Bob: I don’t know about this, George. We don’t know the first thing about what goes on in a television station.
George Newman: Don’t worry, Bob. It’s just like working in a fish-market. Except you don’t have to clean and gut fish all day. – UHF Moive
Welcome to the TV business! You are the owner of a new television network. All you have are three awful public access shows, a small amount of cash, and endless ambition. Plus it looks like you’re not the only new TV network in town…
Can you snatch up the best Shows with the most popular Stars and the most lucrative Ads? Can you get enough Shows of the same Genre to make your network stand out? Can you best utilize the powers of the handy Network Cards?
The Networks id a card drafting/management game, designed by Gil Hova and produced by Formal Ferret is a game about having the best TV Network, starting with a small budget. Players are trying their best to slot TV shows, pick up actors, and get sponsors to gain the most viewers so their network will be the one that has been watched the most over five seasons. You also must also be careful of how you will allocate your funds so as not to produce bad shows causing you to loose viewers at the end of a season.
Setup is pretty easy. Players receive their player boards that will have the slots that represent different aspects of the game. These slots are show times, green room, rerun, and archives. Starting shows are distributed to players based on the network they pick to represent. Everyone is equal at the beginning of the game, so you are simply picking your color during setup. Players receive starting money and the viewer tracker for each player is placed on the board in the center of the table. Depending on the number of players, the network shows from the appropriate season deck, actors, and sponsors are placed in the center of the table. There is also an additional score tracker that is placed in the center that flips over after the first round.
On a player’s turn they can do one of the following actions:
Develop a Show allows the player to purchase a show from the current season and add them to their network lineup or send it straight to reruns.
Sign a Star allows the player to hire a star to come to their network to potentially become the star of a hit show Land an Ad – This action allows the player to acquire an advertisement to use on one of their shows. Advertisement cards will give players money right away when they land the ad and also produce income once attached to a show.
Take a Network Card –allows the player to select a network card. Network cards are special cards that give players additional abilities that can be used at certain times of the game. There are four types of network cards – immediate use, one time use, end game scoring, or permanent effect.
Attach a Star/Ad to a Show action allows the player to attach a star/ad located in their green room to a show. If the show’s star/ad slots are full, then one of the existing stars/ads will be replaced with the new one being attached to the show.
Drop and Budget – When a player takes this action, they are dropping out of the current round
One of the best things about the game is the unique theme, I can’t think off the top of my head any other game were you are in charge of a TV Network, and trying to build the best network. I must say that game takes a hold of the theme and runs with it, You will get “lost” in the theme for sure, it knows what it is, and it stays with it.
The quality of the components is very good. The split scoreboard is a nicely constructed thing, The scoreboard’s for each player are also made well. My only minor nitpick is some of my cards are starting to show a bit of wear after a few games, might just me and the set I got, it’s nothing bad mind you, But might want to keep an eye your cards to make sure, nothing some card sleeves will not fix, if it gets worse.
The artwork is well done, and the whimsical/satirical card titles never fail to make me laugh, some of the names of the shows are just down right funny. They also help promote the overall theme.
The rule set is well written, easy to follow and made picking up the game pretty fast after a few reads. I only found myself having to refer back to the book a few times.
To be honest there are no new mechanisms in the game It’s a very well made Card Drafting game. The “Network” cards will add some nice spice to your game as well, that being said, the Theme is what shines through I think. I found myself forgetting this was a Card Drafting game after a while, and was lost in the them and trying to program the very best network I could.
More information about The Networks, can be found over at the Official Website.
We would like to extend a BIG THANK YOU, to formal ferret games for providing us a review copy of the game.