Employee of the Month: Quit Before You’re Ahead

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Employee of the Month Card GameThere isn’t too much to say about Employee of the Month… (published by Dancing Eggplant Games, designed by Alan Moon). I just did not enjoy it whatsoever. This is odd for me, because usually I enjoy needing to study my opponents to keep up with their motives but, ugh. I just couldn’t get into it at all. I selected this myself on BoardGameExchange.com because I felt the synopsis hinted at a night well spent:

“Employee of the Month — a coveted position in any company. With the title comes a prime parking space, a fashionable plaque for the office, and most importantly, extra dough! Some may think that becoming Employee of the Month is out of their reach, that random forces in the universe determine who that lucky Employee will be — but they’re wrong. Anyone can become the Employee of the Month — will it be you? So what’s the secret? Simple — you must become popular with both Management and fellow co-workers. It’s all karma; if you do something nice for someone, invisible brownie points and kudos stack up in your favor, but be careful! Management and coworkers are very different beasts. What pleases your boss may make your coworkers suspicious, so in order to please both, you can’t go overboard. This fun-filled game comes from Alan R. Moon and Aaron Weissblum, the award-winning designers of New England, King’s Breakfast, San Marco and other excellent titles. The humorous theme complements a solid bidding game where balance is key.”

Maybe it was the confusing bidding process. We first attempted to play just my Fiancé and I but “bidding” among two people didn’t really give us much to work with. We had to recruit a few friends to help but even then we weren’t sold. It didn’t help that the instructions were confusing to us (I don’t think it was the wine, honestly!). It took us a lot of extra time making sure we understood what the actual set up was, how to begin the game- etc. It was kind of frustrating in fact. So there was that- and then it just felt overly repetitive with little to gain. I suppose there were a few moments were I “got it” but that feeling didn’t last long enough to want to play again.

TEmployee of the Monthhe goal is to get promoted before your opponents do by collecting brownie points and kudos from both management and co-workers (which is, in all fairness a tough thing to balance). The problem is that the playing cards don’t offer very much variety- so you often feel like you’re experiencing the same sequence of events too many times to enjoy it. I honestly don’t have much to say- beyond the fact that once we finally figured out how to play it- we soon forgot about it. It wasn’t one of those games where you say “Oh, we have to play that again before we send it back to BGE”- and that’s a bummer.

The artistic design of the game in terms of the illustrations on the cards- was nicely done but wasn’t enough to save the overall experience. I’d say it was a miss- might as well play a game you know you like again before figuring this one out.

1-4 Too Much Awful
5-7.5- Not so Awesome
7.6-8.5 Almost awesome
8.6-9.4 – Awesome!
9.5-10- Totally Awesome!
6.8 Not So Awesome

There was just not enough, "umph!" to this one. I believe it took us too long to decipher the instructions which led to a tone of impatience toward the beginning... To say this game is good for 2-6 people I would disagree. 2 people is far too few to get anything out of Employee of the Month. There isn't enough "variety" in the cards to keep things going. I don't know. It just wasn't for me. True card game enthusiasts can give it a whirl sometime and report back, I'd be curious.

  • Concept: 6
  • Presentation: 8
  • Longevity: 7
  • Gameplay: 6
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