TV Wars - The Pevans Option

Alternative rules for TV Wars

My view on TV Wars is that the random nature of what players can do does not allow them to follow any strategy. The mechanism at the heart of the game is the Ratings War, but they don't happen often enough to give the game any pace - shouldn't it be a constant battle? And the game takes too long to play to a conclusion. My feeling is that the game started with the idea of the Ratings War and that the board has been added to provide a way of generating Ratings Wars and allowing players to buy things. It also makes the game look more familiar ("like Monopoly") to the casual buyer. I would therefore like a more predictable way of players buying things, more frequent Ratings Wars and a shorter overall game.

New Rules

My suggested surgery on the game is to dispense with the playing board. Instead, I propose the following sequence of play, which allows players to plan what they're going to do and provokes a lot of Ratings Wars. Otherwise the rules don't change (but ignore any references to moving tokens).

1  Decide who is the first player. You may rotate this after every round, but I don't think it makes much difference. Each player in turn carries out the following actions.

2  The player rolls for a random event. S/he rolls a die and looks up the result in Random Events Table 1 first, rolling again on Table 2 if necessary. If a Bulletin card is taken, it is applied as written, except that there are no tokens to advance to a specific square - instead the effects of the appropriate event (see Random Events Table 2 below) are applied. Events take place immediately, before the player does anything else.

3  The player may nominate a programme for auction - as per 3.1 in the rules. If there are no programmes remaining and the player wishes to put one up for auction, the game ends (as per 3.11).

4  The player may do any one of the following:

   a  Roll to establish the cost of an Academy Award movie and then choose whether or not to buy one (as per 3.2). If none are left s/he may nominate a 90 or 120 minute programme instead (3.22).

   b  Roll the dice for an Emmy award, receiving one on any double (see 5.2). This cannot be done if no Emmies are left.

   c  Take a Viewers' Views or Critics' Choice tile (player's choice) as per 3.5. If no Viewers' Views tiles are left s/he must take a Critics Choice and vice versa. If neither is left, the game ends (as per 5.32).

   d  Put up an unknown star for auction (as per 5.1). If no stars are available, the player can't do this.

5  The next player takes his/her turn.

6  At the end of the round, once all players have had a turn, a Ratings War is conducted (as per 6). The first Ratings War is the November Sweeps, the second February, the third May, the fourth November again and so on. Use the tokens to keep track of this: one for the November Sweeps, two for February, three for May, then back to one.
 
Random Events Table 1
Die roll Event
1 Player gains $3000
2 Player takes a Critics Choice or Viewers Views
3-4 Player takes a Bulletin card*
5-6 Player rolls a second die and looks up Table 2

* Ignore all references to "advancing his/her/their token(s)" on Bulletin cards. For the mini-series card: pay $3000 now and a further $3000 at the start of your next turn to chose a free programme as described on the card.
  held.
Random Events Table 2
First roll Second roll Event
5 1 Sponsor: Player gains $500 for every 30 mins of programme held.
2 Steal a Star: Player may demand that another player gives him/her a Star (owner's choice). If the chosen player doesn't have one, the player may try someone else.
3 Steal a Programme: As Steal a Star, but the player demands a specific type and length of programme.
4 Network News: Player gains the "Best Network News" tile. If s/he already holds it, s/he gains the Pre-emption tile. If s/he already holds both, no effect.
5 Congressional Inquiry: Player pays $1000 into the bank.
6 Technical Difficulties: Player takes no action this turn & may not bid for any programme until his/her next turn.
6 1 Strike: Player pays $3000 into the bank.
2 Payroll: Player pays $2000 into the bank.
3 Network News: Player gains the "Best Network News" tile. If s/he already holds it, s/he gains the Pre-emption tile. If s/he already holds both, no effect.
4 Steal a Programme: As Steal a Star, but the player demands a specific type and length of programme.
5 Steal a Star: Player may demand that another player gives him/her a Star (owner's choice). If the chosen player doesn't have one, the player may try someone else.
6 Sponsor: Player gains $500 for every 30 mins of programme

These rules have had a brief play-test and provided a more vicious game than the original. I would be interested in feedback from anyone who tries them.

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Page created 12th October 2001. Last modified 24th June 2005.
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