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Subject: A game of bellhops, concierges and tips; Most money wins! rss

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Mr. Bunny
British Columbia
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It's 1939 and droves of people have descended upon New York for the fabulous World Fair and to see the Trylon and Perisphere! With such large crowds, the hotels will be busy and the bellhops will be overwhelmed. Because of this, teams of bellhops were organized and contracted to hotel management to ensure maximum guest satisfaction.

You are the manager of a team of bellhops working to help the guests of the hotel out. Depending on the number of players you will get a team of 5 (5 players), 6 (4 players) or 7 bellhops (3 players).

The game takes place in a hotel which has has 4 elevators servicing 4 floors and a large number of guests. Each elevator has different cost movement, guest capacity and start floor associated with it.

Elevator #1 - Capacity=14; Start Cost=1, Stop Cost=1 (1st floor)
Elevator #2 - Capacity=13; Start Cost=2, Stop Cost=1 (2nd floor)
Elevator #3 - Capacity=12; Start Cost=2, Stop Cost=1 (3rd floor)
Elevator #4 - Capacity=11; Start Cost=2, Stop Cost=2 (4th floor)

The key to this game is to load each of the elevators as much as possible with the most number of guests and bring them down to the lobby where a bellhop (hopefully yours) will assist them. Each guest will, upon being helped by the bellhop, will "tip" the bellhops. These tips are what score you points around the victory track. The most successful manager of bellhops is the one who has made the most amount of money in tips.

Game Components
There are 4 types of guests and among them are some Big Tippers. From "low" to "high" the tippers are orange, grey, purple and pink. A "guest" is a token which has a number written on one side. This number indicates the floor the guest will start out at. At the end of the game, these values count towards your score as well.

There are "big tipper" guests and there are two of each colour. These don't have a number and instead occupy a single floor starting with the highest floor. Other high tippers will be placed in next available lower floors.

Some luggage tokens which doubles the amount of tips received for a single guest. The placement of luggage works the same way as a big tipper.

A deck of 30 cards consisting of values 2-7. There are 6 of each card valued 2-4 and 4 of each card valued 5-7.

A concierge.

4 elevators with various capacities.

At the beginning of the game, 24 guests are randomly drawn from a bag and placed on their appropriate floors. They are then turned over so that their floor number is hidden. I am not too clear but I believe that the high tippers (pink) guests can only be loaded onto Elevator #4.

Next the deck of cards is shuffled and each player gets 3 cards (4 cards for a 4-5 player game).

Game Flow
The game flow is limited to two actions from the following:

1. Play a card or
1a. Use the concierge - Will explain this later
2. Draw a card
3. Place a bellhop

The other restriction to this is that if a player chooses action "2. Draw a card" their choice for the second action is restricted to either "2. Draw a card" or "3. Place a bellhop".

For example, a player cannot place a bellhop on the first action and draw a card as a second action. The second action must be to play a bellhop.

Play a card or Use the concierge
If the player wishes to play a card they may do so. Or they may make use of the concierge in lieu of playing a card. The concierge's value ranges from 0-6 depending on which position he occupies in the "concierge mailbox".

The values of the card/concierge played must not total more than 7. If you play a "3" value card as your first action, you must play a "4" value card or lower as your second action.

The values of the card(s)/concierge played is the total number of "action points" to move the elevator. All the action points must be used. If not the concierge moves up a value equal to the number of points (to a maximum of 6 - this is the highest value of the "concierge mailbox") that the player did not use.

Loading the elevator with guests of a single colour requires one point. The elevator must be stopped to load guests.

Guests, once in the elevator, do not like to be stopped for any reason and if they are stopped, they will reduce the amount of money they tip by 1. In the game, this means that a column of guests will shift down by a row. If guests are moved past the "1" value row, they simply get annoyed with the elevator operator and decide to take the stairs to the lobby. In any case, they are removed from the elevator and return to the bag The exception to this are the "Big Tippers" who will never move down; they will always tip the maximum amount.

It should be noted that these are the old style elevators which have operators in the elevators themselves. This means that they can be moved either up or down any time.

Draw a card
Cards are very necessary to operate the elevators so make sure that you aren't in short supply. They also provide a built-in timer to the game.

Once the last card is drawn, it begins the end of the game. If the player who drew the last card has a second action, they will continue with their second action. After this every player, including the one who drew the last card, will one more turn of two actions.

Place a bellhop
In the lobby, there are 5 spots each for bellhops at each elevator. The first bellhop waiting at a particular elevator will get the first choice of guests to serve. The second bellhop will get the second choice and so on.

Usually, there will only be one or two types of guests in an elevator so if you don't get your bellhop in early, you won't be able to score.

Once an elevator has stopped at the lobby, all the bellhops there at that particular elevator are removed from the game whether they have served guests or not.

You can place place more than one bellhop. Just simply add your new bellhops to any that you placed before. If there are more bellhops of one colour than another, they will get higher priority when unloading guests.

For example. Blue places a single bellhop in the 1 spot. Red follows with two bellhops in the 2nd spot and Green follows with another two in the 3rd spot. When unloading guests, Red picks first (2 bellhops in 2nd spot), followed by Green (2 bellhops in 3rd spot) followed by Blue (1 bellhop in 1st spot).

Unloading Guests
The only way to score points or get tips is to unload guests. To get the most tips, you have to ensure that you have a bellhop waiting to receive guests and that you haven't annoyed guests by unnecessarily stopping and restarting the elevator.

If your bellhop is first in line, you get the choice of which column (type) of guest you wish to serve. You then score the value of tips they give you. This number is on the elevator itself. As well, you will keep the guests in your pool for scoring at the end of the game. Each guest has a number from 1-4 indicating which floor they came from and these are the points that will be added to your score at the end of the game. These values are hidden from other players until the end of the game.

If you have two bellhops, you get to service two columns (types) of guests.

If you manage to get an elevator to the lobby without a bellhop, you will be forced to call on the concierge who will take a $2 cut of any tips paid out by each guest. This will reduce your score as well as having the effect of you not being able to keep the guests in your hand for additional points at the end of the game.

The concierge will also move up a single value on the "concierge mailbox" equal to the number of guests he had to help.

The maximum value of the concierge mailbox is 6 so by using the concierge, you make it pretty tempting for the next player to take advantage of the 6 action points available to the concierge. Anytime the concierge is used, he will just return to the 0th place of the "concierge mailbox".

After the elevator is unloaded, the same number of guests that were unloaded are randomly drawn from the bag and are placed on their appropriate floors.

End of game
At the end of the game you get points for each of the guests that you have serviced and are in your hand. As mentioned earlier, these will range in value from 1-4 indicating the floor they came from.

A single piece of luggage will give you two points. If you get a set of two, they are worth 5 points.

Big tippers are always worth one point at the end of the game.

You will get 3 points for having helped the most amount of guests in a particular colour.

You will get 3 points for having helped guests of each colour (orange, grey, purple, pink)

Secret Objective Cards
There are a set of 8 secret objective cards that are dealt to each player at the start of the game. They give end of game bonus points for completing the objectives. Some of the objectives may be "Get the most number of guests from the 3rd floor" "Get at least 5 guests from one colour".

This is a quick game of playing cards to get the desired number of actions to start/stop the elevator, load guests and try to unload guests to your waiting bellhop. This game is pretty cooperative in that you cannot single-handedly use your cards to load all guests, and have a bellhop waiting for them; you will need to work with other players to ensure that you get the best benefit.

I liked this game very much because of the theme! The board was very well done in era-appropriate colours and graphics. I especially liked the cards as they were long and narrow and evoked a feeling of the grandiose aspirations of the late 30s.

It is very definitely a Euro in feeling as there are limited choices of what to do. As well, the scoring seemed to be very tight with the whole lot of us spending time about 2-3 points of each other. The decisions didn't appear too difficult and it was a pleasant way to spend an hour with friends.

Some negatives about this is that there seems to be a bit of upkeep with the guests, luggage and big tippers but this will go away after a couple of rounds. Another is that elevator movement appeared unintuitive (to me anyway) because at the end of a player's turn an elevator can still "be in motion" leaving it at the mercy of the next player who can move it up or down or stop it as they choose!

If this game gets published (I hope it does!) I will probably buy a copy.

**Edit** Just want to mention that this review is written after a single play. We played with 5, including Oliver, the game designer.
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United States
Creve Coeur
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Re: A game of bellhops, concierges and tips; Most money wins
thanks for the details. i ran into this game while trying to find other games by the author of "supernova". has he tried submitting the design to to z-man games? the theme is appealing to me. might be because of games like lazy jones, keystone capers, elevator action, etc.
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Oliver Harrison
British Columbia
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Hey Justin,

Glad to hear you're interested - and thanks SO much for the review, Mr Bunny!

I'll keep everyone updated as to what happens with Bellhop - your suggestion is not far off.

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Bill Gallagher
United States
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I'm hoping to see this one get published as well. I had a chance to play the game at Gencon SoCal in Anaheim last November, and enjoyed it.
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