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Ground Floor» Forums » Reviews

Subject: A Strong Econ Game With Lots of Options rss

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Stephen Schaefer
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Tasty Minstrel Games found its way on my radar with Eminent Domain, an elegant blend of deck-building and role selection, with a hook that always pulls me in: a space theme. I missed the initial Kickstarter campaign for that game but it found its way into my collection quickly. It’s one of several titles from that company that I have enjoyed, so I did not pass up the chance to fund a campaign for the economic game Ground Floor. It arrived last week and found its way to the table in short order. This game was certainly worth the wait.

An econ game of this sort features a lot of different kinds of resources that need to be managed. The two principal forms of currency are money and “info”, and most actions in the game will require both. Your company will generate supply cubes, either to trade for immediate benefits or put on the market for consumers to buy. The main board sports a job market track, where the cost to hire new employees will fluctuate over time, and a “popularity” track that acts as a turn order feature. There is also a space for Economic Forecast cards that give a general range of how many consumers will be in the market, and how much the job market will fall, for the round to come. The main resource you’ll be managing, however, is time: a stack of markers that will grow as you hire employees and be placed around the table to run your business.

Each player starts with a main board that serves as his “ground floor”; a rooftop for the building that denotes a small, unique bonus; a single employee (yourself) with some time markers; some “info” and a supply cube. The game runs in three stages of three rounds apiece, or nine total. You begin by receiving income and hiring new employees, if desired, and in the meat of the round, placing and resolving your time markers. The round ends with a maintenance phase that sets up the board for the next round.

The way these effects resolve depends on where you place your time. Markers placed on your player board resolve immediately and tend to have small benefits, but markers placed on the main board resolve in a later phase of each round. The main board is where big gains are made, but they are also highly speculative; it’s not unusual for markers to go unused on the main board, leaving the player unable to make important gains like gathering info or selling their products on the market. The main board also contains a set of floors and Tenant Improvement tiles, that build up your building and provide Victory Points and various other bonuses. These tiles come out in stages, with income bonuses coming early and big endgame points coming in the later rounds.

The production quality of this game is fantastic. All of the boards and tiles (and currency) are thick and sturdy, and all the player pieces are brightly-colored wood pieces. The artwork is a bit subdued, but appropriate to the theme, and all the pertinent game information is on clear display. Of particular note, the ground floor of the player board has an odd-shaped cutout in the top, and the floors and rooftops are cut at angles to create an angled, 3D-style perspective of the building. It may or may not be necessary but it’s a great piece of chrome and a creative way to display information.

Early plays of this game have shown an embarrassment of riches when it comes to options. There are many ways to pull in money, work the popularity track, upgrade your business, and they all feel important. On the one hand, that means more plays will be needed to get a good feel for where to place priorities. But with a variable stack of economic cards, and the new gameplay options that came as Kickstarter rewards, I have no compunction about bringing it back to the table over and over again.

limecamellimecamellimecamellimecamellimecamellimecamellimecamellimecamelorangecamelorangecamel (8/10)

cross-posted on boardgaming.com
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Michael Mindes
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The Schaef wrote:
On the one hand, that means more plays will be needed to get a good feel for where to place priorities. But with a variable stack of economic cards, and the new gameplay options that came as Kickstarter rewards, I have no compunction about bringing it back to the table over and over again.

limecamellimecamellimecamellimecamellimecamellimecamellimecamellimecamelorangecamelorangecamel (8/10)

cross-posted on boardgaming.com


Thanks for posting the review!
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Stephen Schaefer
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Thanks for publishing fun games!

In our first game, only one of us scored over 40, none of us had more than three floors, and we were all cash-poor for most of the game. In another game at a different table, the game ended at five floors before round nine.

So clearly there are different ways to skin this cat. But I'm pretty sure we weren't playing our board very efficiently.
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Michael Mindes
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The Schaef wrote:
Thanks for publishing fun games!

In our first game, only one of us scored over 40, none of us had more than three floors, and we were all cash-poor for most of the game. In another game at a different table, the game ended at five floors before round nine.

So clearly there are different ways to skin this cat. But I'm pretty sure we weren't playing our board very efficiently.


It could also be a function of the way the economic cards came out.
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Stephen Schaefer
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Under normal circumstances I can certainly expect that possibility to arise. I seem to recall the other table did have a broad, random mix of forecasts.

In our particular instance, we played the first game with the recommended sequence in the rulebook. I'm fairly certain in this case it was just us.
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