Tuesday, July 29, 2008

8/7 Central, the current state

The current state of the rules for 8/7 Central is "in flux." the most recent printed rules I have are from December 2006, and they follow. The current ideas floating around to amend those rules are:

- Strike auctions. Initial Programs dealt to players in some manner. New Programs are available for purchase as an action, from a sliding display where each Program in line costs more than the previous one, and as one is purchased, the rest slide down and become cheaper (like the Civ cards in Stone Age, or the Civilizations in Vinci).

- Remove Ad cards from the game. Instead, any card can be played as an Ad, placed face down behind the program. Ad categories also removed from the game. When playing an Ad, you'd collect $1 per ratings counter immediately, then $2 each time the program 'hits'. Compare this to the Fundraising action, wherein you get $2 immediately and no money later at all, and consider that Ad space is limited.

- Reconsider Move/Bump Programs mechanics. It's important to be able to move a program, but it's important that 2 players not be able to go back and forth forever moving programs. Currently a moved program loses 1 ratings counter. Maybe losing all of them would be easier.

- Game length seems short to me. i'm hoping with the removal of the Starting Lineup and Supplemental Auctions there will be time for more game turns, which I hope will let the game develop more. I'd like to see shows get better and then see players move their good shows to combat opponents' programs and fight for the demographics.

8/7 Central

A card game for 2 to 4 players in which players control television networks and vie for the attention of the viewing public.

The game is made up of cards. Program cards represent various television programs which you run in your two 1/2 hour time slots each day, Event cards effect the state of the game and Programs in your lineup, Modifiers alter Programs in play, and Advertisements establish Revenue to pay the costs for other cards.

Game play is interactive as you bid against rival networks for Programs and place them in time slots to compete with opposing Programs.

General viewership for Programs is determined by a roll of the dice and tracked throughout the game. As your Programs gain a following, they become more valuable. But watch out! If a Program gets too popular it runs the risk of Jumping the Shark! Attach advertisements to your Programs to generate Revenue when the Program is viewed (when it's number comes up). Program Modifiers temporarily increase the likelyhood of your Programs being viewed, or otherwise make your Programs a little better or opponent's Programs a little worse. Event cards have a lasting effect on the game: altering the state of the game or cards in play.

New Programs become available to bid on each week. With careful choice of Programs and management of Revenue you can come out on top and run your competitors into the ground, blowing their Programs out of the water and stealing their viewers for your own.

Properties of Program cards:

Programs are television shows that players can run on their network.

* Title of Program

* Minimum Bid [THIS MAY BE STRICKEN]

* Hit#s (numbers which when rolled produce a 'hit' indicating that the Program has been viewed)

* Genre (what the Program "counts as" - COMEDY, NEWS, DRAMA, or NICHE)

* Genre Level (a number reflecting how deep the show is in that particular genre)

* Ad Symbols (What type of ads can be attached to the Program) [THIS MAY BE STRICKEN]

Properties of Advertisement cards: [THIS MAY BE STRICKEN]

Advertisements are the your source of income. Selling ad space on your Programs creates Revenue each time the Program is viewed by the general public (represented by rolls of the dice).

* Name of product or service being Advertised

* Revenue ($ provided by the ad PER MATCHING AD SYMBOL per hit)

* Ad Symbols (What type of product or service it is. Determines which Programs it can attach to)

* Special Rules

Properties of Modifier cards:

Modifiers give bonuses to your Programs, or hinder an opponent's Program.

* Title of Modifier

* Cost (monetary cost to play the card)

* Additional Hit#'s (if any) supplied by the Modifier

* Effect (special rules)

* Duration (how long it lasts - End of Day, End of Week, or End of Game)

Properties of Event cards:

Events can have an effect and then go to the discard pile, or stay in play and have a long term effect on the game.

* Title of Event

* Cost (monetary cost to play the card)

* Effect (special rules)

* Duration (how long it lasts - End of Day, End of Week, or End of Game)

Game Rules:

Setup:

Begin by shuffling the two respective decks (Programs and Play). Deal out 5 cards from the Play deck face down to each player (you may look at your cards at this time). Determine via some random method who will begin the game as Player 1. This title will change hands each week throughout the course of the game. Decide how many weeks the game will last (we recommend 1 week per player). Finally, distribute $30 worth of $ chips to each player.

The Starting Lineup: [THIS MAY BE STRICKEN]

To begin the game players bid on Programs to fill their lineup. This bidding is done in 6 rounds, and in each round a number of Program cards equal to the number of players in the game are revealed from the Program deck for auction. Players bid on Programs in turn order, starting with Player 1. Bidding continues as described below under "Bidding." Players take turns bidding first each round (i.e. in round 1, Player 1 bids first. In round 2, Player 2 bids first, etc.)

EXAMPLE: There are 3 players: Bob, Jim, and Sally. Bob is randomly selected to be Player 1. For the first round of the Starting Lineup 3 Program cards are revealed from the Program deck. Bidding ensues as described below, starting with Bob. For round 2 of the Starting Lineup, 3 more Programs are revealed and Jim (who is sitting left of Bob) begins the bidding. This continues until there have been 6 rounds of bidding.

Bidding: [THIS MAY BE STRICKEN]

Each time it is your turn to bid on a Program, first take back any of your bids which have been outbid by another player. Then you may either pass or increase the current bid (or place an opening bid) on ANY available Program. Players may not bid more $ chips than they currently hold. When all players pass in succession, the auction is over and the Programs are awarded to the last player to bid on each. Those players surrender their bids to the bank. Programs with no opening bid are placed in the discard pile. For the Starting Lineup this process is repeated 5 more times with players taking turns bidding first. Notice, it is possible to win more than one bid in a round, and to pass then bid again.

In our example, Bob decides to place a $3 bid on Program #2. He places 3 of his $ chips on the Program #2 card, on the edge closest to him. Jim then decides to bid $2 on Program #3, so he places 2 $ chips on the edge of the Program #3 card closest to him. Sally wants to outbid Jim and therefore places 4 of her $ chips on the edge of the Program #3 card closest to her (Jim leaves his bid alone for now). Bob is happy with the way things are going and passes. Jim now takes back his losing bid and can either pass or place another bid. Let's say he decides to bid $2 on Program #1. Sally passes. Bob, still happy, also passes. Jim can now end the bidding with a pass, or he an outbid either Bob or Sally. Technically he could up his own bid, but that probably won't happen very often.

Once bidding on the Starting Lineup is over players place their Programs one at a time in their 10 alotted time slots, following the rules for Movement and Placement of Programs (below). Once all Programs have been placed, fill vacant days with the Placeholder cards so everyone can tell which Programs run on which days. Remember, the time slots correspond to days of the week: two consecutive 1/2 hour time slots per day, Monday through Friday. Note that some Programs are indicated as 1-hr. These are printed sideways and take up both time slots on a given day.

Begin Play:

Play begins with Player 1 at the beginning of Monday and continues through a series of rounds called Weeks.

A Week consists of five Days (Monday through Friday).

A Day consists of the following:

* The player with the most Victory Points becomes Player 1 for the day. In the case of a tie, the tied player with the most money becomes Player 1. In case of a further tie, the tied player closest to the right of the current Player 1 becomes the new Player 1 for the day.

* Each Player in turn (beginning with Player 1 and continuing clockwise) may take up to two actions as defined below under Actions.

* Player 1 rolls the 2 sets of dice. Each pair of dice produces a number which is used to check for hits.

* Programs on the current day are checked for Hits.

* Actions that occur on Hits are resolved (Programs receive Ratings Counters and players collect Ad Revenue).

* Players score points based on the Genres and Genre Levels of their Programs- See Scoring below.

* Check Durations of all cards in play and discard any that have reached their Duration. Modifiers and Advertisements on Programs are checked at the end of the day their Program is on, Events are checked at the end of EACH day.

After turns have progressed through Friday the week is over. Before the next week begins there is some Week End business to attend to.

* Discard any cards in play with Duration: End of Week

* Roll to see which Programs (if any) Jump the Shark (see Jumping the Shark)

* Supplemental Auction- 1 Round of bidding for new Programs. [THIS MAY BE STRICKEN]

Jumping the Shark:

As Programs become popular it becomes more and more likely that they will Jump the Shark. This is a term named after an episode of Happy Days when the Fonze jumped his motorcycle over a shark, which is generally considered to be the point at which the show started to go downhill (see www.jumptheshark.com). At each week's end, players roll a die for each of their Programs. If the roll is LESS THAN the number of Ratings Counters on the chosen Program, then that Program has Jumped the Shark. Remove all Ratings Counters from that program.

Supplemental Auctions: [THIS MAY BE STRICKEN]

New Programs become available for auction, ONE PER PLAYER (so in a three player game, 3 new Programs are revealed). Bidding on this Supplemental Auction is identical to the process used in The Starting Lineup. There is only one round in the Supplemental Auction. Players place and move Programs in the same order as bidding, and according to the rules for Moving and Placing Programs (below). Play then continues on Monday. The next section is a description of each step of the day listed above.

Moving and Placing Programs:

Managing your Programs and Time Slots is key to victory, but moving Programs means losing viewers. Any time a Program changes Time Slots for any reason, remove a Ratings Counter from it. If there are no Ratings Counters on the Program then ignore this rule (noone appears to be watching it anyway).

Whenever one or more players have Programs to place (we'll call that "in their hand"), players take turns PLACING a Program in an open time slot; BUMPING a Program at the cost of $1 (any Ads on such a Program are discarded and a Ratings Counter is removed) - a bumped program goes into the player's hand; or Passing. Players may not pass if they hold any Programs in their hand. Moving and Placing ends when all players have passed in succession.

Steps of the Day:

Pass Player 1:

The player with the most Victory Points becomes Player 1 for the day. In the case of a tie, the tied player with the most money becomes Player 1. In case of a further tie, the tied player closest to the right of the current Player 1 becomes the new Player 1 for the day.

Player Actions:

Players are allowed to take up to two actions during their turn. Each action can be any of the following:

* Play a card from hand.

* Refill hand from the Play deck.

* Fundraising.

Play a card from hand:

Play an Ad, Event, or Modifier card from your hand. Pay any associated costs (printed on card) and put the card into play or follow it's instructions as appropriate. Since Programs have limited Ad Slots (1 Slot for a 1/2-Hr Program, 2 Slots for a 1-Hr Program), an Ad may be replaced when a new Ad is played. Discard the old Ad.

Refill hand from the Play deck:

Hand size in 8/7 Central is 5 cards. When taking this action a player may discard any number of cards before refilling their hand (to 5 cards) from the Play deck. The first card can be discarded for free, but the player must pay $1 per card discarded this way after the first.

Fundraising:

Discard a card from your hand and collect $2 from the bank.

Roll dice:

Viewership is determined by a roll of the dice each day. The probability of rolling a particular number on two 6-sided dice represents the expected viewership of a Program. The more viewable or popular a Program is, the better (or more) Hit#'s it will have. A total pip number [or pie chart] below the Hit#'s serves as a graphical representation of the Expected Popularity (or hit probability) for the Program. This number represents the chance (out of 36) that the Program will be Viewed.

After each player has taken their Actions, Player 1 rolls the 2 pairs of dice. Each pair results in a number which is used to check for hits.

Programs on the current day are checked for Hits:

Programs each have Hit#'s printed on them. These numbers represent how likely the Program is to be viewed. When the dice are rolled check each Program on the current day. If either or both of the resulting numbers matches one of a Program's Hit#'s then the Program is considered to have been viewed. Represent this by placing a Ratings Counter on the Program. While the Hit#'s represent the EXPECTED relative viewership of a Program, the number of Ratings Counters represents the ACTUAL viewership. Remember, only Programs in the current Day's time slots are checked for Hits, and it is not possible for a Program to hit twice in one day.

Actions that occur on Hits are resolved:

Some cards will have actions that occur when a Program is Viewed such as Revenue from advertising. Follow directions on cards to resolve each action. Resolve Player 1's actions first, then other players' in turn order.

Ad Revenue:

Revenue from Advertising is calculated as follows. If there is no Ad attached to the Program, collect no Revenue. If there is an Ad attached to the Program, collect the Ad's Revenue value for each matching ad symbol. EXAMPLE: Station Identification has a Revenue of "1 card". This means that on a hit you draw 1 card per matching Ad Symbol. Station Identification matches categories NECESSITY, CONVENIENCE, and LUXURY. On a Program with both NECESSITY and LUXURY a hit would provide a total of 2 cards, 1 for each matching ad symbol.

Scoring:

Players score victory points for the quality of their Programs. For EACH GENRE, the player with the highest Genre Total (total of Genre Level plus Ratings Counters for all Programs on the current day) scores a Victory Point. Note that two 1/2 hour Programs on the same day that share a Genre BOTH contribute to the Genre Total. The winner of the game is the player that collects the most Victory points before the game ends.

SCORING EXAMPLE: I have a News-4, Comedy-3 Program with 2 Ratings Counters on it, and I have a Niche-5 Program with 1 Ratings Counter on it. You have a 1-Hr Drama-3, Comedy-4, Niche-4 Program with 2 Ratings Counters on it. At the end of that day I would score 1 VP for my News Program (you aren't competing) and you would score 1 for Drama (no competition) and 1 for Comedy (you have Comedy-6 total, I have Comedy-5). We each score for Niche because we both have Niche-6....

Winning the Game:

The game ends at the end of the final week. The player who has collected the most Victory Points by that time is declared the winner.

1 comment:

Brettspiel said...

I'll have to read through your rules a little later, but this reminds me of a game idea I had after watching Noam Chomsky talk about television marketing.

In the television advertising industry, the ads are called content and everything between the ads is fill. Networks are not selling ad space to advertisers, they are selling viewers. The programs are designed to draw as many viewers as possible, and the more viewers, they more they can charge the ad companies.

My idea was to have a network programming game, where you created shows to attract an audience, and the audience was the currency you used to buy advertising revenue, and the ad revenue was used to make more shows. It was a somewhat cynical take on it.

Anyway, I'll read more later and see what interesting ideas you have!