A few days ago I stumbled again upon a board game that I used to play in the past. I spent a lot of hours negotiating in this game. The feeling that the game will last half an hour was the same now as it was back then. However, the game ended up lasting two hours and to be honest, I never really felt the time passing. This game is called I’m the boss.
When I first saw it after so many years, I remembered all the old times and I immediately gathered my friends to play. It was an opportunity for me to re-examine the way that the game is balanced from a board game designer’s perspective but also have some fun myself! I was the only one on the table who has played this board game before and so I assumed that I could manipulate my opponents easily and win. Spoiler alert… it didn’t go as planned!
The game started easy and each player selected an investor in order to have a “say” when negotiating, as well as 5 cards to start with. We were 5 players so one of the 6 available investors should be left out in the sidelines, waiting for another opportunity. I started first, and after rolling my dice and moving my investor, I had to make a decision. Should I draw 3 cards or start a negotiation? I decided to start a negotiation since it required 3 investors and I already had 2 of them on my side. From the very beginning, I realized that I had to do with tough opponents since a few moments later one of them stole an investor of mine and sent the second one on a trip. Since I was out of the way, someone else took advantage of my investment.
The game went on, but this time I was more defensive in an attempt to also close some deals myself. As the game concluded, I managed to be part of 5 deals and collect some money. However, I still ended up 4th while the winner was proudly shouting “I’m the boss!!”.
It was another amazing gaming experience! The game is build in a way that it makes it impossible to be 100% sure that you can win a deal, even though your original planning suggests so. Depending on the other players, each game will be very different as you will have a different influence on each one of them. You have to be careful though, because if your friends realize that you’re manipulating them, they won’t trust you ever again! It’s very common to spend a lot time on a negotiation. When you think you have everything set and you’re ready to close a deal, the unexpected sound of an opponent shouting “I’m the boss” is the last thing you want to hear. And then you know that the game will last for much more…