Corporate America is a game by Teale Fristoe, published by Nothing Sacred Games and Game Salute. It is for 3-6 players. In this game of political satire, players take on the role of corporations as they do their best to manipulate the government and consumption of goods by the American people, all to make the most money possible. The person who best can wrangle the corporate ladder will become the winner.
To begin, players will each get a stack of money, dependent on the number of players. All decks of cards will be shuffled and each player will receive 4-5 business cards, dependent again on the number of players. 3-4 executive privilege cards will be placed face down on the board, again dependent on the number of players. The phase token is placed on the Wall Street spot and play begins.
There are 4 different phases in the game. The first phase is the Wall Street phase. In this phase, players draw 2 cards and start one business. On the first turn, each player starts 3-4 businesses instead of just one. To start a business they will pay the required amount to the bank and put the business face up in front of themselves. Once each player has started their business, the phase token progresses to the Main Street spot.
The next phase is the Main Street phase. In this phase, players will flip over consumer cards. If they don’t like the card they may discard it and replace it for a set price that scales up each time it is replaced. When the player is happy that good is then consumed, providing any players business that produces that good with money. If a player has more than one of that good, they will receive a synergy bonus that will give them even more money based on how many of companies that produce that good they have. There’s one little snag though as protest cards will pop up from time to time. We’ll talk about those in a moment though, for now they will be placed at the top of the board. This continues until there are 8 consumer cards face up on the board. The phase token is placed on the Campaign Trail spot and all the consumer cards are placed in the discard pile.
The next phase is the Campaign Trail phase. In this phase, the top 6 cards from the legislation deck are placed onto the board. Players then in turn will indicate which legislation they would pass if they were to become president. If there are any protests active, they will have to fulfill the desire of the protests through legislation. Once each player has been able to try and convince the others of their policies, the phase token then moves to the first of 3 bidding round spots. In each of these spots, players will secretly bid on who they want to be president, including themselves. If a player ever decides not to bid during one of these rounds, they are out of any later bidding and cannot place any money in front of any player. When the last round of bidding is over, the phase token goes to the Capitol Hill spot.
In the Capitol Hill phase, all the campaign contributions are flipped over. The player with the most money will become president. All money that was bid is given to the bank. The president takes the top executive privilege card and may, if there are any laws still in play, revoke one law. The president can play their executive privilege card whenever they like as long as the conditions are right or they may save it and receive $5 for it at the end of the game. The president then flips the top 2 legislation cards and chooses 3 of the 8 pieces of legislation to enact. Remember, that they must enact legislation that satisfies protests if there are any active protests. The phase token now moves back to the Wall Street spot. Play continues until the end of the Main Street phase when there are no more executive privileges on the board. All the money is added up for each player and the person with the most money wins.
There are several components in this game. To begin with the phase token is a wooden replica of the Washington monument. It’s a really thematic piece that looks really nice. I absolutely love it. The cards are all really nice with great artwork on them. They all have a very satirical cartoony feel to them that lends itself well to the theme of the game. The money is not the usual paper money that you would expect in a game like this or Monopoly. Instead it is colorful card like material just like the cards, only smaller. The board is a beautiful piece. The whole game feels completely thematic. I absolutely love the design of this game.
10 out of 10
The rulebook is very nice and colorful with lots of easy to read information. There are plenty of references to help players understand everything, including quickplay references on the outer margins of every page. There’s even a quick reference on the back cover. It even provides some rules variations for a different style of gameplay. All in all it is very helpful and easy to read. Very nicely done.
9 out of 10
The game itself is rather long depending on the number of players. I have to say that if players are actively bargaining and discussing things like the game suggest for you to do, it can go on FOREVER! The satirical humor of the cards will definitely cause you to laugh out loud, especially with the names and descriptions of the companies. One thing that I found to be a bit annoying was the ability for each player to spend campaign contributions on themselves. It seemed like there should have been a rule against that as my son would spend large amounts of money to keep control of the presidency. I do however like the fact that the game almost makes the president lie and not fulfill the legislation he said he would pass with the adding of the 2 extra legislation cards after the election. I felt that was very thematic and reminded me of real presidential elections. Of course we wouldn’t know anything about that, would we? All in all though, my wife and son really loved the game. They had lots of fun playing it. For me, however, I was a little let down. Still it’s a good game, even with the minor flaws that I found.
8 out of 10
Corporate America is a humorous look at politics and corporations. It’s a medium weight game that is heavy on auction/bidding. The game looks great. It’s very funny. It’s completely covered in theme. It’s just a bit too long to make it to the table very often. I think the next time we play, we will invoke our own home rule that you can’t vote for yourself. Might make things a little more interesting. Still, as I said before, it’s a good game. I would recommend it to anyone who likes politics or has a sarcastic side, just expect to be playing this one for awhile. All in all, it’s not bad.
8 out of 10
For more information about this game, please check out Nothing Sacred Games at their site.