Today I will be reviewing The Networks, a game that had so much promise with its art style that’s both cartoonish and humorous. The aim of this game is to be the most successful network at the end.
The game takes between one and five players, with games lasting around 60-90 minutes. This game was funded via Kickstarter and raised over $100000 thanks to 2,738 backers.
Opening the box
Upon opening the box, you see the same artwork flow through the entire contents. The cards and player boards are of a nice stock and have a quality feel to them.
The player disks and cubes are functional yet simple however The "on the air" expansion provides stickers to upgrade these. These stickers do improve the appearance and really shouldn't be an optional extra!
The rule book for The Networks is well laid out and easy to follow. All rules and set up are explained fully, with a nice almanac at the end of the rule book, this goes in detail on to use the network cards.
Gameplay and Turns
In this game, you are the owner of a new television network and you need to acquire shows, stars and an advertising revenue to pay for it all. The network (player) with the most viewers over five seasons is declared the winner.
On your turn the actions are:
- Develop a show - If you develop a show, and you are able to match the prerequisites, you then place it in the desired time slot on your tableau
- Land Ad - Landing an Ad gives you income and allows you to place the Ad in your Green room. Some shows prerequisite is that you need an Ad, so having Ad's in your Green room is important and the additional revenue is always helpful.
- Take a network card - Taking a Network card, these cards can give you immediate bonuses, they can give you end game scoring and improve your viewer ratings.
- Attach star or Ad - Play a star or Ad to your current shows
- Drop and budget - To Drop and budget is to pass, once you've passed, you get the choice of taking extra money or extra viewers, the earlier you pass the better the choice.
You can take one action each turn and you continue in turn order till there are no more actions to take or everyone has Dropped and budget this activates ‘END OF SEASON’ where four things happen. It’s a kind of clean up phase where everything is scored and the new season is prepped.
After the fifth season is played it’s the end of the game everything is cored and the winner is declared.
Final thoughts on The Networks
The positives outweigh the negatives for a fun game with little downtime. (On other players turn your reading the cards available to you and planning your next move) The turns are quick and overall the experience is an enjoyable one.
I believe that The Networks can be a great gateway game and that players will find themselves entertained and amused by the humour included. The theme itself is also a plus point for me as there aren't that many games out there that allow you to own your own television station.