Report to HR, for your orientation at Sysifus Corp

Updated: Sep 28, 2021

Players: 2-4 Ages: 13+ Game Time: 60-120 mins*


Welcome to Sysifus Corp, the cut-throat corporate board game for 2-4 players from Pegasus Games.


Some of you may remember Wonmin who appeared on the fifth episode of our web show Let's Talk Boardgames where he introduced his Kickstarter for this game. Well, it's fully backed and he's shared a pre-production copy of the game for us to review it before I get my backer copy (yeah I liked the look of it so much I couldn't resist).


So, is this game just another company cog or is it a corporate climber? Let's find out as we are welcomed to Sysifus Corp.


Overview

Sysifus Corp, a game for 2-4 players, is a tile-laying race game with lots of take-that mechanic built in. If your not a fan of take-that games then you might want to give this a miss, I know it's quite a polarising genre within the hobby. *The box suggests a playtime of 1-2 hours, which I feel is a little long since our experience so far is that 2-player games take about 30 -40 minutes, even using Tabletop Simulator. In terms of player age the box recommends 13+ . That feels about right, as while the mechanics are simple to pick up, the strategy is quite intricate and requires precise timing.


So, what's it all about,? Well, you play as new employees at the fictional corporation Sysifus Corp. You are all chasing that promotion, but there is only one left so you'd better hurry before your fellow worker beats you to it. To achieve this goal, all you have to do is visit all three of the bosses in their respective corner offices, before you get back to the performance review. Easy, right? Well, that depends on your co-workers as you fight and jockey for position using Office Politics cards to manipulate the game.


Gameplay

Each workday (turn) you get three actions. Each can be used to do one of the following actions, with no limits to the amount of each type per turn:

  • Place a project - add a new project tile to the board in any orientation you desire in an adjacent space (including diagonally)

  • Move between projects - move your employee to a new project via connecting sticky notes, earning company influence

  • Send or receive a memo - get a memo or place it down to bridge a gap between projects not connected by sticky notes

  • Research - get more Office Politics cards.



Timing is key when it comes to Office Politics

Throughout the day, you will want to be playing Office Politics cards to make the most of your workday, playing these cards doesn't cost you an action, but does require you to spend your company influence. There are four main effects of Office Politics cards.

  • To manipulate project tiles already on the board

  • To manipulate employees

  • As utilities to get more resources

  • To interfere with other players' Office Politics.

Cards have a variety of effects depending on what you pay for them, with most cards having add-ons where you can pay more company influence or sacrifice other Office Politics cards to achieve better and more powerful effects.


Let's get connected

When you visit the bosses, you collect a certificate from them. With the optional gameplay add-on, these certificates can give players powerful one-off effects that can be used to navigate your way to success.


Each boss has a different style of effect: the red boss allows you to consume other players' resources, the blue boss gives you additional actions and the green boss allows you to regenerate and recover abilities.





I said it was pretty simple, didn't I? Yeah, that's all you need to know. Now, let's see how long you can keep at each other's throats as you realise there are so many paths you can take, and you never know which one is right due to the ever-changing environment.



Production

The game has a great theme throughout, and I love the subtle mockery of corporate jargon and buzzwords in the background text on project cards. Even the rule book is tongue in cheek too, and the overall marketing of the game really mocking that whole corporate culture.


The quality of the components is fantastic, with simple and consistent artwork throughout that keeps reinforcing the game's theme. My only reservation in this regard is that the projects have been made as playing cards rather than punch board tiles. I would be concerned that with the amount of time that these tiles are moving that cards will warp and fray with repeated use.


I like some of the subtle features throughout the game that make it accessible, with each of the bosses having a separate symbol to represent them: the red boss is the square, the green a triangle, and the blue a circle. It makes it easy to distinguish them even if you can't see colours.



Personally, I would have preferred the tokens to have been made with a more sustainable material rather than being plastic, but given the low quantities involved this is not a huge concern for me.




Final Thoughts

Like most race games, once someone gets a significant lead it can become almost impossible to catch up. That has certainly happened a couple of times in our playthroughs, but would probably be more balanced with higher player counts; something to be mindful of if you regularly play as just two players.


Take-that is definitely an acquired taste and if it's not your thing then you may struggle to get invested with this game, as it's basically expected to be able to win. While you can of course keep to yourself, if you don't have the right cards then there is not much you can do to stop someone doing it to you.


I think there is room for improvement or at least a nice little house rule variant to add some asymmetry to the game where each employee would get an additional workhour each day for their respective actions with the employee cards having specialist role title to match. e.g. Research Analyst for the green player.


Overall, this is a great game. Quick, simple and well presented, and worth checking out if the take-that mechanics don't put you off.


At the time of review, I've only played this once, but first impressions are that it has a great theme, it's well presented and humorous. However, "Take-That" games are a bit of an acquired taste. It did seem a little unbalanced if one player gets a clear lead, in a two-player game at least. Still, I very much enjoyed it and it's a fun, fast paced, lighter game, perfect for drinks with fellow corporate drones!

Dan Leaky - The 'other' founder


I love take-that mechanics (even if I get grumpy at times), as I really feel I can get involved with the group. The corporate mockery really appeals to this worker drone, and I think is a standout feature of this game. It just needs some polish on the balance front to stop runaway leaders.

George E Ohh - The rules lawyer

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