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Subject: Impressions after first play rss

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Chris Oldgeorge
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Although I spent considerable time scouting for things to hunt down in the recent Spiel, Incorporated managed to completely slip under my radar until the last minute, but thankfully I managed to secure a copy. Given the fact that it is fundamentally an auction game it quickly made it to the top of the must-play pile. So if you don't like bickering and bartering and milking your opponents in auctions, you probably won't agree with the rest of this rave review

The fluff of the game is simply enough, each player gets a mega-corporation that strives for world financial domination through market control, with a few more geo-political stuff thrown for good measure, variety and partially catch up mechanisms as you can't really dominate every aspect of the game no matter what.

Essentially the game lasts four rounds, and each round has five phases. In the first phase an Outcome card is drawn that affects global variables and market availability (good thing is that there are a lot of outcome cards so a lot of replay-ability here as each game can be completely different in terms of what's hot and what's not). Furthermore, a variable number (according to the global growth rate) of payout cards is drawn indicating the initial market profitability for the round.

In the second, and in my opinion the meatiest phase, players get to auction investment slots in large established markets. There's a limited supply of said slots, so a lot of thought should go into that process. Auction winner gets the investment card and to occupy a market slot of his choice and more importantly everybody else goes into a reverse auction to liquidate his market position further for some quick cash. It sounds complicated, but it's really not once you get the gist of it and I daresay say it's a fresh and devious approach to the whole auction mechanic as you can get double benefits from forcing an opponent to overextend a bid.

In the third phase, players deploy a number of extra cubes in the countries they hold investment cards for and enjoy a simplistic wargame sub-phase, that flows quite well and forms an integral part of the game's balance. Basically depending on number of investments you get some cubes that you can use to defend your market slots or try to claim empty ones or oust your opponents. If you haven't made people angry with your bidding shenanigans in the previous phase this is an excellent opportunity to ruffle feathers. World Domination is rarely achieved by making friends.

In the fourth phase players get to lobby, either changing some global variables like investment rates, stability, etc, motivating Nato or China to fight each other in 4 global theaters or send agents to financial havens for a better board position next round. Quick phase compared to the previous two, but no less important as some actions can have significant impact on your game strategy (e.g. in our game I was almost wiped by an unforeseen interest rate shift that plunged me in a debt spiral). Phase five is mostly mechanical and clean-upish, where players check for crisis, receive payouts and settle loans.


There are several games with similar mechanics/fluff out there, Global Mogul is the one I remember playing most recently, but with the sole exception of the wonderful Imperial 2030 every other seemed to lack something or have something to bitch about after or during play. Dunno if it was by chance, but the whole play through of Incorporated was highly enjoyable, with lots of contention, people trying various strategies and counters and a crazy last round that produced a winner no one would pick at the start of the round. Some people don't like this sort of thing, but for me it pushes all the right buttons.

And to keep with the positive commentary, it really feels that the game was actually playtested and balanced before publication, and that the designers actually were quite solid on their ideas about the game's direction. In this era of KS-flooding I am really tired of buying half-made or untested games or ending up with living rulebooks, complete rewrites, new editions, etc (not an Eklund fan obviously ). Incorporated is solid, well thought out, nicely balanced (and apparently well scaled for 3 or 4 players) and the rule book is so well written that it should receive an award.

On the downsides, production quality should have been a bit better. I know it's hard for independent publishers to reach the super high standards set by the bigger players, but apart from the excellent board and investment cards, the rest of the components could have been way better. Especially the paper money and the cards. But it's a small gripe really. Another possible downer is that by design, the game is slightly prone to king-making in the end, but much less than others of the genre.

All in all, very happy with my purchase and I hope I'll remain similarly enthusiastic in the plays that will follow our inaugural adventure

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THE REVENGE OF THE GOLDFISH
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Υοu make my daycool
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Thibaut Palfer-Sollier
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Thanks for the review!
 
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Can Adatepe
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Thank you Chris! This is the first review for Incorporated I can't thank you enough for your encouraging words. God knows I need those

That being said, as I'm pessimistic person by nature, I focused solely on negative parts of your review.

I want to tell you and everyone that the flaws in production quality was caused solely due to my inexperience and the rush to make it finished by the time of Spiel. I have had my lesson. In the next print, the component quality will be MUCH better.

Furthermore, for everyone who bought the first edition, I intend to give away the revised components for free (except for shipping).

P.S:

I created a 2 player rule set for Incorporated. Based on my initial play testing, I daresay that 2 player version of the game is surprisingly good for an auction game. I don't understand why I didn't include 2 player rule support in this edition - it was due to my fixation that nobody would want to play this game in duel mode as it is an auction game at its core(and I was dead wrong on that).

Obviously, the 2 player support will be in 2nd print and rules for 2 player version will be free to download in files section here. I look forward for your opinions about 2 player game as well
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Fotis Giakoump
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adatopoulos wrote:

Furthermore, for everyone who bought the first edition, I intend to give away the revised components for free (except for shipping).

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Chris Oldgeorge
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adatopoulos wrote:


I want to tell you and everyone that the flaws in production quality was caused solely due to my inexperience and the rush to make it finished by the time of Spiel. I have had my lesson. In the next print, the component quality will be MUCH better.

Furthermore, for everyone who bought the first edition, I intend to give away the revised components for free (except for shipping).

P.S:

I created a 2 player rule set for Incorporated. Based on my initial play testing, I daresay that 2 player version of the game is surprisingly good for an auction game. I don't understand why I didn't include 2 player rule support in this edition - it was due to my fixation that nobody would want to play this game in duel mode as it is an auction game at its core(and I was dead wrong on that).

Obviously, the 2 player support will be in 2nd print and rules for 2 player version will be free to download in files section here. I look forward for your opinions about 2 player game as well


Excellent news! Not sure how a 2-player auction duel will play out, but I'll probably give it a spin. And since you're planning on making a second print run, how about adding another piece of cardboard so that players can track their industry totals (or a place on the map, but I suppose it would be too cluttered then) - it would speed up the payout phase quite a bit, as well as help people plan their strategy.
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Can Adatepe
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Chris;

Adding an industry track sounds good on theory but during play testing, I scrapped the idea as I felt it made the game too fiddly - too many components for players to be comfortable, see? Also it doesn't greatly speed up the game as you think it does, because then you need time to update the tracks each time a square changes hands. And if you don't update it regularly, then the track doesn't help the player's strategic decisions, then it's not as useful as you think it is. So it's not an elegant solution enough for my taste. But I concede that the game needs such a track.

Anyway it was a really close call and I still think it's a 51-49 decision, but it's not currently in 2nd print plans, as my mind still hasn't changed about it - I search for a more elegant solution...

Besides, after playing the game a few times and get to know which squares are in roughly in which areas, you can count the squares very quickly, reducing the need for the track - or at least that's what happened with me.

But currently there are a few people who told me they wanted to experiment with the idea (by using poker chips), maybe if many people have good results, I'll return to the idea in future, as a sort of add-on.
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Chris Oldgeorge
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Thing is, if you get people playing the game long enough to be able to count market presence on the fly, you probably don't need it - but the caveat is to make a good first impression. Personally, I discovered that too much counting went on during the conflict phase for my licking and a simple attack would often bog down for two three minutes. Not to mention that some times a few mistakes were made in the counting because the black blocking cubes are bigger and hid one smaller cube Minor points, but printing an extra tracking sheet for people to use optionally for that purpose would be ideal.
 
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ozgur ozubek
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this achievement alone is enough for a solid rating. thnx for the review man!

Vexation wrote:
it really feels that the game was actually playtested and balanced before publication, and that the designers actually were quite solid on their ideas about the game's direction. In this era of KS-flooding I am really tired of buying half-made or untested games or ending up with living rulebooks, complete rewrites, new editions, etc (not an Eklund fan obviously ). Incorporated is solid, well thought out, nicely balanced (and apparently well scaled for 3 or 4 players) and the rule book is so well written that it should receive an award.
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ozgur ozubek
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adatopoulos wrote:
I'll return to the idea in future, as a sort of add-on.


did someone say add-on?


by the way, i heard something called "Incorporation:Expats & Mercs" is it true?
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