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art cohen
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This game represents one of the best mixes of subject matter and mechanics I've ever seen. It's hard for me to imagine how appealing it might be for people who managed to pass through the Great Dot-Com Bubble unscathed, but for those of us who were there, this game is hilarious, as well as a really fun, simple game.

Kudos to the game designers for coming up with a great "skill level" mechanism for this game. Your ability to play certain cards depends on the skill level of the employees you have. Your ability to fend off attacks from your opponents also depends on your employees' skill, and the way this is implemented is ingenious; it makes the game easy to learn, fun to play and easy to expand (you can add your own cards easily).

But the real genius in this game is the way it encapsulates the madness that was the Late 90s, not just in its cynical deck of "Bad Idea" cards, but in the very rules of the game:

You never earn any revenue from your products, so your only source of money to pay your bills is from venture capital.

Your opponents can hire away your best employees, and you can wind up hiring expensive Vice Presidents who are completly incompetent.

These incompetent VPs will render the skills of your most valuable employees completely worthless.

There is an endless supply of consultants available to help you crank out your worthless product, but they cost three times as much as regular salaried employees.

In most theme-based games, the "theme" is only a thin veneer over some predictable, tried-and-true game mechanics (e.g. "Grass", which is just a minor variation on "Mille Bornes", or the infinite assortment of "Monopoly" spin-offs). In "Burn Rate", by contrast, the theme of the game is an integral part of what makes the game work, and what makes it such a blast to play.

As I said, I don't know how much this would really appeal to non-dot-commmers, but if you, or anyone you know, were there, you owe it to yourself to check out this gem of a game.

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