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Subject: Session Report rss

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art cohen
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I've been trying to get together with some of my former co-dot-commers for The Mother of all Burn Rate Tournaments but last night I could only get Ned to come out. We played a couple of games two-handed but found that a little unsatisfying. Both games were kind of one-sided; in the first game, I kept drawing Bad Idea cards and dumping them on Ned, while in the second game, he got the really good HR VP with a skill level of 3, which made it impossible for me to play any Poach or Bad Hire cards on him.

We were discussing the possibility of having an 8-card hand (instead of 6) when playing with two people, but fortunately, my girlfriend Alicia got home after that, and after dinner we played a three-handed game. Just the addition of one more person made the game a lot more interesting, because if you couldn't play an offensive card on one player, you could usually play it on the other. This convinced me that this game is best played with 3 people, in spite of the "2-4 players" indicated in the rules, and I'd even try it with five or six.

We discussed some ideas for additional cards or house rules. We added a house rule that you have to hold a Bad Idea card for one turn before you can release it; this isn't stated explicitly in the rules, but it makes sense that you should have to work on it for at least one turn before it's ready to release. Given the trouble I had getting around Ned's VP HR, I thought there should be a way to poach employees even if you don't have the matching card (a "3") by adding extra cash to the offer. We didn't really work out the details for that rule though, whether you would need a second card to do so, or if it should just be an option.

My favorite idea, although we haven't drawn the cards yet, would be a "Re-Engineer" or "Re-Brand" card. When we were working at a dot-com, there were inevitably requests to re-brand one of our products for a particular client that would usually involve a significant amount of work to accommondate that client's specific needs. It was almost like building a whole new product. So if you played a Re-Engineer card on someone else's Bad Idea, they would have to use two Release cards, one to get rid of the original idea, and one to re-engineer it (you would actually remove the cards in reverse order, Re-Engineer first, then the Bad Idea card, but the idea is the same).

The only drawback to this idea is that, in Burn Rate, you don't actually ever get any real customers... this might be a good rule to combine with the "Sucker Customer" add-on card that someone submitted to the Burn Rate web site.

Anyway, the three-handed game was a lot more fun, like previous sessions of the game. Watch out for two-handed games, or at least add some extra cards or house rules to keep things moving.
 
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