21 October 2016 | New Angeles

A Work in Progress

The Developments, Outages, and Orgcrime of New Angeles

#NewAngeles

It has been nearly six months since the Water Riots, and activist groups are calling for someone to be held accountable. They claim that prisec forces under corp control indiscriminately opened fire on innocent civilians. A city attorney’s investigation found insufficient evidence to level any charges…

In New Angeles, you become the head of one of the world's largest megacorps. It is your responsibility to transform a vast—nearly unfathomable—fortune into an even greater fortune. To do so, you need to be shrewd in the deals you cut with the other major corps, and you may need to take some role in the city's maintenance.

Typically, as we saw in our earlier previews, all you need to do to keep the city running smoothly—and your deals laser-focused on profit, profit, profit—is to produce the right goods in the right districts. This requires you to pay attention to a number of different resources all at the same time, but it's no big deal for one of the world's most powerful CEOs.

Sometimes, however, things get a little bit more out of hand, and extreme situations may call for extreme solutions…

Send in the Prisec

Officially, the population of New Angeles is just over 500 million, but most estimates place it closer to one billion. Officially, the city is governed by an elected mayor and city council. But the reality is that the corps run the town—the corps and their prisec armies.

As it turns out, one of the challenges to running a city of roughly a billion people is that some of them inevitably decide to do their own things. You can give them all the entertainment and tech and energy and consumables in the world, but you'll still find a segment of the population that wants to protest. Or steals from you. Or strikes for better wages. Or simply just expresses its discontent as an unhelpful, unproductive malaise.

In New Angeles, these malcontents and their troubles are all represented by different tokens, minis, and game states. And while a good number of these can be resolved through some simple media conditioning, some may require a bit of advanced biotech research, and others may require you to deploy a small army of privately contracted security officers.

Dealing with Social Unrest and Power Outages

There are six different production modifiers that can change the ways the city's districts function. The simplest of these is "protest," the first stage of unrest.

As we addressed in our last preview, you can only exploit the resources of a district where you have one of the android tokens that represent your android workforce. Since there are only three android tokens, one of your jobs is to make sure you're getting your androids to the districts where you need them most. Beyond that, however, you will also find yourself responsible for dealing with the lingering animosity directed toward the city's android workforce.

Anytime you exploit a district, you increase that district's unrest by one step. A district starts out "stable," without an unrest token, but then shifts to protest the first time you exploit its resources.

At the protest stage, the district still produces its resources normally, but doing so will again increase its unrest, moving it to "strike," and forcing you to flip the yellow side of the unrest token over to the red side, which signals a halt to your production.

Once a district moves into strike, it's either time to transfer your android workforce to another district or call upon NBN's Spin Doctors to whip up a Media Circus and deflect attention.

Of course, there's a cost to nearly every action you take, especially in New Angeles, where you have so many forces competing for attention. Your Media Circus will summon forth a Human First unit—one of the game's other production modifiers. Those Human First activists will accelerate the district's unrest from stable to strike every time you exploit it. And then you'll need to deal with unrest again.

If you can't deal with that unrest, the Human First activists will riot and throw the district into "outage," another of the game's production modifiers—also negative. Like strike, outage prevents the district from generating its resources.

The main difference between strike and outage lies within the ways the corps can respond to the two. While NBN's media outlets may be able to resolve a strike, it takes some of Weyland's construction work to repair an outage—such as Budget Renovations or Gentrification.

The other difference between the two production modifiers is subtler. Both production modifiers demand solutions, but the solutions benefit different corps. NBN gets rich off media-based solutions to unrest. Weyland gets rich off construction-based responses to outages. And as you can imagine, one may pursue routes that lead to unrest while the other pursues agendas that lead to outages. And then you have the two offering their solutions all over again.

Stomping Out Orgcrime

In addition to the production modifiers presented by protests, strikes, Human First units, and outages, you also have those presented by developments and orgcrime.

Developments are the sole positive production modifier in the game. Each development token increases a district's primary resource value by one. For example, if you were to develop La Costa, you would generate two consumables, instead of one, each time you exploited the district. You would still only generate one credit.

And while developments are good, they're easily negated by orgcrime units. Wherever orgcrime takes root, it prevents a district from producing its primary resource, even if that resource is developed.

This may be a boon to the Federalist,  for whom timing is everything, since a single orgcrime unit can shut down a developed district like Quinde right before the corps hope to exploit it, and if it does, the corps will be hard-pressed to find energy elsewhere.

Accordingly, you'll want to remain ready with your security responses. Action cards like Gentrification and Riot Control allow you to use your prisec units to control the city's enemy units—both orgcrime and Human First units flee any district in which you deploy your prisecs. Still, while your private security forces may offer swift responses to the troubles of one or two districts, you may sometimes find your city flooded with criminals and activists. And you may feel the need to take even more drastic measures.

For whatever reason, then, everyone seems to look at Globalsec and Weyland as though there were some secret understanding between the two. And in totally unrelated news, Weyland Public Relations Officer Farid Ahmadi may announce the Consortium's plans to develop one of the districts. Then Globalsec's accountants will acknowledge the receipt of a tidy sum of unmarked funds. A small army of prisec units will conduct a Scorched Earth cleanup of the district. There will be some Gentrification. Farid Ahmadi will smile and wave to the cameras, he'll tell everyone how pleased the Weyland Consortium is with its latest designs in sustainable arcologies, the people will turn their attention elsewhere, the corps will continue to profit, and the city will go on living.

That's life in New Angeles. Everything's always moving. Everything's a work in progress.

Profit from Your Activities

Whatever the problem, there's a solution. Whatever the solution, there's a corp that stands to profit. Can you make sure that corp is yours?

Credits, lives, city districts—everything's negotiable in New Angeles. Prove you have what it takes to run the show when this dramatic board game of corporate ambitions arrives at retailers. Head to your local retailer to pre-order your copy today!

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