Gameday First Play – The Networks
In day-to-day commerce, television is not so much interested in the business of communications as in the business of delivering audiences to advertisers. People are the merchandise, not the shows. The shows are merely the bait.
~ Les Brown
In The Networks, you and your opponents are new television networks, and you need new programming. For this, you’ll need Shows, Stars, and Ads.
Run a TV station and get the most viewers…
You start with 3 TV Shows that are terrible and don’t have any viewers in the 8pm, 9pm and 10pm slots. You also start with a little known Actor and a small Ad campaign, neither of which are assigned to these shows and are waiting in your Green Room.
There are a number of TV Shows, Stars, Ads and Network cards laid out and you take turns taking 1 of the 6 available actions.
Firstly you can Hire a Star by paying the cost of one of those available and adding them to your Green room.
Actors have a Star Power and some have an effect which restricts which type of TV Shows they star in to their full potential. Some also have an upkeep cost while they’re starring in your TV shows.
You can land an ad by gaining the amount the ad is worth and adding it to your green room too.
These have a value in Dollars they gain from being on a TV show and some have a restriction to the time slot they’re in.
Of course, one action is to develop a TV Show…
You pay the cost of the Show and add it to one of your time slots. A TV Show has a Genre, viewer figures, time slot and a number of attachment slots.
When you get a TV Show you add it to your Schedule in the right time slot and add adverts and stars from your Green Room if you wish…
You put a black cube on the first slot of the card and that’s your TV show up and running. The old TV is flipped upside-down and moved across to the Reruns section. At the end of the round, after they are scored these Reruns are moved down into the Archives.
This is important because if you get 3 or 5 of the same genre you get to take a bonus so you need to keep track of what you have.
As an action in future rounds you can replace Stars and Ads on those shows.
The fifth action you can take is to pick up a Network Card.
These have ‘Play Immediately’, ‘Play Once Anytime’ or ‘End Game Scoring’ actions on them.
The last thing you can do is pass which is called “Drop and Budget”. You move your turn order token onto the pass section and can take either Money or Viewers. The earlier you pass, the more you get.
When everyone has passed, you first collect (or pay) income by adding up the cost of your current TV Shows and Ads and removing their upkeep costs and actor costs.
Then you score viewers. You add up your TV Shows current viewing figure, plus the bonus from the attached Actor and any Shows you have in the rerun slot and add them to your score.
Then you age shows by moving their black cube down a row which alters the number of viewers for the shows, sometimes for the better but mostly for the worse.
Then you setup for the next round, after 6 rounds the most viewers wins.
So this is a numbers game of getting Money to buy Shows and Actors with the best stats and putting them together. As the shows decrease in value round to round you need to time getting new shows to keep your average viewers across the 3 slots as high as possible each round.
You’re also looking for multiple genres to get those bonuses.
The shows have funny puntastic names and the actors have a fun generic name like “Serial Award Winner” or “That Kid from the Commercials” etc and I like that… But you just look at the number and genre…
However, it is a decent Euro with a fun theme that works well. I’d play it again.