Subcontractor builds upon some of the ideas I started in Mow Money. I continue to be curious about the real life “game” that exists in the real world process of tendering bids on contracts, with the lowest bidder often being awarded the contract.
I wanted to move away from the card drawing system that is found in Mow Money and return to the bid-what-you-want system that was in my first game, Mow ‘Em Down, but with some of the same constraints found in Mow Money.
In Subcontractor, players bid to win construction contracts in a city, represented in a game board that has city blocks. A deck of contract cards is correlated to the properties on the game board. For example, Card “A” is associated with the “A” property on the board. Each contract requires a certain number of subcontractors to do the work. There are framers, electricians, plumbers, and finishers. The contract card lists the number of different subcontractors required to bid on the contract. During the bid phase of the game, players secretly assign cubes, which represent the subcontractors, onto a player board behind a screen. They must place the required number of subcontractor cubes onto the player board. This also sets the price for the bid. The rightmost cube on each subcontractor row sets the price. The total bid is the sum of all these rightmost cubes. With four dollar amount per row, the maximum bid is $16. Player can lower their bids by stacking “leftover” cubes on top of the leftmost cube.
So you might be asking why wouldn’t a player simply want to stack everything on the $1 space on each row? Two reasons. First, each level that is stacked creates an extra time period of work during the work phase of the turn. And second, each cube (aka “worker”) will need to be paid $1 during the work phase.
I brought a version of the game to BGG.con 2014 to show in the “Publisher-Designer Speed Dating” event. I was able to attract the interest of three companies after this show, but no contract was signed. One company really liked the game and wanted me to rework it with a fantasy theme and resubmit it. I am currently testing some ideas with this, but much of my attention this winter has been directed toward “Mobsters of the Iron Triangle.” I’ll post more updates about Subcontractors as I make more progress.
Up next… applying a fantasy theme.