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Grzegorz Majewski
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Before we get deeply into our case study I would strongly recommend to get familiar with the rulebook. It’s because during analysis of possible player’s strategies and decision processes we will be calling particular rules of “Show Business”. I hope that following case study will give you good overview on how the play looks like and what kind of decisions it requires from player in order to be successful winner.

During Essen fair I had very often surprising feedbacks from potential players, who didn’t play the game, but they had valuated it just basing on impressions coming from first look on front cover. They kept saying that “Show Business” looked like rather family, fun and simple game, not for “serious players”. There’s nothing more erroneous. Yes, the front cover of “Show Business” doesn’t resemble other best known “serious games” because of its cartoon, flashy style a little bit “cliché” (as often show business itself). But inside you will find I think quite complex and challenging game with many options and strategies leading to victory.

“Show Business” however is not a game, where you can built up consistent long-term strategy throughout entire game and stick to it, once you’ve established it. This is because show business as a branch in real life is not such predictable area as any other stable industries, e.g. automotive, mines, railways and so on. The game tries to reflect this as much as possible.

“Show Business” requires from you good observation of changes in the market and a dose of imagination how to benefit from appearing opportunities. You should catch opportunities quickly before they disappear, because the same situation may never happen again in this and even in next games. The most important to win the game is to optimize every action in order to get most possible of it in current moment. The same situation in the game can be useful for you right now but couple of rounds later may not. This is because you will be exposed every minute to many options with obvious lack of time to use them all. You will have to choose most optimal one, which will give you the best profit in particular moment as well as will give good starting position for your next round. It’s simply like playing pool. It’s good to put the bill into the hole but it is even better to place white bill after this in good position for next move and so on. If you possess such a skill you will be perfect band manager.

Let’s do our exemplary case study and look how possible player’s thinking might look like in his one round. The objective during entire game is the same: to raise popularity of the group on popularity track (victory points) and to earn as much money as possible. Each action must take it into consideration in most effective way. Let’s look on the current situation in the game as on the image below and put ourselves into position of red player, who manages rock band “Stool Job” and whose round is about to start.



Important information, that we can read from the image above are following:

A. Rock band accounts for 4 musicians and none of them is already experienced. There are no concert tokens on any of musician cards in red band [see rulebook page 7 Action >> Tournee >> Concert];

B. Yellow player has more experienced musicians, because there are total of three concert tokens of their cards.

C. Red player keeps in the hand 4 influence cards (DJ with power 1, A&R with power 1, SPONSOR with power 2 and PILOT with power 2).

D. Red player plays his round just before yellow player, because the turn goes clockwise and red player is next to the right of yellow player.

E. Yellow player is last in turn, because yellow octogon on time track is set aside. It means that just after yellow player completes her round the turn is finished and special event is triggered on EVENT RONDEL [see rulebook page 6 step 8 Event rondel] . Moreover, whatever yellow player does in her round this turn, she will certainly also trigger Quarter End events. Her octogon is one field 27 next to the orange field 28 of Quarter End. Each action always results in movement of at least 1 field ahead of player’s marker on time track, so in this case yellow player will move at least to the orange field 28 in first action and this will trigger Quarter End events like scoring the Charts, paying expenditures and control of satisfaction [see rulebook, page 5 step 3 – Time lapse];

F. Actually event marker on EVENT RONDEL stays on the event POPULARITY CHECK [see rulebook page 12 – EVENT RONDEL]. After end of this turn, after yellow player completes her round, it will move one field clockwise and stop on field SALARIES, which makes all players pay salary to their bands.

Moreover, band manager during entire game should control following indicators:

G. Popularity – In the beginning on current red player’s round his popularity is 5.
H. Satisfaction – In the beginning on current red player’s round satisfaction in red band is maximum and accounts for 5.
I. Money – red player has 26 fons in the beginning of his round.
J. Current costs – they are represented by used influence cards placed on Influence field on band board. Up to the beginning of current round red player has used influence cards with total sum of their powers 18. This number indicates how much fons red player will have to pay during Quarter End event [see rulebook page 10, Quarter End >> Clearing].


Attention: For better picture of game I’ve placed only red and yellow markers, however it is 5 players game. This is why we see songs of 5 different colors (players) on the Charts.

Let’s analyze possible actions that red player can do and calculate potential benefits and consequences of each, before we decide.

=============================================================================

OPTION A – Cash and experience



Analysis:
1. Red player has not much money – only 26 fons.

2. At Quarter End event, which will be certainly triggered after yellow player’s round, red player will have to pay 18 fons for used influence cards laying on Influence field of his band board [see rulebook page 10, Quarter End >> Clearing]. In fact, red player has then available 8 fons.

3. Red player is also aware that by coincidence after yellow player’s round he will have to pay salary of 20 fons to the bank (5 times 4 musician cards) [see rulebook page 12 – EVENT RONDEL]. He decides to use his round to improve his financial situation but how to earn best money in current round ?

4. There are only 2 concerts in neighborhood of red player’s van on the map that are quickly accessible by road - in city “I” and city “P” and both are rather cheap for 5 fons. These concerts neither give enough money for salaries nor popularity for red musicians, because yellow tokens cannot be placed on red musician cards [see rulebook page 7 Action >> Tournee >> Concert]. This is not a good option to use.

5. In the nearest future two new rock concerts (red) will be available in Europe: B10 and K15, because they are available on concert market on top of the map. Both give much better money 10 and 15 fons which is sufficient to pay salary. The problem is that both concerts are not available in the beginning of red player’s round and are further away from actual position of red player on the map and from each other. It would be difficult to perform them both during one action just traveling by van.

Action:



A. First action: Red player plays out of his hand DJ (1) card and places it on influence field on his band board, moves his octogon 1 field ahead on time track to field 24 and uses special skill of DJ in order to remove from the map three concert tokens: yellow I5, yellow P5 and white N10 [see rulebook page 9, Characters >> DJ].Why these ? To hinder yellow player to play concerts in the neighborhood, especially those yellow ones, which might bring two extra popularity points to her yellow musicians. After removing those three concert tokens, red player makes up the map by moving three tokens from the concert market: red B10, red K15 and D10 (the furthest possible from yellow player).



B. Second action: Red player plays out of his hand PILOT (2) card and places it on influence field on his band board, moves his octogon 2 fields ahead on time track to field 26 and uses special skill of PILOT by picking up any two concert tokens from any cities, regardless actual position of his van on the map [see rulebook page 10, Characters >> PILOT]. He decides to pick up two red tokens: B10 and K15, takes from the bank 25 fons and places both red tokens on his musician cards Richard Kiss and Paul Tergeist. This will give two extra popularity points on nearest Quarter End event [see rulebook page 10 – QUARTER END >> POPULARITY].

Benefits of this option:

1. Revenue of 25 fons and certainty that the band will be paid full salary of 20 and will not have to perform in advertising [see rulebook page 7 – fragment starting with “Anytime during the game …”].

2. Two extra victory points on Quarter End coming from 2 red concert tokens placed in this round on musician cards.


Costs of this option

1. Cost of 3 fons – red player used for two actions two influence cards with sum of powers 3 (DJ with power 1 and PILOT with power 2) [see rulebook page 10 – QUARTER END >> CLEARING];

2. There are already five songs on Top Ten Charts. If yellow player places successfully her song to the Charts, red song likely will drop out from the Charts because it is the weakest on 5th position and is not suitable well to market trend [see rulebook page 10 – CHARTS >> SCORING]. If during the Quarter End event band hasn’t got a song scored on the Charts, its satisfaction will drop (in this case significantly by 4 fields) [see rulebook page 10 – QUARTER END >> SATISFACTION CHECK]. Red player soon will have to take care of improving this satisfaction, otherwise he is endangered by lose of 3 musicians after next turn is finished (event marker will reach then the field INTEGRATION CONTROL on EVENT RONDEL) [see rulebook page 12 – EVENT RONDEL >> INTEGRATION CONTROL].

Total balance of this option

Money:
Before round: 26 fons cash -18 fons to be reserved for so far used influence cards = 8 fons available
Changes: +25 fons from red concert tokens played – 3 fons from two influence cards used for playing them.
After round: 30 fons available (at the end of the game this gives 3 popularity points)

Popularity:
Before round: 5
Changes: +2 from red concert tokens placed on musician cards grante on Quarter End event
After round: 7 (at Quarter End event)

Satisfaction:
Before round: 5
Changes: -4 (probable, if red song will get out from the Charts)
After round: 1


=============================================================================

OPTION B – Support for song on the Charts and triggering the Charts scoring



Analysis:
1. There are already 5 songs on the Charts that remain there after previous scoring, when field 14 of Quarter End was crossed. The song of red player on field 5 is the weakest, and will likely drop down from the Charts during scoring at the end of this turn, especially if yellow player successfully places her already recorded song to the Charts. Red player is aware that if this happens his band’s satisfaction will go down immediately by four fields in the nearest Quarter End event, just after yellow player completes her round. The only way then to help his song survive on the Charts and thus to avoid drop of band’s satisfaction is to manipulate actual trend (trend dice) in order to make it better suitable to his song [see rulebook page 7 – ACTION >> TREND].

2. Red player however doesn’t have any supporting card in hands to change actual trend to make it similar with any element of song. However such a card with best awarded option of Rock style, the same as style of red song (TREND EXPERT 4 with icon R), is available on the field 3 of influence market. If red player successfully changes trend style to [R]ock and immediately triggers Quarter End with Chart scoring (it means reaches or crosses orange field 28) he is very likely to win Charts. Why ? Song of black player from field 1 is worth 7 points (because it is compatible with trend in style B – 4 points, tempo – 2 points and volume – 1 point). When red player successfully changes style in trend from B to R, now his song will be worth 7 points (because it will be compatible with style R – 4 point and text – 3 points) but black song will be worth only 3 points. All other songs won’t have more points than red song [see rulebook page 10 – CHARTS >> SCORING].

3. Red player sees however that he has not enough power in his influence cards to move successfully to at least orange field 28 to trigger Charts scoring in Quarter End. He would have to have at list one card with power 2 and one with power 3 (total 5) to move 5 fields ahead in two actions, but he hasn’t got.

Action:



A. During step 2 of his round [see rulebook page 5 – PLAYER’S ROUND >> MARKET REVIEW] red player removes from influence market Femme Fatale (1) card from field 1 paying to the bank 1 fon. All cards above drop one field down and new card is drawn from pile to empty field 4. Now Trend Expert (4) card with icon R is accessible on field 2.



B. First action: Red player plays out of hand A&R (1) card and places it on influence field on his band board, moves one field ahead on time track to field 24 and uses special skill of A&R. He wants to change positions of his octogon with octogon of yellow player [see rulebook page 9 – CHARACTERS >> A&R]. This is most unpredictable part of this strategy, because yellow player may defend with BODYGUARD card or A&R card of power 1 or higher. Fortunately yellow player doesn’t defend and red player places his octogon on field 27 and yellow player’s octogon to field 25 (because red marker was already moved 2 fields ahead from its starting field 23 by playing A&R (2) card). Now he is able to easily trigger the Chart scoring with simultaneous change of trend in second action.



C. Second action: Red player plays out of hand PILOT (2), places it on influence field on his band board and moves his octogon to field 29, crossing as first orange field 28 (this will trigger Quarter End events after he completes his round). Instead of using for action the PILOT (2) card played out of hand, red player calls for TREND EXPERT (4) card from field 2 on influence market [see rulebook page 6 – ACTION]. Now he uses this taken card to change white die of music style to value R [see rulebook page 7 – ACTION >> TREND]. Songs on the Charts are already presented in sequence after scoring.

Benefits of this option:

1. Red player triggers Charts scoring just after it changed trend supporting the song of his band. It turns out that after change now song of red wins the Charts [see rulebook page 10 – CHARTS >> SCORING]. Finally red song will get 5 points of popularity and 1 extra bonus popularity point for matching the style (white die).

2. Red band is unique in terms of style – all musicians play rock (all their cards are placed red side up), so red player shouldn’t be afraid of drop of satisfaction within the band [see rulebook page 10 – QUARTER END >> SATISFACTION CHECK].

Costs of this option:

1. Cost of 8 – fons (A&R with power 1, PILOT with power 2, TREND EXPERT with power 4 taken from the market + 1 fon spent to refresh influence market).

2. Red player hasn’t earned any money during this round and after the turn is finished all players will have to pay salary to their bands (20 fons for red band musicians). So, red player now has 25 fons but he has to pay first 26 fons for used influence cards on QUARTER END event (18 used in previous round and 8 in this round) [see rulebook page 10 – QUARTER END >> CLEARING] and soon after yellow player completes her round – another 20 fons for salary [see rulebook page 12 – EVENT RONDEL >> SALARIES]. He doesn’t have such amount of money, so he will have to PERFORM IN ADVERTISING – he will have to return 4 popularity points exchanging them for 20 fons in order to cover his expenses [see rulebook page 7 – fragment starting from “Anytime during the game …”].

Total balance of this option

Money:
Before round: 26 fons cash -18 fons to be reserved for so far used influence cards = 8 fons available
Changes: -8 fons for all influence cards played during this round
After round: 0

Popularity:
Before round: 5
Changes:
+6 from red song winning the Charts
-4 from performing in advertising (for each deducted popularity point red player receives 5 fons – total 20 fons, which spends to pay salaries to his musicians.
After round: 7 (at Quarter End event)


Satisfaction:
Before round: 5
Changes: 0
After round: 5


=============================================================================

OPTION C – Cash, experience and new song

Analysis:
All analyses issues are the same as in previous options. Now red player thinks hardly how to combine option A and B into one round. Let’s see what red player figured out.



Action:
A. In order to avoid “weak hand” effect red player removes in step 2 of his round two influence cards from fields 1 and 2 of influence market and pay to the bank 3 fons. He just estimates that both removed cards cannot bring him valuable actions at this moment, while cards on fields 3 and 4 can. After removal, cards from fields 3 and 4 drop down sequentially to fields 1 and 2 and thus emptied fields 3 and 4 are filled with two new cards drawn randomly from pile. Now card TREND EXPERT (4) is accessible on field 1 and GROUPIE (3) on field 2. Remember that red player has on hand influence cards only with powers 1 and 2.



B. First action: Red player plays out of hand the card A&R (1), moves his octogon one field ahead on time track to field 24 and calls for TREND EXPERT (4) card from field 1 on influence market. Afterwards he, places both influence cards on influence field on his band board and uses TREND EXPERT (4) card to do the action instead of A&R (1) [see rulebook page 6 – ACTION]. He decides to use TREND EXPERT (4) card and its 4 points to play two yellow concerts in the city “I” and “P” as well as record song in studio “P” [see rulebook page 7-8 – CONCERT and RECORDING]. He gets from the bank relatively low amount of 10 fons, but he decides to place both yellow concert tokens on his musician cards in order to have extra popularity points on nearest QUARTER END event. However all musicians in his band are actually red (rock style) and red player must change actual style of two musicians: Paul Tergeist and Ed Ward to pop (yellow). He just flips both cards in order to have them yellow side up. Now tokens picked up during travel may be placed on each empty field on both cards. Picking up tokens from “I”, moving to “P” and picking token from “P” used already three points of TREND EXPERT (4) card. There is still one point left and red player uses it to record a song. He picks up red song from studio “P”, where he finished his movement and decides to write [P]op song (letter “P” in first field of the song) with the rest of elements identical to actual trend on trend dice. Why [P]op instead of [R]ock (which is the band origin style) or (B)lack, which is actually trendy (see white trend die) ? For following reasons. First of all now red player has two experienced musicians in [P]op (yellow concert tokens just placed on their cards) and when he decides to record [P]op song, those musicians bring two extra points to the [P]op song in its 5th field. If he had decided to record [R]ock or (B)lack song, no extra experience point would have been added. (B)lack song additionally might lower down significantly satisfaction in the group, because none musician play this style actually. Another reason is that yellow pop player plays after red player and possibly she may be interested in changing the style to P, which is the style of her band and experience musicians (see yellow tokens on her musicians). If that happens, red player is ready with his pop song now.



C. Second action: Red player plays out of hand PILOT (2) card, moves his octogon 2 fields ahead to field 26 on time track, calls for GROUPIE (3) card from field 2 of Influence market and places both influence cards on influence field on his band board. Instead of using PILOT (2) card played from the hand, red player uses GROUPIE (3) card from influence market to do the action. This was necessary, because red player wants to promote his song to the Charts and he noticed that at this moment this requires playing influence card with power 3 and paying 10 fons [see rulebook page 9 – PROMOTION]. Red player couldn’t have promoted the song to the charts with any of his cards in the hand, because minimum power necessary to promote song to field 6 is 3 and red player hadn’t got influence card with power 3 or more on the hand).

Benefits of this option:

1. 2 extra popularity points coming from two yellow concert tokens on musician cards. They will be granted just after yellow player completes her round (Quarter End events).

2. New song successfully promoted to the Charts and almost perfectly suited (except style) to actual trend with high probability to survive on the Charts and to avoid drop of band’s satisfaction.

3. 10 fons of income

Costs of this option:

1. 23 fons (3 fons spent for refreshing the influence market, 1 fon for A&R card played out of hand, 4 fons for TREND EXPERT card taken from the market, 2 fons for PILOT (2) card played out of hand, 3 fons for GROUPIE (3) card taken from the market and 10 fons for promotion of song to the Charts).

2. Red player couldn’t trigger Quarter End event in his round and now trend is exposed for potential trend manipulation of yellow player. However red player knows that yellow player has only one action before she triggers Quater End and she may change at most one trend element. If yellow player decides to change trend in music style this will be certainly Pop music which now perfectly suits to red player’s pop song. If any other, well, red player still keeps on the hand SPONSOR (2) card, which can use to resolve a tie with his song in his favor [see rulebook page 11].

3. Red player hasn’t earned any money during this round and after the turn is finished all players will have to pay salary to their bands (20 fons for red band musicians)



Total balance of this option

Money:
Before round: 26 fons cash -18 fons to be reserved for so far used influence cards = 8 fons available
Changes:
+10 fons from two yellow concerts
-23 fons for all influence cards played during this round
After round: -5 fons

Popularity:
Before round: 5
Changes:
+2 granted at Quarter End event from two yellow concert tokens
+3 assuming 3rd position of red song on the Charts after scoring at Quarter End, but it may be more. It depends on what yellow player does in her first action. Since we cannot estimate it precisely, let’s put the average condition (red song is now compatible with three elements of trend, so it is justifiable).
-5 because red player has -5 fons. Since at the end of this turn an event SALARIES is triggered on EVENT RONDEL, red player will have to pay salaries to his musicians equal to 20 fons and pay that -5 fons. He has not enough money, so he will have to gain 25 fons by moving down his octagon on popularity track by 5 fields (PERFORMING IN ADVERTISING).
After round: 5 with chance for more (at Quarter End event)


Satisfaction:
Before round: 5
Changes: -2 because of two yellow musicians, who are now in the group when they changed style
After round: 3

So, let’s compare our options to see what results they produce after turn:

OPTION A – Money: 30; Popularity: 7; Satisfaction 1 – nice cash and popularity, but danger to lose the group because of poor satisfaction. Certainly one of next actions of red player will have to be spend to improve that satisfaction.
OPTION B – Money: 0; Popularity: 7; Satisfaction: 5 – good popularity and satisfaction, but no cash – very safe option
OPTION C – Money: 0; Popularity: 5 with chance for more; Satisfaction: 3 – risky variant, that however can pay off. It can bring even popularity on level 8 (if the song wins the Charts), but it depends on what yellow player does after round of red player.


Can you decide now, what is the best solution for you ?


Of course those three options are not only ones. There are couple of other possibilities. For instance red player sees that yellow player is better in popularity points as well as has more experienced band. He may try to spoil a little bit her career with two wonderful ladies in “Show Business”: FEMME FATALE (can lower down satisfaction in yellow player’s band) and GROUPIE (can steal popular musician from yellow player’s band with concert tokens on it and bring to red player’s band). Both actions are negative, hostile activities. If you think that these behaviors spoil a little bit “Show Business”, let me invite you to 5th and last part of our academy, where I explain how to modify a little bit rules in order to eliminate this and have more predictable game.
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Andrzej Kurek
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It all means: "Take money and run" )
 
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