Updated: Sep 28, 2021
Genius, Billionaire, playboy, philanthropist, Evil and above the law, take over the world and enact your plan: to *erm* save it... of course.
Players: 2 - 6 Ages: 10+ Game Time: 40 to 120 mins
The Diary of a Lincoln Geek team was delighted when Newbie Games Company asked us to review their game Evil Corp. Having not encountered this game before, we had no idea what to expect. Whilst I don’t want to give too much away at the start, we had a great time doing this.
So what kind of a game is it? Evil Corp is a resource management style board game, in which players spend money and play cards to grow their business. But this is definitely not Monopoly or anything familiar. It is designed by Allix Harrison D'Arcy and Alfie Dennen, with art direction and graphic design from Michal Ozorowski and illustrations by Liam Brazier. It originally launched on Kickstarter and is now available to buy on the game's website.
In this game, players take on the roles of evil geniuses, who are so rich and smart that they are far above such petty concepts as law. With humanity on the verge of collapse each of these Evil CEOs have a single minded vision to save mankind; and if that just happens to put them at the top surrounded by a loyal few – so be it. These corrupt moguls are all but untouchable; indeed their only real threat is each other.
Each CEO is determined to rule humanity. But to do this, they must be the first to successfully expand their business and generate the money needed to put in place the groundwork of their evil plan. Then, when the time is right, they can attempt to bring about their endgame, which will turn them from CEO to the new GOD!
So how does all this work? Players choose one of the six CEOs each has its own back story, and plans to save and rule the world. Playing different CEOs does not mean you play individual strategies. However, each character has a unique one-time ability that, whilst fairly low key, if used at the right time can be surprisingly powerful.
Each turn players collect the income and business opportunities generated by their Evil Corporation. They then use their money and dirty tricks to expand their influence and advance their plans. The way to win is to achieve all three phases of your evil scheme (activating phases one, two and three in your colour), fund your endgame and see it through before your peers either get there first or interfere with your plan.
Given the theme of the game, you might expect complex and convoluted rules. However, this is simply not the case with Evil Corp. The rules are relatively simple, yet the game play has plenty of depth and will appeal to both casual and complex game enthusiasts alike, meaning the game can be played entirely on the level.
You can chose to fairly distribute nasty tricks among the competition and not take more than your fair share, but where is the fun in that? Actually it is still highly enjoyable, but for more competitive/complex gamers there is the Audit mechanic. Here if a player thinks an opponent is ‘incorrectly’ calculating their income (and can prove it) they can challenge. A correct challenge earns them money, but if they are wrong they’ll have to pay.
So now the important bit – what do we think of the game?
The game is surprisingly simple to learn and play. With only one read through of the rules it is possible to then play your first game with relative ease, although I do recommend an honest game to start with. There is no complex text on cards or mechanics that require advanced gaming experience in Evil Corp.
The streamlined mechanics of the game are beautifully simple and given the theme this is most surprising. But it is not just the game's great system of mechanics that make this a high quality product. It is clear that every rule and component have been meticulously designed and thought out. All the components are of a high quality and should be hard wearing. Seriously, after playing this game we tried to identify flaws and all we could do was nit-pick. For example we felt it was a shame that the rules were presented in a foldout sheet rather than a leaflet or book format. And while these few tiny imperfections do exist, they do not detract from our overall opinion of the game.
I would like to draw attention to one feature that I feel merits a specific mention. The game comes with a small sheet of stickers which feature each CEO's unique symbol. At first we did not realize what these were, until we read the description in the list of components. They are intended to aid players with visual spectrum disorders, to identify their game pieces. This is a brilliant consideration that the designers have included and demonstrates the level of thought that has been put into this product.
I'm pretty sure that soon the answer to 'What are we going to do tonight?' will be 'What we do every night... try to take over the world!'. Evil Corp therefore earns our highest rating a well earned 6 on the dice scale.
This is without a doubt going to be a new entry level game, with its easy to learn / teach.. this could be a new gateway game. In case it helps.. A "gateway game" can be the game that gets a "non-gamer" to play "real" games. Need I say anymore??
Mr Chris Founder