What is it? Scheming corporations. Lots of scheming.
The deets: 4-6p, 2-3hrs
Designer: James Kniffen
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
It’s not often you get a secret loyalty game that doesn’t involve spies, zombies, or at least direct conflict. Set in New Angeles, the largest city on Earth (in the Android universe), New Angeles puts players in the role of futuristic megacorporations vying for riches.
However, it’s not all cash and glory. Citizens unhappy with corporate control or the use of Androids instead of humans as a work force will get in your way. If things get too out of control, the government will step in, wrenching control of the city from your hands.
None of you wants that to happen, so you’ve got to work together to keep the riots quelled and the Human First terrorists off the streets, all while meeting the economic demands set by the people.
Here’s how it works: on your turn, you make an Offer – that is, you play an action card from your hand. But it doesn’t resolve right away – instead, another player can make a counter offer. (Multiple players can counter, but each additional counter must be paid for at an ever-increasing cost, and then it covers up the previous counter-offer). Then, everyone votes on which offer to actually enact. The controlling player of the winning offer is awarded a bonus ability, and gets to resolve their action.
Action cards can help deal with disease or antagonistic forces, can increase production, or shuffle androids around the city to determine what will actually be produced at the end of the round.
Disease, rioting, and outages can interfere with production, so you’ll want to work together to take care of the problems. On the other hand, you have a personal agenda that you need to accomplish, so maybe it’s worth going for that rather than help everyone else. Course, if you’re too selfish, you might not meet the city’s economic demands, which raises the terror level quickly.
Ultimately, if the terror level gets too high, everyone loses. But if you manage to keep it down the whole game, you have to accomplish your agenda in order to win. These agendas don’t necessarily interfere with each other, but they might, so multiple players have the opportunity to claim victory. There also might be a player who wins when the terror level gets too high, so you’ve got to watch out for that.
I obviously haven’t played a full game, but my first impression is – WOW. This game is thrilling. The mechanics are so streamlined – pulling from games like Dead of Winter and Battlestar Galactica, but much slimmer than either of those games and definitely breaching its own territory. There’s so much room for wheeling and dealing here (“Look, if you vote for my offer now, I’ll vote for yours later”), not to mention tricksy tricks and backstabbing galore. One thing that really stands out to me is that your personal agenda is really front and center. In other games – like Dead of Winter – I always felt like the common goal was the most important. After all, it’s survival at stake. Perhaps because of the mechanics or perhaps because of the design, New Angeles makes you want to play selfishly – and that’s what makes games like this really interesting.
I can’t wait to play a full game. This is almost definitely my favorite game of Gen Con 2016.