Flood the streets with delicious soda in a bid to outmaneuver the competition in upcoming board game Top Pop, which plans to launch a Kickstarter campaign in July.
Top Pop situates two the five players as the owners of ambitious soda companies attempting to channel their wealth and resources to become the most well loved beverage in 1960s America. While each may operate separately, their goal is the same: target large cities such as Seattle, Chicago and New York and saturate them with advertisements and bottles before moving on to the next thirsty metropolitan centre.
The companies will find themselves battling for the same population of pocketbooks and must bid on control of the city using bottle cap tokens. In each of six rounds, players invest a stack of bottle caps on a city card of their choice drawn from the City Deck. They can place as many - or as few - as they choose, as long as it contains one cap matching their company’s colours. Other players will either bid on different cities or throw their resources behind muscling out the competition, investing a larger stack of bottlecaps than the current frontrunner.
Once invested, players can’t recoup their bottle caps - this makes bidding wars prohibitively expensive and perhaps a good strategy for goading the clear winner into overreaching on a certain city, something Top Pop has in common with other auction board games. Night cities wrinkle the standard formula by being placed face down, introducing a bluffing element to that round’s proceeding bid phase.
Play continues around the table until someone wins their sixth city and sends the game into its final stage. Everyone will have one last-ditch attempt to shore up their popularity before scoring begins. More points are awarded for owning the most of each city card, representing that companies uncontested control of refrigerators, coolers and lunch boxes.
Top Pop supports a truncated version for even shorter games - publisher Talon Strikes Studios said rounds typically last 30 to 45 minutes - as well as variant scenarios that shake up play by adding or amending the rules. For example, the Small Town scenario allows players outbid on low-power cities to retrieve their investment, while High Rollers literally ups the ante to a minimum of two bottle caps.
Talon Strikes Studios is an independent board game designer and publisher that most recently funded Night Market, a title about shopping through the ubiquitous installation in Taiwanese cities and villages. Top Pop is designed by Mark McGee and Joshua J. Mills.
The company plans to launch Top Pop’s Kickstarter campaign in July of this year, but pricing and an eventual release dan’t aren’t yet known.