Monday, February 6, 2012

Board Game Re-Review - Startup Fever

A while back, I reviewed a prototype of a game called Startup Fever, which was, at the time, running a Kickstarter promotion to turn it from a wooden puppet box into a real game. The creator of the game told me that if I liked it, he would put Vietnamese prostitutes onto one of the scandal cards. I did like it, so I was excited this week when my real-game version showed up. The first thing I did was unwrap all the cards and look for one about Asian hookers.

Well, unfortunately, there were no easy women of any kind, but then, since Startup Fever is essentially a family game (if your family is full of mean people), I wasn't too surprised that nightwalkers didn't make the cut. What did make the cut was a pretty impressive package.

First, the art got completely overhauled. The original art was a little weak, but since it was only a prototype, that was fine. The new art has a very cool minimalist look, and is a lot easier to read because of how simple and succinct it is. Some people are not going to like it, though - while I liked how the board looks like it could have been part of a boardroom planning meeting, my wife was not a fan of the coffee stains in the corners.

The rules changes were very minor, but I found that they improved the game considerably. The game used to have lawyers, whose special abilities rendered far too many of the cards kind of worthless. They also clogged up your hiring pool, with the end result that once everybody had hired all the executives, there was no poaching because you didn't have room. Without the legal staff, the game gets a lot more brutal, and stealing away your competitor's Chief Information Officer becomes a seriously strategic move - and meaner than hell, to boot.

Some of the problems of the original game were not fixed. For instance, many cards are overpowered, while others are practically worthless. Some are really useful at the beginning of the game, but pointless when you're in the home stretch. At the beginning of the game, when you're getting one dollar of income, a card that provides four bucks can be a big deal. But in the last couple turns, when people are amassing personal fortunes, four dollars is mostly just stupid.

I still really like Startup Fever. We played it twice this weekend, just because we liked it. It was fun as a cool wooden prototype, and it's fun as a completed work. There are a few problems, but it's still good enough that I expect that my family will be asking to play it again.

But there are still no Vietnamese hookers.


2-6 players

Prettier than it was
A few small tweaks make this a better game

Still pretty European
Still no whores

I think the biggest problem with Startup Fever is that since it's a Game Salute game, you can't get a discount on it anywhere, and while I like it, I don't think it's worth sixty bucks. Still, I'm glad I have it, and if you want it, you can find it here:

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