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Tycoon: India 1981

Game summary

A game for 1 – 4 players
Play time around 60 – 180 minutes
Publisher is Zenwood Games


Tycoon: India 1981, players represent big industrial houses of India trying to dominate the six key industrial sectors – Minerals, Fuel, Agro, Power, Transport, and Finance by obtaining the rights from the Government and building factories on a map of India. Although the goal is to be rich, they must try to influence national policies to their benefit and gain political favor to break all ties while balancing wealth and fame in a series of rounds.

Post-independence from colonial rule in 1947, India had been left in shambles. It was the combined efforts of bureaucrats, politicians, and industrialists who worked together to start a new industrial revolution following the five-year plans. It is the dawn of a new era, for liberalization and globalization have removed much of the licensing and red tape that had hindered the development of the industries.

So, will you be able to dominate this revolution and become the Tycoon?

Let’s get it on the table

Depending on the player count, the setup can be different. Tycoon is suitable for solo, 2, 3, and 4-player games. In the preview game we received, we focused on a 3-4 player game because this gives the best gameplay.

Layout the three game boards by joining the board parts. The Map Board consists of 4 parts, a Sector Track Board, and an Actions/Strategy Board are 2 parts. Place the round marker on 0 of the round tracker.

Shuffle the Planning Commission cards A and B decks separately. Place one of each on the Sector Track board.

Shuffle the Policy Cards Age I and II separately. Take 8 Age I and all the 12 Age II Policy Cards. Place Age I cards over II facedown, and form a Policy cards draw deck. Place the deck in the designated area of the Map Board.

Shuffle the Industry Cards Age I and ll separately. Place Age I cards over Age II facedown, and form an Industry cards draw deck. Place the deck in designated area of the Map Board

Shuffle all Merit cards an place them face down on the designated area of the Map Board.

Shuffle the Conglomerate Powers tokens related to the player count and place them face-up on the designated area of the Sector Track board.

Shuffle 5 Endgame Sector Favor Tokens. Pick 2 tokens and place them face-up on the designated area of the Sector Track board.

Place the Money Tokens, Promoter Tokens, Favor Tokens, Promissory Notes, and +1 Action Tokens organized respectively near the board as a General Supply.

Give each player money tokens worth a total value of 150 Crores Rupees, 1 player card, 1 player screen, 8 player discs, 9 wooden plants, 9 share tokens of values 30-70 all of the chosen player’s color, and 1 reference sheet. The share tokens are stacked in ascending order on the Player card, with value 30 on top and 70 at the bottom.

Decide randomly the starting player, who will receive the Tycoon player marker.

Starting with the last player in turn order and going counter-clockwise, each player places one of their 8 player discs on spaces 1, 2, 3, or 4 of the Influence track. This is the starting influence they begin their game with. Only one disc may occupy a space.

Depending on the influence value chosen, players gain promoter tokens respectively as starting resources.

Each player additionally places one of their discs near the Industry Bidding track. The remaining 6 player discs will be used to track the 6 Industrial Sector levels later.

Draw as many Policy Cards as the number of players from the Policy Draw deck. In reverse player order, each player picks one available Policy card and places it near their play area as their starting Policy. Policy cards are always revealed throughout the game.

Shuffle 8 Corporate Agenda Cards. Draw 2 and choose 1 of them, discarding the other. This is the chosen Corporate Agenda card. Corporate Agenda cards can be examined anytime by the player owning it, but must be kept hidden from opponent players.

Finally, display 2 Policy cards and 3 Industry cards in the designated slots on the Map Board. Place the round marker on round 1 of the tracker on the board.

The game is now ready to begin.

In a total of 7 rounds, the Tycoon of India will be determined. Every round has 4 phases where actions need to be taken by all players.

Phase 1: Activate a new Region.
At the beginning of a round, the marker on the Compass needs to be placed on one of the four regions. This can’t be the same as the previous round, so each round will have a different region. From the second round, when players have built in the “round” region, they will gain a region bonus related to the plants they build in that region.

Phase 2: Play Round Event.
Each round has its own round event. Players will participate in these events in turn order.

There are 3 types of round events:

– Bid for Policies: Here, all players will take part in a closed bidding by using their Promoters. They will be able to bid on the 2 Policy cards available that round. The player who bids with the highest number of Promoters will be able to choose one of the Policy cards.

– Gain Revenue and Dividends: In this event, players will receive revenue from all industry cards they have built. The players will pay dividends to all who own shares.

– National Projects: During this event, players can pay the indicated costs to gain influence and Favor tokens.

Phase 3: Bid for Industries.
During this phase, players will be able to bid with money on Industry cards.

Each round, there are 3 cards open and available to choose from.

Clockwise, each player has exactly 2 opportunities to bid. Each bid needs to be higher than the previous bid of the last placed bid.

The final two players who bid the most are able to choose and buy an Industry card. An interesting thing is that the one who bid the most will also be the Tycoon player for the next round.

Phase 4: Actions

During this phase, a player can take 1 of the 6 different actions available or pass.

The following actions will be available:

– Build: If you have an unbuilt Industry Card, this action will make it possible.

– Share: You can buy shares from other players. This will be a nice way to increase your asset value.

– Muster: This way, you can add more promoters to your Strategy Pool.

-Strategy: This can give you benefits when you have enough Promoters in your Strategy pool because they can be used to gain benefits that are available on the Strategy Action Spaces.

-Politics: Using this, you can generate resources.

-Loan: When you’re in need of some extra cash, this is a way to get it. This action is related to the Finance track, so the amount will be higher when you advance on this track.

An extra action, which is always free, is the Emergency Loan, always the same loan amount because it’s not related to the Finance track. Your way to get money on each step in the round.

After each player has taken all their actions, the following round will begin.

The Game ends

The game ends after 7 rounds, and then the endgame scoring will be done.

If a player already has both the highest Asset and Influence values, this player will immediately be the winner. If not, there are other endgame scoring ways to determine the final Tycoon player of India.

Final Conclusion & rating

Weight: 3.40/ 5
Replayability: 8
Our rating: 8 out of 10 dices

After noticing the campaign, we contacted Zenwood Games and received this preview copy.

So parts and components will be adjusted when the final game is ready, but we have already seen some very nice detailed instructions and have an idea of how the final game will look.

It looks a bit overwhelming at first, but as you get more into the gameplay, it really has some very interesting game mechanics. Like that the first player is determined for the next round when they are the highest bidder in the current round.

It’s a good mix of a diversity of different game mechanics, nicely blended. We did notice that these types of games aren’t better with fewer than 3 players; we suggest it will provide the greatest gameplay with 3 and 4 players. This will increase the interactions and, for example, give the bidding and the actions on the different tracks more flavorful moments 😁

The used parts for the Rupees are already of good design. But using poker chips during the game makes the gameplay even better. We noticed that the Deluxe edition already has “casino coins”. I have not seen anything about an insert, but this would also be an added value; this can increase the setup time a lot.

So, truly a game that will provide some very nice game nights. Do not hesitate if you come across Tycoon: India 1981; don’t leave it behind.

We want to thank Zenwood Games for this preview copy and the opportunity to write about it.

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