Of course, the reality is somewhat different. Real music is hard work and requires dedication and working with other people to succeed. Those of us who have ever been in a band will recognise how tough it can be. Original Content London’s debut game, Band Manager: Backstage Clash, tries to capture all the silly fun of being in a band without any of that tedious practicing and learning skills nonsense.
It’s essentially a card and worker placement game that simulates a new band going out trying to make it. Each of you has a hand of cards. These are broken down into hype, chops, riffs, gear, fans and passion. You need at least the first four of these things to make a go of it as a band; you can’t play a gig without gear, and if you don’t have the chops to use a trombone with those fusion-funk riffs, then how are you going to hype your show and attract fans?
Typically, you don’t have enough cards in your hand to go it alone, so you have to ask your fellow players to contribute cards to your gig. This isn’t a co-operative game, though, so it’s more a case of who can negotiate the best deal for themselves. For example, you may have all the cards you need to bring Sax-based heavy metal to the world, but you need a van to put it all in. Pull off a successful gig and those involved get to draw more cards. Some of those cards are ‘fan cards’. Get twenty-seven points worth of fans and you’ve made it. Though you may lose fans on the way as you create bigger and more spectacular gigs.
Of course, reaching twenty-seven has another implication in rock music terms. It’s the age many famous stars die at. The other type of card is passion. These are ‘wild cards’. Don’t have an amp for the electric guitar? Don’t worry; somehow your passion will see you through. As you get more popular, it’s tough to hold onto your passion; you can only hold onto one thing per gig, the rest of the cards are spent.
The result is a fairly fast, fun game that takes about 30 minutes, longer if you decide to really go for it and pull a rock-star style strop. The components also help with the atmosphere; player tokens are button badges and the board itself is a black T-shirt with the game board printed on it. The T-shirt will fit most people, though if you wear the thing it may make playing the game a bit tricky. The art on the cards is pixel style and this fits with the pop culture vibe.
Band Manager: Backstage Clash is a great game and one to look out for. It’s currently only available online (and via pre-order) on www.battleofthebandscardgame.com. It’s ideal for the rock star in us all.
Header image: Mikey Smith
BAND MANAGER: BACKSTAGE CLASH / DESIGNER: SAM BALLARD, ED SAPERIA / ARTIST: SAM BALLARD / PUBLISHER: ORIGINAL CONTENT LONDON / RELEASE DATE: TBC