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Ground Floor» Forums » Sessions

Subject: How Not to Run a Business rss

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Chris Berger
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I didn't really take notes on the other players but I thought you all might like a quick lesson on how to drive your company into the Ground Floor. Maybe lower, like the basement, even.

4 player game. I started out going last, which does seem like a minor disadvantage, but I was about to turn that disadvantage into a major hole that I wouldn't be able to dig myself out of. First turn, going last meant it would have been more expensive to hire someone, so I didn't. Then I also didn't get to go first into advertising, so that made it unlikely that I could get out of last place for the next turn (and also no marketing bonus). It's possible that with good play, I could have guaranteed better popularity than the two players who had hired employees. That's not, however, what I did.

After going first to the Factory (we started Stable, and knowing that two other players had to spend time markers on Training, figured I had a good chance to get $16), then I plopped a disc in the Warehouse. "Hmm... should I pay $2 or 1 info for this cube? Well, 2 is obviously more valuable than 1, so let's just pay 1. I'm sure I can get more info later." Thus dooming my company to be 1 info short of everything it wanted to do for the next 3 turns.

Turn 2 - I was willing to pay a good salary for a new employee, but I just couldn't find the right resume. If only I hadn't shredded up resumes to compress them down into a supply cube. I realized at this point that I needed some info badly. Unfortunately, being last in turn order and not the only one who realized they needed some info, I got to be 3rd at the consulting firm. It's quite probable that I should not have scheduled that meeting at all, but live and learn.

Turn 3 - still looking to hire, still not enough info to find the right candidate. I now looked at the Consulting Firm and realized that I was stuck in a game of chicken. If I waited out the other players, who all had more discs than me, I would not get to play a meeting, and no one was going to be generous enough to meet third with me. One player had resolved to just meet at his own building (improved Meeting Room), and the other two were going to wait as long as possible before committing. So I made a deal with one player that I would play the first disc to the Consulting Firm if he played the second right away. Then I played the third, getting to the point where I traded $14 for 10 info.

But it gets better... on the next turn, I was still short on discs. I managed to hire my first employee, who I can only assume was my son based on the hereditary nature of incompetent management. So 2 of my discs went to training him. I was totally sick of the Committee Room chicken game, and annoyed that no one else found even the first spot worth playing - plus I only had 2 discs to do useful things this turn. So I skipped it, figuring that the red player would be forced to play the top two spots in order to get the info he sorely needed. Nope. 3 unattended meetings, 2 of mine and 1 for red.

"Boss, you really need to get on the market research."
"Hey, it's not my fault - I scheduled consulting time, but no one showed up."
"You know that you can schedule the consultants to show up at a certain time."
"No, I... I mean, of course I knew that! Get me some resumes."

I was in a bad position.

Skipping forward a bit, round about turn 6 or 7, we hired on a new employee and tried to get our advertising working.

This was when I really stepped up to the plate. See, I noticed that my new hire was not pulling his weight - he still had an untrained marker, so I stopped by his cubicle to berate him.
"You're fired," I said. "You don't know how to do this job at all."
"But boss, no one ever trained me. You totally forgot."
"Now you're fired for insubordination too. Clean out your desk."
"But no one ever gave me a desk."
"That's enough out of you."

So, satisfied that I had cut costs and put my company back on the right track, I decided to build myself a nice Corner Office. Very luxurious, great view. The temp that I brought on board to take Jimmy's place thought maybe we needed an Assembly Line or an In-House Factory, maybe an Accounting department, so next round I got a different temp to replace him, and built an Improvement Achievement to celebrate all the improvements I had been making around the office.

Now, my good-for-nothing son* had squandered our profits, and made some really bad marketing decisions, so I knew we had to change directions a little bit. I had the temp spend all of my time units testing whether or not our product causes cancer (oops, looks like it does!), and sold our research to the competition (with the upgraded Assembly and upgraded Research & Testing). It didn't help us move any product, but it did finance a beautiful Executive Achievement floor, as a testament to my greatness in building this business.

In the end, I scored 36 points, almost entirely from achievement floors. I was only 10 points behind the winner, way closer than I had any right to be with my terrible mismanagement. I celebrated with what was possibly the worst-scoring round of Skyline I can imagine. Well done, sir!

* With the nature of the internet ("what happens on the internet stays on the internet... forever"), I feel the need to point out, in case either of my actual sons ever read this - I am not talking about either of you guys here. This is a hypothetical, fictional son who does not love buses, doesn't eat his vegetables, does not know all of his colors, cannot crawl backwards at top speed, and cannot count to 10 only skipping the boring numbers in between 4 and 8.
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Mathue Faulkner
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I don't think you need a 2nd employee right out of the gate. I've now lost pretty handily to my wife twice, and in both games, she didn't pick up another employee until mid-game. She was consistently at the Consulting Firm, turning 2/3 of her income into Information. And with a few well timed Retail sales, she was able to hoard a lot of money/info to buy up the more valuable Achievement Floors...

It actually impressed me that Ground Floor is a worker placement game where more workers isn't necessarily better. It all depends on your strategy...
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Matthew Mayes
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Quote:
I managed to hire my first employee, who I can only assume was my son based on the hereditary nature of incompetent management.


Hahahahaha

Quote:
This was when I really stepped up to the plate. See, I noticed that my new hire was not pulling his weight - he still had an untrained marker, so I stopped by his cubicle to berate him.
"You're fired," I said. "You don't know how to do this job at all."
"But boss, no one ever trained me. You totally forgot."
"Now you're fired for insubordination too. Clean out your desk."
"But no one ever gave me a desk."
"That's enough out of you."


Hahaha, this is the best session review I've ever read.
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Chris Berger
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mfaulk80 wrote:
I don't think you need a 2nd employee right out of the gate. I've now lost pretty handily to my wife twice, and in both games, she didn't pick up another employee until mid-game. She was consistently at the Consulting Firm, turning 2/3 of her income into Information. And with a few well timed Retail sales, she was able to hoard a lot of money/info to buy up the more valuable Achievement Floors...


I agree, but a) I think it's a good idea to get a 2nd employee by turn 2 or 3 (getting more than 2 employees seems entirely optional to me - it can be a good play or a bad play depending), and b) not having the option to get an employee at 5/5 (or, rather relying on other players to pass that option to you), plus being the last to play to the rest of the board, seems like a last player disadvantage. I'm not SUPER concerned by it, and I can't really blame player order for my terrific* leadership, but if I teach the game to new players again, I will definitely go last so someone else doesn't get stuck with it.

I would maybe consider something like doing Hiring in reverse player order, to reduce the impact of popularity just a tiny bit. Maybe.

*(terrific - using the older meaning here, "causing terror, terrifying")
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Tony Rago
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Great review! The only thing missing is the accompanying TPS reports and Dilbert-esque illustrations. . . Looking forward to this one!
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Chris Berger
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Kcrash5 wrote:
Hahaha, this is the best session review I've ever read.


Thanks. I appreciate the compliment, but if you're saying that, then you may not have read this: Session Report.
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Michael Mindes
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arkayn wrote:
mfaulk80 wrote:
I don't think you need a 2nd employee right out of the gate. I've now lost pretty handily to my wife twice, and in both games, she didn't pick up another employee until mid-game. She was consistently at the Consulting Firm, turning 2/3 of her income into Information. And with a few well timed Retail sales, she was able to hoard a lot of money/info to buy up the more valuable Achievement Floors...


I agree, but a) I think it's a good idea to get a 2nd employee by turn 2 or 3 (getting more than 2 employees seems entirely optional to me - it can be a good play or a bad play depending), and b) not having the option to get an employee at 5/5 (or, rather relying on other players to pass that option to you), plus being the last to play to the rest of the board, seems like a last player disadvantage. I'm not SUPER concerned by it, and I can't really blame player order for my terrific* leadership, but if I teach the game to new players again, I will definitely go last so someone else doesn't get stuck with it.

I would maybe consider something like doing Hiring in reverse player order, to reduce the impact of popularity just a tiny bit. Maybe.

*(terrific - using the older meaning here, "causing terror, terrifying")


You can definitely run a successful business as CEO only. Often when I play, I end up taking this route and joke about how I am running TMG inside of the game too. With just me.
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T. Fred
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arkayn wrote:
Kcrash5 wrote:
Hahaha, this is the best session review I've ever read.


Thanks. I appreciate the compliment, but if you're saying that, then you may not have read this: Session Report.



Yep. I got Amun-Re solely on the basis of that review. Quickly traded it away after realizing it wasn't 10% as fun as that review. That said, your review of GF was spot-on. It seems you failed to mention your use of corporate espionage --you seemed to steal many of my "strategies" (i.e. missed meanings, lack of info, etc).
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Troy Creamer
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Yeah I have tried doing a single worker strategy 3 times now with no success. It seems like people with more workers generally do better in the long term. I think by mid game you are right you need to at least buy at least another worker which I was hoping wasn't the case so this wasn't your standard worker placement game where getting more workers in the end is always better.
 
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Michael Mindes
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gecko1919 wrote:
Yeah I have tried doing a single worker strategy 3 times now with no success. It seems like people with more workers generally do better in the long term. I think by mid game you are right you need to at least buy at least another worker which I was hoping wasn't the case so this wasn't your standard worker placement game where getting more workers in the end is always better.


There are some automated income things and floors that make you much more time efficient...
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B C Z
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Information is power, and seems to be the harder commodity to generate.

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Michael Mindes
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byronczimmer wrote:
Information is power, and seems to be the harder commodity to generate.



One is more valuable early while it switches sometime mid-game in my experience. I forget which is more valuable early off the top of my head.
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Chris Berger
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gecko1919 wrote:
I was hoping wasn't the case so this wasn't your standard worker placement game where getting more workers in the end is always better.


But I don't think it's always better to get more workers. I think that the expectation of a 2nd employee is almost always positive (in the first 5 turns of the game, anyway), but the third+ may not be. If the game were winnable without ever increasing beyond 1 employee, except where you are very clever and probably a little bit lucky, I think that would be worse, because hiring and training extra employees and then making appropriate use of 7/10/whatever time markers requires more thought.

Put this way: if there is any imbalance at all between hiring more employees and not hiring any employees, I'd rather it be better to hire more - it's too easy and requires no upfront investment to hire no employees, so it should be hard to win that way... Am I making any sense here? I'm not sure.

I think it's a lot like Hansa Teutonica - getting that third action per turn is really important, but getting a 4th or 5th may not be worth the resources you spend to do it.
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Troy Creamer
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Yeah I got some of those and it helped. I ended the game with 41 points but a far cry from the 50+ points two others had. The biggest issue I had was going to consulting company if I didn't get there first many other people with more workers would wait me out and many times I had to abandon consultants if I was the second or third down because the person with more workers would wait until later in their turn to place a worker there. People in our game were playing a lot on their own board to get information by remodeling their rooms. I did better this time around but with such few workers its a very unforgiving route it seems.
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David Short
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arkayn wrote:
But it gets better... on the next turn, I was still short on discs. I managed to hire my first employee, who I can only assume was my son based on the hereditary nature of incompetent management.

This made me laugh out loud. Hilarious.

Fantastic session report, Chris. Thanks for taking the time to share with us.
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Troy Creamer
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My hope was that there was paths to victory at all employee levels since all the other players at the table had at least 3+ employees. However big business seemed to prevail in all the games I have played maybe someone else has figured out how to make it work with less but after 3 games I have not. Playing with less you basically are just getting pushed around the whole game by the bigger businesses which wasn't fun.

 
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David Short
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arkayn wrote:
Put this way: if there is any imbalance at all between hiring more employees and not hiring any employees, I'd rather it be better to hire more - it's too easy and requires no upfront investment to hire no employees, so it should be hard to win that way... Am I making any sense here?


Yes, that makes sense and you are correct. While it is possible to win the game without hiring at all, it is definitely more difficult.

The key to doing well without hiring much, is to get the floors/TI's that require little to no time investment (ie I.T. Dept, Investor, Assembly Line, etc) and then spend most, if not all, of your Time Markers on the main board, where your return on investment is higher.
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Mathue Faulkner
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gecko1919 wrote:
My hope was that there was paths to victory at all employee levels since all the other players at the table had at least 3+ employees. However big business seemed to prevail in all the games I have played maybe someone else has figured out how to make it work with less but after 3 games I have not. Playing with less you basically are just getting pushed around the whole game by the bigger businesses which wasn't fun.

In my two games, the winning player had only two employees (counting the CEO) both times...
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David Short
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And Chris, I fully expect a session report of your next game.

Don't disappoint me




Oh and don't hire your son... he needs to focus on his education.
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Troy Creamer
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That makes me feel a bit better that I at least was doing the right things. Chris your session report matches my experience except I was the cheap skate control freak CEO that wanted to do everything himself. Now I am stressed out, pissed off, and my company is in the crapper. Its time for a vacation!!!

I suck at these style of games and usually avoid them like the plague but David your design drew me in so congrats on that. Your game succesfully gets the punishing nature of business with all the frustration victories and major screw ups.
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Cameron Chien
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I think you HAVE to hire at least two more employees, but four or five I do not think are required for victory.

The timing of when you hire your employees can matter far more than you might initially think! It also matters how many employees your opponents have, too.

Cameron
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David Short
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gecko1919 wrote:
I suck at these style of games and usually avoid them like the plague but David your design drew me in so congrats on that. Your game succesfully gets the punishing nature of business with all the frustration victories and major screw ups.

Thanks Troy. I hope the control-freak-CEO in you continues to enjoy the game.
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Troy Creamer
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Yeah I agree Cameron. This lesson I learned big time over the whole last game. However I didn't figure it out until turn 6 and by that time it was too late so I decided well lets see how well I can do never hiring an employee. Initially I thought you need workers right away but now I am see waiting a little bit for the price of them to go down is important too.
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Cameron Chien
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Troy, don't forget that in the "cleanup" phase of each round, you can fire someone to downsize!

I also find it fascinating that having the max # of workers and staying #1 in turn order are not unilaterally important in Ground Floor like they are in most worker placement euros.

Cameron
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Yea I knew that already about firing people, and something i do want to explore more in future games. This game I sort wanted to try the no hire strategy and it didn't quiet work out even though I did pretty well with it.

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