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Subject: [Review] Get Paul that Promotion rss

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Tom Vasel
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Get Paul That Promotion (Black and White Games, 2005 - Mike Petty), uses the slogan “Just how uncreative can you get?” This was an interesting point for me, because many party games Time’s Up, Why did the Chicken?, and others absolutely depend on the fact that the group playing the game be creative and fun-loving. That’s one of the reasons that I believe Apples to Apples does so well, because even people without one creative bone in their body can play the game easily. So this slogan intrigued me, combined with the fact that Mike’s last two party games - What’s it To Ya?, and Why did the Chicken (He helped develop it.) - are some of my favorites.

I did enjoy Get Paul That Promotion, but the game shares the same necessity as other party games of its genre - active, creative people. Only in this game, people use their creativity to be uncreative. The theme of the game is fun and unusual: players are working for a slogan company, along with a guy named Paul. Paul’s pretty much a loser but finally has a chance to get a promotion - provided everyone else slacks off at work. Therefore players must seek to produce bad slogans - although not TOO horrific. It’s a neat theme, and works well with the game, which is enjoyable.

Three decks of cards are shuffled and placed in the middle of the table: “Announcing” cards, “New Products” cards, and “For the Masses” cards. Each player is given a pen and some paper, and one player is chosen to go first - become the “client”.

The client turns over the top card of each deck, showing an advertising assignment for the players. The combinations of cards may come up with such strange items as “A low cost digital camera for liberals”, or “An expensive cheese appealing to people, who already have everything.” All players except for the client then write down a product name and a slogan on their slips of paper, passing them in to the client. Once everyone has submitted an idea, the client reads them all out loud then arranges them in order, from best to worst. The client has total control over the arrangement, doing whatever amuses him, looking for the best product. Each paper then has the points for that round written on it.
- Best idea scores -1 points.
- Second best idea scores 0 points
- Worst idea scores 2 points (with six, last two ideas!)
- All other ideas score 1 point

Everyone then takes their slips back, and the next player (clockwise) becomes the client. The game continues until everyone has been the client once (or more - depending on the whim of the players). Players then add up their scores from their slips and announce them to the group. The player with the highest score is a terrible worker and is fired immediately for being such a slacker. At the same time, the player with the lowest score is viewed as a “suck-up” by his fellow employees and loses all fellowship with fellow employees. Everyone else wins! (And Paul gets the promotion as long as nobody has a lower score than he does - determined by a chart in the rules).

Some comments on the game...

1.) Components: Those expecting to find high quality should know that Black and White Games takes a “Cheapass” approach, printing out lower quality games for a rather low price. The game I have is the “deluxe” version, housed in a plain white, almost cube-shaped box. Six pens (nice!) are included, along with a lot of paper. There are about twenty cards of each of the three decks - all printed on thin cardstock. Sure, this isn’t the best quality, but for the low price and amount of fun gotten from the game I didn’t mind at all.

2.) Rules: The rules are printed on both sides of an 8 ½” by 11” paper, are well- formatted and filled with humor. The game is extremely easy to teach, after one round, players understand - most of them before the first round. I’ve found that playing the game with teenagers wasn’t quite as fun as adults, as cheesy slogan ideas seem to come naturally to those who are older.

3.) Cards: The three card decks combine to make some rather interesting combinations. The Announcing deck seemed a bit superfluous, as many of the cards were functionally the same. I mean, how different are “A much improved...”, “A high class...”, “An ideal....”, and “The absolute best...” going to affect the slogans players make. And every once in a while, we got a combination that seemed a bit bland “An ideal toothpaste for everyone!”. This doesn’t mean I’m unhappy with the choices on the cards - I’m actually pleased with them except on rare occasions like above. Still, I’m considering making my own, personalized decks, so that I can add even more humor to the game.

4.) Creativity and Strategy: At first glance, the basic strategy for the game seems to be that players should attempt to make cheesy and dull slogans - but not overly so, so that they stay in the middle of the pack. But if a player makes a witty slogan (and gets the best score), they can then do a deliberate terrible job on the next slogan, thus having the two scores cancel each other out. Creativity is actually good in the game, as long as you aren’t the most creative. And every once in a while, one of my slogans, which I thought was actually rather clever, was picked to be the worst.

5.) Choosing: We actually changed a rule, since I play with some (at times) very “gamey” people. Instead of having the client read the slogans themselves, we had another person at the table read them (a la Why did the Chicken?). This kept players from recognizing others’ handwriting, and acting accordingly.

6.) Fun Factor and Time: Once around the table seemed a bit too fast, as we had a blast playing the game. But twice around the table brought the game to a decent length (around 45 minutes), and kept everyone’s attention. The game wasn’t quite as fun as my favorites (Time’s Up, and Why did the Chicken?), but was fun enough and original enough that I’ll gladly bring it to parties often.

Mike Petty has a very good talent for taking a simple idea and making an excellent game from it. Get Paul that Promotion is no exception, as it takes the idea of making slogans for stupid products into a rather fun experience. Some riotous laughing occurred in my playings of the game, and everyone I played with enjoyed the game tremendously. For the low cost, this is one party game that you can’t afford to skip!

Tom Vasel
“Real men play board games.”
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