To say I didn’t like New Corp Order by 2Tomatoes Games is probably incorrect. Perhaps a better way of putting it is that I couldn’t get it to work. After several games, New Corp Order continued to fall flat. I understood in theory how each element should knit together to form something greater than its parts. I could imagine clever plays and startling turnarounds but none of them ever happened. Instead, as each game ended all of the players around the table felt let down and working out who won at the end was a chore. With that in mind, let’s dive into how the game works and why it never managed to click.
In New Corp Order (or New Order Corp as I keep thinking in my head), players take the role of investors. The board is set out by randomly placing a 4×4 grid of company tiles and coloured agents from each of the games conglomerate companies are put on top. If a colour holds the majority on a colour of company, then it controls it when it comes to the end game. Players are trying to have control of the companies they want with the conglomerates they want. And here sits a lot of the difficulty with this game. It is well confusing. After playing this into the double digits it is still confusing.
Anyway, on a players turn they take one of three actions: pick up conglomerate cards for later use, place conglomerate cards on the table of the same colour and place that many agents of that colour onto a tile, or use cards on the table to move agents from one tile to another. Moving agents means that you can initiate a takeover. Players win takeovers by simple numbers – 2 agents beat 1 etc. Successfully taking over a tile lets you use that type of companies specific power. This might be to move agents around the board, discard or exhaust an opponent’s conglomerate card or other powers of that type. Importantly though, if you successfully takeover a location then you take on the agents you defeated and place them in front of you (the rest go back to the supply). This is important because agents in front of your count as two points when adding up who controls a conglomerate at the end of the game.
Okay, here we go on scoring. So to control a conglomerate at the end of the game you add up your cards of that colour (they give you one point) and the the agents of that colour (they give you two). Now if you win, for example, the blue conglomerate then you get two points per company tile of an industry type (coloured of tile) that they control. If you had the secret objective card that matched that same tile colour, then you gain some bonus points. If you had the second most control then you get one point, third gets nothing.
This entire score calculation takes an awfully long time. You need to count up your cards, agents and then work out how many agents are on tiles, making sure you don’t miss a tile as some colours will only have two tiles, and then compare all of this against your opponents, and no. I won’t do it again. It is draining. The game itself never reaches a point of mechanical pleasure that it makes this mental jujitsu worth the time it takes. While can scan the board and know for certain who is going to win which conglomerate and then you can try and either overtake them or move them out of companies you want, but none of it plays out that way. What normally happens is, Logan gets lots of blue, so he continues to collect lots of blue, so he has more blues, and the blues rule everywhere he wants them to rule and then Logan also has the consultant that allows him to pick up two cards each turn even if he didn’t take that action, and oh yes consultants.
Consultants, like in real life, make everything less fun. If you play three or more of the same colour conglomerate in a turn then you can take one of four consultants. These do things like mean you can win ties when taking over a location, draw two cards at the end of your turn, use a different colour conglomerate to move agents and so on. They give you a special power you can use each turn and you can collect up to four (although still only use one per turn). However, some like the one that lets you draw cards, break the game. They mean that you need to put in far less effort than others and don’t add any value. Being able to win ties means that you need to use far fewer cards, which means you can collect lots of people and use lots of tile powers. Drawing cards each turn (easily the most overpowered and quickly collected) negates the need to ever spend your turn picking up cards. They are an addition the game could happily do without or at the very least they should be more inspired.
And then we have those tile powers I keep banging on about. They are in a word, boring. They are not thematic in the slightest. This is a supposed to be a game about marketing, corporate espionage and backstabbing and these powers present you with none of that. They are mechanical. They get you from A to B with no flavour. They are the Uber driver who sits in stoic silence and never even acknowledges your existence. I’ve seen games where players never even need to use these in a meaningful way and they still come out on top. New Corp Order can easily be played a game where you pick up cards one turn and put them down on another and doing so means you win the game.
So what was this potential I saw? What flicker is there in this game that I’ve deconstructed and said nothing positive about? There could be some interesting interplay between moving agents, using powers and not knowing if you will even have control over those agents at the end of the game, or if you even do right now this second. There is a story in these elements. There is the idea that this power you wield to move people on a whim, control organisations and takeover companies in an instant only for it to be revealed that you were nothing. The idea that in the infinite wisdom of Qui-Gon Jinn “There’s always a bigger fish”, is fascinating and it is an idea that New Corp Order shouts about loudly but never manages to deliver.
A copy of New Order Corp was provided by 2Tomatoes Games. If you want to check out a game of theirs that I think is much better, then I did a preview of one of their upcoming games Vae Victis. And if you think this Nevi fellow is full of cabbages and still want to buy New Corp Order then please use our Affiliate link to help support the site.
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