Mr. Java : A Very Promising Locally Created Business Management Game Prototype

In Mr. Java, we take on the mantle of the owner of an IT company. We use our management skills to complete large-scale projects (web, applications or social networks) with the help of our team (designer, programmer and tester) by managing our time (weeks worked) and by judiciously investing our money.

A native of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Kevin Bouchard is a first-time game creator. He has just founded his own board game publishing company, Viviludi, with a focus on resource management.

The Kickstarter campaign will be launched on November 5, 2019, for delivery in 2020.

Mr. Java : Who Will Be the Top Business Manager ?

Mr. Java

How to Play

Mr. Java is a scalable worker placement game featuring resource management (employee’s level of expertise, weeks worked and cash). You can choose between a normal play mode (Small Business) and an advanced mode (Big Business).

Every player is a business owner with their own strengths and design.

Mr. Java
The Frikis Inc. owner board with the three employees and their levels of expertise : programmer (yellow), designer (violet) and tester (blue).

 

In normal mode, the game is played over twelve rounds. 

Mr. Java
Board for counting turns and the players’ reputation levels.

 

Here are the various actions a player may choose from, one per turn :

Mr. Java
Actions board
  • Start a project : Choose from the cards facing up and pay the associated cost. The cards are divided into three levels of difficulty, each with their own gains.
  • Deliver the project to the client : Pay the requested number of weeks. Roll the dice associated with your employees’ level of expertise (levels 1-2 : blue d6, levels 3-4 : red d8, level 5 : blue d10, level 6 : violet d12).
  • Individual training : cost : $40,000, gain : 1 XP for the employee of the player’s choice.
  • Invest in the stock market : cost : $30,000, gain : based on the % dice result.
  • Copy an action : cost : $30,
  • Research & development : gain : $20,000 + $10,000 for each pair of completed projects.
  • Purchase work weeks : 1 week= add : $30,000, sell : $10,000, 2 weeks= add : $50,000, sell : $20,
  • Bid on a project : the player with the lowest bid wins the project.
  • Group training : cost : $90,000 + 2 actions, gain : 1 XP for 2 separate employees.
  • Sideline : If the player is not interested in choosing an action, this one lets them collect $10,000.

 

Mr. Java
A request for proposal card.

My Thoughts

I’ve played a few games and enjoyed the experience. Mr. Java is neither too short nor too long and has an interesting level of difficulty. I played my first game with a rough copy, comprising zero design elements, last spring when it was going by the name Tekno Park. We agreed that it was a solid starting concept that could be tailored to many themes. We even considered a junior version !

Mr. Java
Additional board for the advanced mode (Big Business)

About Kevin Bouchard, the Creator

When I first met Kevin Bouchard, I could see that he was extremely nervous, but also confident about his game. His presentation went well and we planned to meet a few weeks later for a game night.

This time again, he was well prepared. He knows his baby very well … and knows how to showcase it ! The rules were clear and precise, and we quickly got into the game. We immediately recognized the game’s high potential and couldn’t wait to play again with the illustrations !

Once a good amount of the material was ready, we tried it out again. Despite the few months that had elapsed since our last meeting, he remembered our game in detail ! He once again noted down our comments. He took the time to listen to us. He was impressively open-minded !

Kevin Bouchard, author of the game Mr. Java.

The Kickstarter Campaign

Without going into spoiler territory, he talked about some of his campaign goals. He wants to offer quality materials and his add-ons and stretch goals are quite interesting ! Moreover, the sale price is more than reasonable !

Mechanics

The game play is easy to understand : taking turns, we each place our pawn on the action we wish to undertake. Once all the players have made their choice, all the actions are executed.

Three examples of projects that can be completed (app, web and social).

There is a good degree of strategy. To begin a project, we must invest an amount of money and our employees must have the right level of expertise (from 1 to 6). Furthermore, we must efficiently manage our time (work weeks). For this reason, we must choose our actions carefully.

Theme

I have to admit that I was favourably biased towards the theme as it reminded me of my professional field of study : programmer analyst. The stages of completion and the types of projects were quite familiar to me.

Illustrations

The creator had discussed his vision for the game’s look with me. The end result blew me away ! There are so many thematic details ! Admiring them without a doubt increases the fun of playing the game.

Illustration showing a freelancer.

I like

  • Strong theme (mechanics and illustrations)
  • Highly detailed illustrations
  • Great flow
  • Level of difficulty : family plus

I like less

  • I don’t see why one would want to use an action to become First Player.
  • A Project card’s gain is disproportionate to the cost
  • The main board is too small to clearly recognize the actions
  • The number of game rounds is unbalanced

I wish him continued success in presenting his game and the best of luck with his campaign.

À propos de Catherine Watts Cowan

Je suis une vraie geek de jeux de société. Mon premier amour dans le monde moderne a été Carcassonne. J'adore jouer en famille (maman de deux mini-geeks de 10 et 11 ans), entre amis ou avec des étrangers. J'aime découvrir les nouveautés et les endroits ludiques. Je suis une grande passionnée qui ne manque pas de sujets à partager!

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