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TOPIC: John Company

John Company 09 May 2018 16:20 #272986

Brought this out and played solo with two players. What a deep game. There is a lot going on. Really cool, many levers and ways to approach making money. It has incredibly high stakes dice rolling too, which you may not expect of a game with this reputation. The particular game I played had a critical parliamentary vote on the calico act, which made the one player heavily invested in factories an absolute mint. Both players got someone into the house of lords (VP card) but the company really suffered with bad rolling for sail actions (trade, the core money making activity) and it was on its last legs.

Unfortunately, I think this game ultimately lives and dies on whether the incentives and tools are great enough to prevent a saboteur at the table from just tanking the company as soon as they get in the lead. I just can't tell because I haven't played it in anger. It could be a stinker if there just isn't enough to keep enough players trying to squeeze money out of the productive company before sinking it.
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John Company 28 May 2018 13:49 #274196



I know most of you hate playthrough videos and think they're beyond the pale, but this is a good playthrough with the designer teaching. It hit a few rules I missed so it helped me out. And it really made me want to play the game fucking bad.

Game speeds up after the first turn which is where the rules are taught, fwiw. The play has a nice arc where the company actually works for a while and rewards the people riding it and playing honestly before a late breakdown with the rats bailing out of the ship.
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John Company 29 May 2018 06:54 #274211

From my single play, tanking the company is a strategy that's difficult to wield successfully.

It's not difficult to bleed the company dry, but actually tanking it and leveraging that for a victory seems akin to trying to ride a wild lion. It feels most advantageous when you're doing much better than everyone else and want to push the red button and try to end the game early. As an act of frustration, it's difficult to predict who will profit the most from causing the company to fail.

You have to be real careful because if you start to tank the company and you have any cubes in riders, you can count on the Chairman promoting you so that you get hit with the most VP penalties.
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John Company 29 May 2018 08:16 #274219

I think as chairman it's not that hard to tank---buy a bunch of armies and allocate no real money to the offices so they can't sail.
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John Company 29 May 2018 09:19 #274228

Indeed, but I think that situation could be unlikely. The culprit there is the board members are the ones who likely want to maintain fiscal integrity, and they're the ones who will decide the chairman.
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