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All Hail the Corporate Overlords with the Evil Corp Board Game by La Boîte de Jeu!

There is a common trope that centers around how evil corporations are, and how at a certain point if a company gets big enough, they never have the planet’s or employees’ interests at heart, instead siding with whatever actions increase the bottom line. In the Evil Corp board game, we’re definitely leaning into that idea with great fervor.

Evil Corp board game
Board Game Cover for Evil Corp by La Boîte de Jeu

Evil Corp is designed by Jérémy Ducret, and takes us into a fantasy world where the Evil Corp has existed with the sole purpose of frightening villages. And let’s be honest – they’ve been doing a real good job of it for the past 666 years. As a form of team-building, you are tasked with a friendly competition against your demonic co-workers to see who can scare villages the best.

Does the Evil Corp board game serve as adequate water cooler discussion? Let’s dive in and see how it plays!

Evil Corp Gameplay and Review

The Evil Corp board game borrows a bunch of different mechanics from other games, the most prominent being the game I have played the most out of any other game on the planet: 7 Wonders Duel. In Evil Corp, you are competing on multiple village maps, driving up the Terror rating to eventually win the village through overpowering fear. Each village features a Terror track that ebbs and flows in a tug-of-war fashion, much like the Military track in the aforementioned Duel.

When you play a monster tile to the Battlefield spaces or the Fortification space, you will be pushing the Terror track in your favor based on the Terror value of the tile placed. Additionally, those tile placements could also garner you extra loot if it’s the first red monster placed in that village, or a power crystal that will break Terror track ties if you place the first blue monster in a village.

Additionally, you can also place monsters out in the ports which can grant you much-needed gold which will help you to recruit more monsters waiting in reserve. The game incorporates bag-building elements where you can also get rid of the basic starting monster tiles throughout the game to help ensure that you’re getting those better monsters more often.

Another interesting space allows the ability to tap into the powers of one of the three demons who probably make up the rest of the Board of Directors for this fantasy company. These grant powerful effects based on your overall spellcasting value, but each one can only be used once during each round. They are vital towards your success, but you’ll have to weight the risk of early activation versus a more strategic activation later, knowing that your opponent might have the exact same thing in mind.

At the end of the Day phase, players are awarded based on their progress on the Terror track in each village, and whoever manages to conquer two villages first will win the game. An interesting point is that once a village is conquered, the board flips over to a secondary side, meaning that you could theoretically play on four separate villages during a 2 or 4 player game.

From my perspective the Evil Corp board game starts really slowly. Everybody has the same standard monster tiles to start the game, and at the beginning it feels like you are kind of treading water in managing both villages. Either both Terror tracks end up very balanced, or both are skewed heavily in one player’s favor. The latter is actually preferred because it can help kickstart the later rounds with the two purple coins that remain constant in between each round as opposed to being lost.

Evil Corp board game

Once you get into round 3 and beyond, the game really starts to evolve in a different way because players now have access to a wider variety of monsters and you can’t necessarily predict everything that they might have. In fact, it’s very difficult to remember that to begin with because of the amount of iconography in the game. It’s probably not an unbearable amount of icons, but every tile does have an explanation in the rulebook to describe its ability, and there’s an additional cheatsheet on the back.

Because of the icons, there is a decent mental association overhead that you’ll need to overcome to start the game. You’ll be referencing the rulebook a lot, usually just to understand what all of these icons mean. It’s actually a blessing that the Evil Corp board game is relatively light in its mechanics for this exact reason, opting instead to emphasize the importance of sequencing out your tiles in a strategic order to win villages.

All that being said, I’m also glad that there are so many different monster tiles because it adds so much variability to the game with each play, and ensures that your strategy has to evolve. You can’t necessarily just try the same strategy every time, because your tiles likely won’t support it.

As a two-person game, I found Evil Corp to be decent, but nothing especially spectacular. I actually found that playing with four-people offered a lot more in terms of surprise and varied contention with the villages when playing 2v2. I actually really enjoyed the push and pull of the Terror track, which forces you to make tough decisions that involve the sunk cost fallacy or just swallowing your pride and possibly going down with a sinking ship.

Evil Corp: Middle Management

The Evil Corp board game blends together a variety of mechanisms to create this amalgamation of bag-building and tug-of-war that might cause your forehead to bead up with sweat like the time you remembered that your TPS reports were due in a half hour and you hadn’t even started yet. The inclusion of the demons allows for some strategic swings that will turn the tide of the round, and being able to sculpt your tile reserves raises the power level as the game goes on.

You can find the Evil Corp board game in the USA through Hachette Boardgames, or try to find it at your FLGS!

Disclaimer: Nerds on Earth was provided a copy of Evil Corp from Hachette Boardgames in exchange for an honest review.

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