The Networks: Executives: Formal Ferret Games: Review

Theme and What is it?

You will take on the world changing job of being a television executive. Will you use that power for good or evil? In this game it doesn’t matter, you’re only job, is viewership. As you may know, Executives is an expansion to The Networks.

It changes several things, one, you now have variable player powers based on the executive you use. You now begin with pilot seasons, to get the game rolling quicker. And your executive boards are not color dependent, for those players that must play with orange, or green for example. Mogul cards are also added, which gives a one-time bonus, based on Genre bonuses, we used the Genre Bingo Bonuses from Telly Time.

Gameplay Mechanics

The game plays exactly the same as the original Networks game, except for when it doesn’t. I know, that is a complete cop-out, but it is true. 

For example, the Gorilla here, must at the end of the season always choose to be first or last in player order. First gets you first, but last nets you a cool $5 million. This is just ugly, and beautiful. It forces the player playing with this Executive to make a decision every season. No other player power is forced, to my knowledge.

The Executive I played with that was so silly that it was entertaining, was the Telethon Executive. This executive runs a telethon once a season, and gets $2 million, and then can ask neighbors to give them $2 million. This sounds crazy, why would a neighbor do that? Because, if they do they get a donation token, which allows the person to possibly make a free action with enough tokens, or to ignore costs or card turns. This donation token can be a HUGE value, as can an extra $2 million dollars… decisions decisions.

Initial Impressions

When I was told Executives merely added executives, and moguls, and Pilot Seasons, I was not particularly enamored. The extras just didn’t seem to add much to the game. It felt like something that was not strictly necessary to the play and enjoyment of the game. Read the conclusions to see if my opinion stayed the same.

Game Build Quality

This is by and large a card game that has been turned into a board game. The cards are standard black core, if I were to guess. The chits and nips and markers are all very well made.

In all fairness to the normal audience of the base game, Mr. Hova provided us with some promo stuff, such as the wood TV tower, and acrylic cubes. This made the game prettier, but the original quality was already very good. The variable power executive boards are nice, as they clip together like a puzzle, and make it easy to use. I do not like the box insert, but it is a function over form question, as it works precisely as it should, it just isn’t exciting.

I’d give the component quality 2 thumbs up over all. 

Artistic Direction

The art and aesthetic of the game is quite nice, despite not being in my wheelhouse. It conveys the exact emotion that you would expect. The telethon art looks like clown muppets collecting money, probably something you have felt every time you have watched a telethon. 

The art beyond all esle, is crystal clear, which makes it very easy to play with, and to read. That is very much appreciated, as we sometimes see art that has difficult fonts, or the colors get in the way of the play. This art was all very thought out, and makes the game just a pleasure to look upon.

Fun Factor

The Networks: Executives is thinky (A technical word, implying you must be thoughtful while making decisions) <—- that was me over-explaining something you already knew.

Thinky for me, is great. So, in my way of seeing the game, it is fun. The flavor text is something that should not be missed. Some of them give you in-roads to Gil Hova’s age, and some are just silly. Not a bad thing at all, some of the humor may be lost on the 13+~ crowd, but not on the 31+ crowd.

Doc – “Roads, where we’re going, we don’t need, roads.”

Age Range & Weight

13 +. I have been secretly using my daughter to determine at least a part of fun factor in games. She is nearly 7, and understands this game generally, but did not find it appealing. 

I suspect Gil Hova would be okay with that, as he has rated the game as 13+. This is probably exactly where it should be. While a younger audience can understand the mechanics, it is too thinky to draw them in generally.

Conclusions

Executives does something that every GREAT expansion should, it makes it a necessary component to the original game. We included this into the base game, and have simply made it part of every time we play the game. The variable player powers shines in this game. It is just so crisp and clean that I would not play without it. The Executives just fall into place on a game I already liked. 

The one major issue I had with the game was playtime. It is quick with 2-3, and for us significantly slowed with 4-5. I would keep that in mind based on your play group, and their relative ability to not take long turns, and to think of their turns, prior to their turn. 

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