fun strategy to play and results in long games. Harder to get marketing milestones which are HUGE in price wars which this strategy promotes. Really needs waitress milestone for salaries early.

How to combat it:
If it's just one player doing this then you just need to keep switching marketing on them and/or grab a waitress a turn before they can to slow them down (1st waitress is the best way for them to fund salaries before they can undercut you). Their biggest weakness is they aren't driving the demand so they need to react to you and thus have a hard time with early salaries and with switching demand. Try and fill up your open slots so you routinely have the last turn and can lay down marketing after they have gone. This should buy you atleast one uninterrupted turn.

You can also make more demand than they can keep up with (or fill). Either make more than they can fill and make a big profit on the remaining ones... or make houses demand lots of product so they can't fill it all. Pretty standard gamesmanship for this game.

Or you can beat them at their own game.... if you are driving down prices but others aren't... they'll head to greener pastures.

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7) Trainer into Radio Strategy
Kudos to Sidnv for the strat! Haven't tried it myself yet but seems neat.

How it Works: The point of this strategy is to control demand as quickly as possible through the radio/plane milestone both for your own benefit and to disrupt everyone else. It is best suited for short-mid games though as it is trying to hit hard and early before people can get there engines running. As 4 player games tend to run longer this strategy can have a harder time competing once people get their engines and price wars up and running.

Here is one example:

Turn 1: Hire Trainer
Turn 2: Play Trainer (getting first to train milestone). Hire Management Trainee and Train him up to Campaign Manager
Turn 3: Play Trainer. Hire Recruiting Girl. Play Trainer on Campaign Manager to make a Brand Manager

Here it branches into two paths. Ideally you Play Brand Manager one turn here to start your control and profit making while also grabbing the airplane milestone. But if someone else is heading towards radio as well you likely need to abandon the airplane milestone and rush to radio.

Preferred Option :
Turn 4: Play Brand Manager, Trainer, and Rec Girl. Get the airplane milestone and hire Whatever you marketing towards and likely 1x Management Trainee that you train into a JVP (or maybe a Luxuries Manager).
Turn 5: Play trainer and train your Brand Manager to Brand Director... otherwise use your two remaining slots for whatever fits your strategy/marketing from previous turn

Then you control demand since no one can beat you to brand director (trainer into guru can tie you).

Note the other option is basically the same only you skip turn 4 and immediately train your Brand Director. This doesn't get the money rolling in as fast and misses the airplane milestone though so definitely not the preferred option.

Reserve Card: $100. You want the game to be as short as possible.

Pros: Very hard hitting and tough for others to handle initially. You control marketing and can disrupt them while pushing your own agenda forward. Can get marketing milestones sometimes which helps give it some legs in pricing wars compared to other trainer strats.

Cons: Still misses out on a lot of the good milestone for longer games and doesn't ramp up as strong as RG strats in the long game. So has a hard time against the other strategies once they are no longer hampered by your marketing.

How to combat it:
Much like the Guru strategies (option 2) you fight this with Pricing Wars as it has the same inherent weakness that it misses some valuable milestones to get the trainer up and running. Your main goal should be to grab all the marketing milestones so they can't get any. If you let them get one of them on turn 4, then this strategy can gain some legs and will be harder to deal with. In this case you need to ensure houses have double demand so you can beat them on the products they don't have the milestones for.

Other things you can do:
* Grab the freezer so your food doesn't spoil if they mess with your demand
* Make sure you go after them the turn they market so you can react better...
* Grab the luxury managers before they can. They want to maximize profit before you can compete with them so you can mitigate that a little by scooping these up. Unfortunately this could slow down your own strat so I haven't done this myself yet

So if you see someone rushing for this (or Guru) make sure you get discount managers, all the first advertising milestones, and then beat them in price. Just know this strategy is stronger early to mid game than trainer into Guru but then falters the longer things go. So the worst thing you can do is bail on your strat as 4 player games tend to run long. Instead you want to minimize their early turns as much as you can while building your engine. Then beat them in the long run.

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Change Log:
Most changes have been for grammar/typos. Large changes noted
04/10/2016: Updated waitress strategy slightly to include first to $20 milestone and how it effects things.
04/02/2018: Added in some new strats focused on radio milestone (option 7 and the second example in RG strategy)
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Tom Krebs

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I'd give you an up vote for the sheer effort of making this post . . . .I love FCM. It has displaced Keyflower as my favorite game!
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Brent Wilson
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eflin wrote:

__________________________________________________________
1) Trainer into Food strategy
How it Works:

Turn 1: Hire Trainer
Turn 2: Play Trainer (getting first to train milestone). Hire Kitchen Boy/Errand Boy and Train him to a Pizza/Burger Cook or a Cart Operator (depending on board and what others have done... you want to get the first to produce bonus and hopefully first to market as well for what ever you select so pick something no one else has! For this example I will say pizza)
Turn 3: Play Trainer and Pizza Cook. Hire Marketing Trainee and Train to Campaign Manager. You likely will get first to produce pizza (free pizza chef) and first to throw away food milestones (freezer)
Turn 4: Play Trainer, Pizza Chef, and Campaign Director. Hire Management Trainee and train to Junior VP. Market pizza to get first to market pizza milestone. If someone else already got the pizza marketing milestone last turn then consider switching gears (even though you have the pizza chef) to whatever you can get the first to market milestone of. Worst case you could end up using both products.



Thanks for such a details post. You might want to clean up some job names though to make it easier for new players to understand. i.e. you get a pizza cook not a pizza chef for free when you're the first to make pizza. And you mean Campaign Manager.
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Brett M
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Thanks! I will definitely take a quality control pass when I get home tonight and have the rules etc in front of me. Was doing most of this by memory today!

If you see anymore feel free to edit your post and I will take care of it!

EDIT: Did a first quick pass and caught most of them I think. Would not be surprised if I missed a few so feel free to point any out or if you have any comments on the strats (or better yet new strats to add!)
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Steve Zanini
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Brett, This is an excellent synopsis and thank you for taking the time to post this. I really enjoyed seeing a variety of strategies and I like the game so much that "trying one on for size" makes the game that much more fun! I appreciate the first 5-7 of recommendations and I can see where the play of others may impact the direction however for newbie and explorers, theis is fabulous! Thanks! Now where are those waitresses...
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Brett M
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Zamboni wrote:
Brett, This is an excellent synopsis and thank you for taking the time to post this. I really enjoyed seeing a variety of strategies and I like the game so much that "trying one on for size" makes the game that much more fun! I appreciate the first 5-7 of recommendations and I can see where the play of others may impact the direction however for newbie and explorers, theis is fabulous! Thanks! Now where are those waitresses...

Glad you enjoyed it Steve! Let me know if you find any new strats or have any comments on one of the ones above after playing it. I'll do my best to keep this up to date.
 
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Jason Gische
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eflin wrote:
_______________________________________________
4) The Island (Luxuries Manager) Strategy

Turn 1: Hire Recruiting Girl
Turn 2: Play Recruiting Girl. Hire second recruiting girl and marketing trainee
Turn 3: Play 2x Recruiting Girl, 1x Marketing trainee. Hire 2x trainer, and pick your poison of product to sell to your house (I chose soda for this example). Get eternal marketing, first to market soda, and 3x hire milestones
Turn 4: Play 2x managements trainees, 2x recruiting girl, 2x trainer, errand boy. Hire 2x management trainee and immediately train one to new business developer, Hire 1x marketing trainee and make campaign manager. Get your soda and sell it for $15 and first to produce soda milestone. Pay $5 salary.
Turn 5: Play 2x management trainee, new business developer, campaign manager, errand boy, 2x trainer. Hire 1x management trainee and train to luxuries manager. Train your management trainee on the beach to a junior VP. Play mail campaign for soda to overlap your billboard. Add garden to your house. Fire developer. Get $25 from soda and pay $10 salary.
Turn 6: Play 2x management trainee, luxuries manager, errand boy, 2x trainer, 1x recruiting girl. Hire marketing trainee and make campaign manager. Train your junior VP to VP. Sell 2x soda for $80... pay $10 salary. Hopefully get first to $100 milestone.


Can you explain to me how you're making $80 on the two sodas?
$10 base + $5 for first to market sodas + $10 for Luxury Manager = $25 per soda. That's only $50. Even if you have the CFO that would be $75. What am I missing?
 
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Dave Eisen
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gische wrote:
eflin wrote:
_______________________________________________
4) The Island (Luxuries Manager) Strategy

Turn 1: Hire Recruiting Girl
Turn 2: Play Recruiting Girl. Hire second recruiting girl and marketing trainee
Turn 3: Play 2x Recruiting Girl, 1x Marketing trainee. Hire 2x trainer, and pick your poison of product to sell to your house (I chose soda for this example). Get eternal marketing, first to market soda, and 3x hire milestones
Turn 4: Play 2x managements trainees, 2x recruiting girl, 2x trainer, errand boy. Hire 2x management trainee and immediately train one to new business developer, Hire 1x marketing trainee and make campaign manager. Get your soda and sell it for $15 and first to produce soda milestone. Pay $5 salary.
Turn 5: Play 2x management trainee, new business developer, campaign manager, errand boy, 2x trainer. Hire 1x management trainee and train to luxuries manager. Train your management trainee on the beach to a junior VP. Play mail campaign for soda to overlap your billboard. Add garden to your house. Fire developer. Get $25 from soda and pay $10 salary.
Turn 6: Play 2x management trainee, luxuries manager, errand boy, 2x trainer, 1x recruiting girl. Hire marketing trainee and make campaign manager. Train your junior VP to VP. Sell 2x soda for $80... pay $10 salary. Hopefully get first to $100 milestone.


Can you explain to me how you're making $80 on the two sodas?
$10 base + $5 for first to market sodas + $10 for Luxury Manager = $25 per soda. That's only $50. Even if you have the CFO that would be $75. What am I missing?


The garden. With a garden, it's actually $90.
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Brett M
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Correct! It was supposed to say make $80 after paying $10 salary. I'll fix that. Thanks!
 
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Jason Gische
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We totally missed that rule. That's what I get for letting someone else read the rules...

Thanks!
 
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Noah Gadea
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I think... I'm just gonna try these one by one in my next 6 games.

I recently tried the "Waitress Army" Strategy, which I've yet to post about but probably should.

It, uh, it isn't great laugh
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8bg
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Brius wrote:
I think... I'm just gonna try these one by one in my next 6 games.

I recently tried the "Waitress Army" Strategy, which I've yet to post about but probably should.

It, uh, it isn't great laugh


It's also incredibly boring!
 
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Brett M
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Hahahahaha. Nice! How is it (waitress army) different than the waitress strat above? I would love to hear about it.

Anyway I hope these help and thanks for checking them out. Let us know if you have any feedback after trying them out!
 
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My experience has been waitresses are primarily used to win prolonged price wars, not as an actual victory condition themselves. The two things I've noticed decide prolonged price wars (although I've mostly played 2 players so far) are waitresses and and who got the exec vp(s). The player who got the waitress milestone will usually survive a turn or two longer without income than the players who need to sell food every turn for nothing, next to nothing, or even at a loss. Then when the other player or players have been forced to lay off their staff, they just win by default because they still have non-entree level employees.

The other time I think waitresses are useful are as protection against being forced to fire staff in the earlish stages of the game (either by being outpriced or shifted demand). Its really nice to have them as a back up plan when you have to go early in the turn order and might not be able guarantee income from sales next turn.
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Dan Allen
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Can someone explain to me how the first strategy even works? If you hire a kitchen trainee and train up to pizza cook turn 2, that pizza cook gets fired during the payday phase and is not available to play on turn 3. I know I must be missing some simple order of events that permits this, but I have been burned the only two times I've played this by hiring salaried employees too early just to have them fired the same turn. Thanks in advance!
 
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Andi Hub
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ktfod wrote:
Can someone explain to me how the first strategy even works? If you hire a kitchen trainee and train up to pizza cook turn 2, that pizza cook gets fired during the payday phase and is not available to play on turn 3. I know I must be missing some simple order of events that permits this, but I have been burned the only two times I've played this by hiring salaried employees too early just to have them fired the same turn. Thanks in advance!

In strategy 1 you get the first to train milestone, which gives you a rebate of 15$ on salaries.
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Brett M
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I've been reading about some RG into trainer strats (mainly for games where everyone is going RG strat). Anyone have any insight on it so I can add it above? I would think it goes like this... but not having tried it (since someone in my games of 4 has always gone trainer)... not sure.

Also how does it fare? I feel like you are trading off one food/marketting milestone for the trainers milestone and burst ability. So seems like it would perform worse in price wars (that are more common in 4 player games) but has some real potential to jump up to higher tier jobs first.


Turn 1: Hire Recruiting Girl
Turn 2: Play Recruiting Girl. Hire second recruiting girl and trainer
Turn 3: Play 2x Recruiting Girl and Trainer. Hire Marketing Trainee and Train to Campaign Manager. Hire whatever others haven't hired (waitress or kitchen trainee) to get more milestones (but likely one of the food/drink producers). Get first to hire 3 people and first to train milestones.
Turn 4: Play Trainer, 2x Management Trainee, 2x Recruiting Girl, Campaign Manager, and Food Producer. Market whatever has open marketing milestone (to get said milestone) and produce food (to hopefully get that milestone as well). Hire Management Trainee and train to Junior VP and 2 other positions as the board dictates. One of them likely should be a second trainer to ramp up to guru and other jobs faster.

Pros: Seems like the best of both worlds (trainer and RG strats). Added flexibility and burst (but likely at the expense of one more food/marketing milestones)

Cons: Can only be done if no one goes trainer first turn (which is less likely in 4 player games)... and can miss out on some marketing/food producing milestones compared to a pure RG strat... as they get there one turn earlier (while you are grabbing trainer). Just as complex as pure RG strat.

How to combat: Similar to pure RG strats?



Thanks all!


 
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Heaven Ideas
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Hi there!

I recently got my copy of Food Chain Magnate and I wanted to brush up on some strategies since this game is amazing.

I started by getting this post cleaned up into a word processor for priting eventually. It's not really done yet but at least I have some stuff to go with.

Also thought it would be quite beneficial to see the Turn by turn strategies unfold in a more visual way. So I made this mock-up of the 2) Trainer to Guru Strategy discribed here.

Here is an example of what came out (for now. If people find this useful I can maybe do more.

Anyway, thanks so much for taking the time to write these guides, always great to see what people come up with!

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Brett M
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Happy to help!

Man that visual aids looks great! If you make anymore please let me know and I will include them in my original post (giving credit to you of course). On vacation now but will add the one you already made in a week (when I am back)
 
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ringo84 wrote:
ktfod wrote:
Can someone explain to me how the first strategy even works? If you hire a kitchen trainee and train up to pizza cook turn 2, that pizza cook gets fired during the payday phase and is not available to play on turn 3. I know I must be missing some simple order of events that permits this, but I have been burned the only two times I've played this by hiring salaried employees too early just to have them fired the same turn. Thanks in advance!

In strategy 1 you get the first to train milestone, which gives you a rebate of 15$ on salaries.


Yes, but I thought the paying salaries phase happens before milestones get awarded?
 
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Alex P
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No, you just cross off the milestones that someone else achieved if you haven't also achieved them. Milestones get awarded as soon as you do the thing in their title.
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Jesse Custer wrote:
No, you just cross off the milestones that someone else achieved if you haven't also achieved them. Milestones get awarded as soon as you do the thing in their title.


Yes, I had mis-understood the clean-up phase as the phase where the milestones are awarded as well. Thank you for the correction. When I played yesterday, I fired the employee I had trained as I did not apply the $15 salary reduction until the following turn.

 
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Brett M
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Added in heavenidea's visual aid!
 
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Craig Willis
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eflin wrote:
I've been reading about some RG into trainer strats (mainly for games where everyone is going RG strat). Anyone have any insight on it so I can add it above? I would think it goes like this... but not having tried it (since someone in my games of 4 has always gone trainer)... not sure.

Also how does it fare? I feel like you are trading off one food/marketting milestone for the trainers milestone and burst ability. So seems like it would perform worse in price wars (that are more common in 4 player games) but has some real potential to jump up to higher tier jobs first.


Turn 1: Hire Recruiting Girl
Turn 2: Play Recruiting Girl. Hire second recruiting girl and trainer
Turn 3: Play 2x Recruiting Girl and Trainer. Hire Marketing Trainee and Train to Campaign Manager. Hire whatever others haven't hired (waitress or kitchen trainee) to get more milestones (but likely one of the food/drink producers). Get first to hire 3 people and first to train milestones.
Turn 4: Play Trainer, 2x Management Trainee, 2x Recruiting Girl, Campaign Manager, and Food Producer. Market whatever has open marketing milestone (to get said milestone) and produce food (to hopefully get that milestone as well). Hire Management Trainee and train to Junior VP and 2 other positions as the board dictates. One of them likely should be a second trainer to ramp up to guru and other jobs faster.

Pros: Seems like the best of both worlds (trainer and RG strats). Added flexibility and burst (but likely at the expense of one more food/marketing milestones)

Cons: Can only be done if no one goes trainer first turn (which is less likely in 4 player games)... and can miss out on some marketing/food producing milestones compared to a pure RG strat... as they get there one turn earlier (while you are grabbing trainer). Just as complex as pure RG strat.

How to combat: Similar to pure RG strats?



Thanks all!




This strategy relys on the fact that nobody else goes trainer first turn. If they do then you don't get the first to train milestone, thus you are forced to fire your campaign manager in turn 3.
 
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Brett M
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cmwillis02 wrote:
eflin wrote:
I've been reading about some RG into trainer strats (mainly for games where everyone is going RG strat). Anyone have any insight on it so I can add it above? I would think it goes like this... but not having tried it (since someone in my games of 4 has always gone trainer)... not sure.

Also how does it fare? I feel like you are trading off one food/marketting milestone for the trainers milestone and burst ability. So seems like it would perform worse in price wars (that are more common in 4 player games) but has some real potential to jump up to higher tier jobs first.


Turn 1: Hire Recruiting Girl
Turn 2: Play Recruiting Girl. Hire second recruiting girl and trainer
Turn 3: Play 2x Recruiting Girl and Trainer. Hire Marketing Trainee and Train to Campaign Manager. Hire whatever others haven't hired (waitress or kitchen trainee) to get more milestones (but likely one of the food/drink producers). Get first to hire 3 people and first to train milestones.
Turn 4: Play Trainer, 2x Management Trainee, 2x Recruiting Girl, Campaign Manager, and Food Producer. Market whatever has open marketing milestone (to get said milestone) and produce food (to hopefully get that milestone as well). Hire Management Trainee and train to Junior VP and 2 other positions as the board dictates. One of them likely should be a second trainer to ramp up to guru and other jobs faster.

Pros: Seems like the best of both worlds (trainer and RG strats). Added flexibility and burst (but likely at the expense of one more food/marketing milestones)

Cons: Can only be done if no one goes trainer first turn (which is less likely in 4 player games)... and can miss out on some marketing/food producing milestones compared to a pure RG strat... as they get there one turn earlier (while you are grabbing trainer). Just as complex as pure RG strat.

How to combat: Similar to pure RG strats?



Thanks all!




This strategy relys on the fact that nobody else goes trainer first turn. If they do then you don't get the first to train milestone, thus you are forced to fire your campaign manager in turn 3.


Yup understood. Have you tried it though? I was looking more for info on if it actually works (since it never has in a game I've played although I haven't played much at all lately... so many good games so little time....)

Either way I'll probably just leave it off the list since it is sort of a hybrid of already available options... and seems very risky (only safe way to do it is if you are last on the first turn so you KNOW no one went trainer). So all in all likely not a good idea.
 
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