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Subject: 8-Bit Inc. - NES or Atari 5200? rss

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After seeing some 8-Bit Inc. images in the gallery I thought it seemed like a cute game. After finding out it was just two pages including rules, I printed it out and decided to give it a spin.

The first thing I noticed is the rules are kind of confusing. As such I might have got something wrong while playing, if anything in this review reeks of "you didn't play that right!" please do point it out.

8-Bit Inc. in a solitaire worker placement game reminiscent of Stone Age. You are the boss of a software company with the goal to be the richest and most prestigious at the end of three full years.

There is no real "goal" given in the rules, no sort of measuring stick to compare your final score against, I guess you're just trying to best yourself. I don't particularly have a problem with that concept, but something to compare against would be nice.

RULES

The game is rather simple, you start out with 2 employees which you can assign jobs (upgrading graphics, sound, or programming) or you can rent them out to other development houses for the lofty sum of 1G per season.



So let's say I put Mimi in the graphics room and I contract Dogmeat out. After placing them there I gain 1G for contracting out Dogmeat and I roll 3d6, and roll 3, 4, and 2.

Mimi gives the graphics room a cost of 2, and you can not 'get change from dice', so that 3 is worthless to me. I put the 2 in the graphics room and move the graphics up one notch (toward a max of 10). I take the 4 and put it in the hire room.

The hire room is how you get new workers. It has a cost of 4 and cannot be lowered in any way. When you hire you draw 2 workers and discard 1, putting the other in the rec room.

After this you have the option to spend 3G to roll 2d6 as a "boost" but these cannot be used for hiring, only for upgrades.

Following this, you exhaust all workers who preformed upgrades, and ready all workers who spend the turn in the rec room.

There are a couple specifics I didn't touch upon, but that's the whole game. So how does it play?

REVIEW

Not too smoothly.

In the first season of the first year I hired two new workers, in the second season of the first year, I hired another to bring my total to 5. This was my team for the entire game.

My first year's game wasn't very good (GS of 5, ranked 3rd), but with that start in years 2 and 3 I was unstoppable. every turn I would commit my most efficient worker to an upgrade job, send three workers out on contracts, and rest the worker that upgraded the previous turn. With this setup my GS scores in years 2 and 3 were 8 and 9, ranking 1st both years.

A huge problem with this game is that you have almost no reason to commit more than 1 worker per season to an upgrade. Sure if it's summer and you really need something done, maybe, but generally if you work 1, contract X and rest 1, you'll just be raking in the G.

One of the notes about the game that I left out was that you have to pay your workers 1G every summer or they return to the hire pool. This is never a problem, and the fact that it's optional is weird. It shouldn't be optional, there should be some sort of reinforcement built into the game to punish a player for taking on more workers than they could support, not just the worker departing.

Also since it's optional you don't need to pay them in the third year at all. That makes no sense to me. The whole payment of your workers feels terribly unfinished.

Worst of all, there's nothing difficult about this game!

This is a solo game, a solo game should present a challenge, it should be FULL of important decisions, it should make the player sweat and think "I hope that was the right move" and it should punish them mercilessly for missteps. This game has none of those features. I felt that by turn 3 (of 12) the game had been solved and the rest of the game was autonomous.

This is a terribly cute idea, the art looks good, and somewhere in these two pages there's a delicious omelet waiting to be devoured, but I'm left with a taste of raw eggs.
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Ilya Baranovsky
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Quote from Robertson Sondoh Jr from here:
Quote:
...mistake on 2 of the worker tokens:

1. Will Wrong (Bill Wright)
2. Shigeru

Both token was fixed in the tricoloured version (black, white & red). You have to play that version instead because the coloured version is easy to get high score.
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Philip Pack
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Thanks for letting me even know about this game. Wouldn't had found it if it wasn't for your review. It may not end up being exciting, but the theme has me interested enough to download and try. Reading on the publishers webpage, they were inspired by Game Dev Story (iOS/Android game) which I also love. Looking forward to trying... will add my comments after playing it.
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I did notice that there was a correction and my findings between playing with the misprint pieces vs. the corrected pieces was minimal. The strategy I outlined above still worked (ramp to 5 workers, work 1 rest 1 contract 3) the difference with the corrected version being I had to boost more, but I was still dominating the 2nd and 3rd years.

Having to boost more simply mean your final score comes down to how lucky you roll on upgrades as the G you're spending on boosting is part of your final score.

In the end the corrected pieces made me score lower, not through making the game more difficult, but through the numbers I'd roll.

I've come up with thoughts on how to compete against AI companies, but I don't think it would do much to spice up a game that's just too easy/too lucky.

DjFIL wrote:
Thanks for letting me even know about this game. Wouldn't had found it if it wasn't for your review. It may not end up being exciting, but the theme has me interested enough to download and try. Reading on the publishers webpage, they were inspired by Game Dev Story (iOS/Android game) which I also love. Looking forward to trying... will add my comments after playing it.


I'm glad you found it too, I feel there might be a fun game to be found here someday, and like I said I REALLY like the art and theme. The more folks who play this and provide feedback, the better.


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Robertson Sondoh Jr
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Thank you for the review and playing the game. The game mechanic is inspired by Kingsburg, on our first prototype I actually did put money value of each worker which depend on their skills. Eventually that idea was scrapped to make for easier play.

I really welcome any idea and suggestion on how to improve the game to make it better. I also definitely would like to hear about your thought on the competing with the AI companies. Thank you again for the review.

rob
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