You're fired - a phrase that come pre-weighted with a lot of assumptions. It could be the end of your career, or the end of a TV show, or something that happens to older board games when they're replaced by newer board games. In this case, it's all of that mashed into one card game! Here we have a fairly light filler that hits all of the same check boxes as Love Letter but hits them with a bit more force and adds a few extra check boxes as well.
You're Fired - designed by Doug Levandowski and published by Button Shy Games. The game is for 2-4 players and takes about 15 minutes to play. My review is in two parts. The first part, How to play goes over the game play itself. If you're just looking for my opinion skip over to the Why you should play section.
Disclaimer: I don't get to put this here disclaimer up very often so pay attention. Button Shy has also published one of my very own designs, Ninja - Silent but Deadly. You should know that this in no way affects this review - I purchased this game myself before my own game was published.
How to Play
The goal of this game is to eliminate your opponents boss before they eliminate yours. Simple, right?
Each player gets one of four companies - and with that company comes 11 cards. The shuffle all 11 of these cards into a neat little deck. There are also a series of consultant cards in the game - this deck is shuffled and each player is secretly (face down) dealt two. These consultants are shuffled into your deck to make it a nice 13 cards in size.
You draw three cards to form your starting hand. If either player happens to draw their Boss card, they reveal the Boss, draw one extra card and shuffle the Boss back into their remaining deck.
On your turn, you draw a card and then play a card. These cards will most likely be Employees or Consultants. You play your card to the Break Room (discard pile) face up. Every card has some kind of effect on it which happens when you play it. There's also an Unemployment Line area - this is where employees who have been Fired go.
A few examples: The Manager. When you play the Manager, you fire a random employee from an opponent's hand. The Manager can also be Reactive - meaning you can play this card when it's not your turn. In the Manager's case, if you're Boss is about to get fired, you can instead play the Reactive ability of the Manager and said Manager gets fired instead. Which is, in my experience, entirely too realistic.
Some Employees effects are only triggered when they are Fired. Also, there's the Boss. If the Boss ever ends up fired or played to your Break Room, you lose. If however an opponent tries to Fire your Boss and they fail (because maybe you have an unsuspecting Manager handy) you get to shuffle your Break Room cards and your hand back into your main deck and draw a new hand.
There are a few changes if you're playing with 3 or 4 players - each time a player is eliminated (their Boss is fired/taking a break) the other players shuffle their Break Room and hand into their deck and draw a new hand.
Game play continues until only one player is left still employed
Why you should play
If you enjoy Love Letter - this is a lot like it but better. Why is it better? You've got more options, you've got several ways of recycling many cards in your deck, the Intern cards make every game different (and this works better than Love Letter's taking 1 card and putting it aside). Sure, their's player elimination but in a game that lasts fifteen minutes with most of the players being eliminated in the last five it's really not a strike against it.
Now my family (for a wonder, all four of us) really do enjoy a good game of Love Letter. It's fast, simple, easy to teach, easy to learn and plays in a very short amount of time. However, it was getting a bit stale for us. Then along came You're Fired and suddenly we've got a game that's just as fast, just as fun but employs a bit more of a strategic element and where it's not all that common to knock someone out on the first turn just by guessing a card.
You're Fired is still a light game but it manages to give you some important choices to make while you're playing it where you're not entirely at the mercy of another player's single card. Those reaction cards are key to this. We as a family really like that.
Now this is a little bit of a "take that" game so keep that in mind if that's not your style.
I can say that there's really only one reason we're still playing Love Letter at all and that reason is Batman.
Other than our occasional forays into Joker territory though we're pretty much sticking with You're Fired. It's just got better game play and is less reliant on only 16 cards being shuffled.
Thanks for the review and glad you enjoyed it!