23 November 2016 | New Angeles

Open for Business

The Rules for New Angeles Are Now Available for Download


"Bioroids changed the world. Over the long run, androids are going to be as revolutionary a technology as fire, or the printing press, or the Network. And Haas-Bioroid got there first (a fact they’re never going to stop rubbing in Jinteki’s face)."
     –How Not to Get Scragged

Ready your android workforce. New Angeles opens for business next week!

Set in the not-too-distant future of the Android universe, New Angeles is the highly immersive board game of bluffs, bribes, negotiations, blackmail, and unfettered corporate greed for four to six players. You and your friends each take charge of one of the world's largest megacorps, entrusted by your stakeholders with the sacred obligation to transform their unfathomable riches into even larger and more unfathomable riches.

The quest for capital is everything… but you'll need to balance your immediate interests against the token efforts you'll make to keep the city of New Angeles running smoothly. After all, the freedoms afforded to your corp—and the others—by the city's Special Economic Zone must be protected. If the city were to plunge into chaos, the U.S. government might intervene. And that would be bad for your bottom line.

Which path will lead you to the greatest profit? Whatever course you follow, you will need to know when to strike deals, when to support other corporations, when to undercut your rivals, and when to put in a good-faith effort toward maintaining peace in the city. Balancing these matters will require a good deal of vision, and it also helps to have a firm understanding of the rules.

Familiarize yourself with the rules today. The New Angeles Learn to Play booklet (pdf, 8.8 MB) and Rules Reference (pdf, 4.4 MB) are now available for download.

The Grand Opening

The focus of New Angeles is laser-sharp: make money. To win, you just need to amass more capital than your rival. However, the process of making money is anything but simple. You'll face numerous challenges and decisions along the way, many of which we explored in our series of previews:

  • In "Collaborate / Manipulate," we took a closer look at the game's negotiations, and the different ways you can use them to advance your corporation and to hinder your rival. We also looked at the game's victory conditions and how they foster engaging tension at the gaming table. How can you undercut your rival without tipping your hand? Who is the Federalist? How can you convince the other corps to trust you enough to support your deals?
  • Our second preview, "Pacify the People," looked at the challenges the corps must address while allocating their android laborers. Each round, you'll need to meet various demands—for energy, credits, entertainment, and other resources that the city's districts can generate—and you'll need to make sure your android tokens are in the right locations.
  • Then, in our third preview, "A Work in Progress," we looked at how the game works against you with its orgcrime, Human First activists, riots, and outages. Together with the events we explored in the second preview, these things force you to think fast and revisit the viability of your strategy from round to round as the world's largest city changes moods—from happy and productive to angry and disruptive. As a corporate CEO, you'll need to aim for the best, but allow yourself plenty of strategic space to accommodate the inevitable disasters.
  • Finally, "Career Day" introduced several of the highly talented individuals you might recruit to your corporation as a result of winning your deals. These characters and their abilities can make major impacts upon your business strategies, even as they add color and personality to your enjoyment of the Android universe.

Today, in our final preview, we'll bring all these things together as we look at a sample game from setup through the first player turn.

Hit the Ground Running

When you play New Angeles and sit down to the bargaining table as one of the world's most powerful CEOs, you're not starting from scratch. Other people (and androids) built the company. They filled its coffers. They spread its influence across Earth—and beyond. And they left you a heap of resources, and a good number of issues that will demand immediate resolution. Accordingly, the game's setup rules thrust you right into the thick of the action.

For your first game, you'll use the simplified setup from the Learn to Play booklet. After that, however, you'll be ready to tackle whatever challenges may await you. And whatever these challenges are, you'll face them in the third step of setup, "Resolve Setup Card," which you perform after creating all the different decks of cards.

You and your friends will resolve one of six different possible setup cards. These are themed to different challenges, such as the conflicts with Human First rioters that drive Storming the Stalk and the widespread illness of Outbreak.  Each card then indicates the initial placement of the game's three android tokens, as well as the placement of other production modifiers, including protest, strike, outages, and illness tokens, as well as Human First, orgcrime, and prisec units.

Additionally, each of the game's setup cards indicates the number of assets you line up for the first round. In the case of Hit the Bricks (setup shown above), you line up four assets, meaning the first round will last four turns. If you're playing with five or six players, this also means those players won't be active players during the first round of gameplay, and they'll want to focus on manipulating events through their counteroffers and support.

Once everything is into place, you set the round and demand tracks, determine which corporations the players will represent, assign rivals, and select one of two random investment cards. Since you have a chance to score your investment in the first demand round, before selecting a new investment, you'll have additional incentive to shape the course of events. Altogether, the result of setup is that your game begins in media res, with a bustling city hard at work and headed for a moment of crisis.

Let the Games Begin

In our sample game, our five friends draw the Hit the Bricks setup card and prepare the board. Ann is first player, followed by Brad, Chelsea, Dmitri, and Emmett. As the head of media conglomerate NBN, Ann knows she'll gain capital whenever the players reduce unrest, so when she selects her investment, she chooses Banking Sector over Entertainment Sector,  in order to diversify her portfolio.

As the first player, Ann starts with only ten capital. Her opponents each start with more capital, as starting capital increases by one for each player position. Accordingly, since Ann randomly ends up with Jinteki as her rival, and since Dmitri is playing Jinteki as the fourth player, Ann starts out trailing her rival by three capital. She has her work cut out for her.

Ann's opening hand of action cards include Media Circus,   Spin Doctors,  and Information Procurement.  At the beginning of her turn, since she's the active player, she draws three more action cards—two Media and one Biotech. She draws Puff Piece,  another copy of Media Circus, and Clean Slate.

Next, it's time to make a deal! Ann reveals the rightmost asset card and places it in the "Revealed Asset" box on the board. She reveals Saul Eustecio,  a talented short seller who would allow Ann to gain one capital anytime another player successfully wins a counteroffer. She decides she really wants him to come work for NBN, and she gives some thought to the deal she'll propose.

The threat track is still at zero, so there's no point to playing Information Procurement. Ann could play Clean Slate to mitigate the threat presented by the illness tokens in Guayaquil and Esmereldas, but since she's competing with Jinteki—and Jinteki gains two capital each time an illness token is removed—Ann doesn't feel inclined to help Dmitri accrue any more capital than he can accrue on his own.

As a result, Ann narrows her focus toward the different Media cards in her hand. Both Media Circus and Spin Doctors would reduce unrest in districts, which would help the city's production and earn her some capital, but simply because the actions would earn her capital, she feels the other players might view them as too self-serving. Instead, she offers to script a Puff Piece, pointing out that the extra action cards it would let people draw should help them resolve the strikes and outages that she feels present the most immediate threat to everyone's productivity.

Brad passes, but Chelsea, playing as Weyland, proposes a counteroffer, Budget Renovations.  "If you want to remove the outages," says Chelsea, "then we can just do that right now, rather than drawing cards to remove the outages later." It's a solid argument, and it leaves Ann a bit worried. But then Dmitri discards an action card from his hand to play Efficiency Experts,  offering to move one of the androids from Base de Cayambe, where it would generate one energy if the outage were removed, to Quince, where it could generate one energy without further attention.

After Emmett passes, the players have the opportunity to lend their support to either Ann's offer or Dmitri's counteroffer. Thinking that Chelsea might have been soured by Dmitri's decision to replace her earlier counteroffer, Ann reminds her that the first player to support her gets to draw three action cards. Brad overhears the conversation, and decides to lend his support to Ann before Chelsea gets the chance. Chelsea then passes.

At this point, Dmitri realizes that Emmett would have to play two cards in support of his offer, or Ann will win the tie. He offers to trade Emmett his last action card in return for the support. "But your action card will ultimately just earn you more capital," says Emmett. "If you want my support, you'll need to give me the action card and three capital."

Dmitri considers the deal, but decides that it's too steep a price. Yes, it might help him win the support of Saul Eustecio, which will help him earn more capital, but it will leave him almost completely without the means to influence other deals until he becomes the active player and draws new action cards. He declines, and Emmett decides not to lend support to either offer.

Ann wins the deal and Saul's talents. She removes Saul Eustecio from the board and places his card near her corp sheet. Her turn ends, and play passes to Brad…

Business Is Good

New Angeles is not only the largest, richest, and most diverse city on Earth. It's also a uniquely fertile base for the worlds' most powerful megacorps and the many tensions running between them.

Manage your corp. Keep New Angeles happy. Keep it profitable. And then milk its resources for all their worth. In New Angeles, you run one of the world's largest corporations, and the corporations run New Angeles!

New Angeles is scheduled to arrive at U.S. retailers next Thursday.

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