The game is played over 12 rounds (months) with each round made up of:
Roll & Wager Phase
Earn Envelopes Phase
Each player is dealt 2 cards (+1 for the dealer)
You have two options on your turn
You can discard a card to the Discard Pool and pass to the next player (except if you only hold 1 card)
Alternatively, you can draft a card from either your hand, the Discard Pool, or your Secret Stash
All players only draft ONE card which they place on their Calendar ready for the main phase
Roll and Wager
All 6 dice are rolled
If on an earlier round you made a bet for what results would roll, you earn 2 Envelopes and 1 Booster Buck for each correct bet. If you bet and got nothing, this may trigger some card effects.
Each player selects two of the rolled dice, multiple players can share one or both of the dice selected
For each die chosen, you have two options
You take the colour Envelope matching the dice at the dice's value (e.g. 4 Green would give a value 4 Green Envelope) and place it that far in the future, with 1 being current month (4 Green would therefore be placed 3 months in the future) this would later be the month you can actually gain the envelope
Alternatively, you can half the value and place it anywhere from current to 5 months in the future
You do NOT have to do the same thing with each dice, although you can
After everyone has placed their new Envelopes, every player gains Envelopes in the current month (which may be a mix of old ones and ones you just placed)
Envelopes of Cash: The College Football Recruiting Game
Envelopes of Cash is a Euro board game with a very American theme: college football recruiting. Players take the roles of Head Coaches at major college football programs who earn high salaries to exploit unpaid labor. To do so they must attract the most valuable high schoolers to their college teams by marshaling all the tools available to them, including the eponymous envelopes full of cash and other impermissible payments, donations from boosters, and marketing campaigns, all to maximize their Recruiting Points. The winner is the Head Coach with the most Recruiting Points at the end of the game, and the reward is victory, as well as a $1 million “retention bonus.”
Game play is driven by a card draft, in which players acquire the potential to hire new personnel, build new facilities, strengthen their program's culture, or boost their fundraising prowess, but to actually put those cards into play, the need to generate income via careful selection of 6 different colored dice, which are rolled at the start of each turn. Those dice generate the most valuable currency in the game -- Envelopes of Cash -- which are used to lure the athletes to your program. To succeed, you need to balance the benefits of your cards, which make recruiting easier, with the nuts and bolts of actually getting out there and recruiting, by sending lots of recruiting mail, traveling to visit the athletes in their home states, and most importantly, slipping them those valuable tokens of your affection in little colored envelopes.
You only have 12 months to gather as many different recruits as possible across a variety of football positions (like QB, LB, etc.), so the tension between less income now vs. more income later plays a role in shaping your strategy. Should you jump out to a quick start and get the best recruits before your opponents, or should you build up a big stash of envelopes of cash and have a major blow out month towards the end of the year. Or can you build a strategy more around your personnel and culture, turning their special abilities into a victory point engine and leave the grubby business of bribes to others?
Envelopes of Cash lets you be the head coach of a major football program, working closely with your bag men to make sure you come out on top in the race for the most recruiting points. With 120 different cards and a different mix of recruits across regions each time, the game offers high replay value, especially since there are many different ways to build a successful program that churns out points.
In the summary below, EC= Envelope of Cash and $BB or $1BB stands for "booster bucks" or a specific number of booster bucks.
The game has THREE PHASES: Card Drafting, Dice Drafting (which generates income either in the future at full value or right away at a discount), and then the Action Phase.
The ACTION PHASE lets you do as many of the possible actions as you want, as many times as you want (with one real exception and one technical exception). These are:
1) Put a Card into Play (i.e., pay the ECs needed to move a card from Calendar to Player's Tableau). You will score points equal to the Star value of the card put into play immediately.
2) Trigger a Card already in Play. (i.e., use the effect on an already-paid-for card, if it can be triggered). Note this can be done for cards that were just put into play this turn or ones in play from previous turns, if they are eligible to be triggered.
3) Trade in 3 unwanted ECs (plus $1BB) for 1 wanted EC. (Note that some cards can give discounts to lower the cost of this action)
4) Move the Recruiting Bus. This is how you move around to get Recruits. You get 3 free points of movement in Q1 (March-May), 2 free points in Q2 (June-Aug), and 1 free point in Q3 (Sep-Nov). Some cards and one Head coaches generate additional free movement. Beyond that you can pay 1EC (of any color) per additional point of movement you want in addition to any free movement. In Q4 (Dec-Feb), you get no free movement so you must use effects or pay for all movement.
5) Sign a Recruit. If you are on a space and you have the exact set of ECs that recruit wants, you can turn in those ECs and pick up the recruit and his state value token. This is how you get a big chunk of your points. You will roll a d12 (called the VMD: value modifier die) and adjust the tar value of the recruit up or down, after which you will apply any modifiers from your cards in play. Score that number of points immediately.
6) Send ECs to a recruit you cannot currently sign. You may pay $1BB and send as many of the ECs a given recruit wants to him as a pre-payment. This could be because you are too far away to reach him this turn or because you don't have the full amount he wants and prefer to pay on the installment plan. This will be available for you to pay when you are ready UNLESS someone else recruits that recruit in the meantime. Then you lose your ECs. Note you spend $1BB every month you want to send to a specific recruit, but that $1BB price lets you send as many envelopes in one shot as you want/can.
7) Place Wagers in Vegas. Discard an EC of any color. Then choose any number/color combination on the Vegas board. On the next dice roll, if that color/number combination is rolled, you win $1BB and 2ECs of the color you bet on for use in the about-to-start month. Note you can bet on the same number/color more than once in a round and you can bet on different color/number combos too. Bet on every single possibility if you want. It's just 1EC per bet and remember the color you pay does not have to match the color you choose to bet on.
8) Run a Marketing Campaign. THIS CAN ONLY BE DONE ONCE PER TURN. You turn in a number of $BBs based on the Marketing table and get a number of points. This action is more efficient if done in small increments, so for example, doing it once per turn at $1BB gets you 12 points total while doing it once at $12BB would only get you 5 points.
9) Click End Turn. You can also only do this once per turn (more obviously). This ends your turn and lets others take a turn OR starts the next round if you are the last player to go in this round. If it's February, this triggers end game scoring.
NOTE: $BB last from turn to turn but any unused ECs go poof; so generally if you have leftovers, you'll want to send them to recruits or wager them. Cards that are not put into play after six months go poof too, so a card drafted in March dies just before the card draft in September, in April dies just before October, etc. After February, all cards left on the Calendar go away. In contrast, once you put a card into play (pay for it with ECs), it lasts for the rest of the game. The Maximum cards you can ever get into play is 12, and only if you pay for every card you draft.
END GAME SCORING
Once all players play 12 months of this cycle of 3 phases, the game ends. Players then get to run one additional marketing campaign, to use up any leftover $BB. Then they:
1) Start with points earned during the game, from things like putting cards into play or signing recruits. or running marketing campaigns
2) Figure out your points earned from the two set collection tables, based on how many unique recruit positions you recruited (up to 32 points for 8) and how many recruits from the same color region (including multicolored regions as one or the other--your choice) (up to 32 points for 10). Add those.
3) Look for any cards you put into play that have the END symbol, and add in those points as well.
4) Check your private "Recruiting Board" goals and earn 15 points if you got all 5 positions, or 5 points if you didn't get all 5 but did get the first 3.
The winner is the player with the most points. Ties are broken as follows:
1) Who among the tied players has the most leftover $BB
2) Who among the tied players has the most recruits.
3) Who rolls the highest die for a tiebreaker. If necessary, repeat 3 until someone wins.
Point Value Tables:
Envelopes of Cash is designed by Andy Schwarz, with Artwork by Miah Rose Serdone and Terese "Rese" Ureta. Schwarz designed two previously published games (both diplomacy variants) called Hundred and Classical. Schwarz and Ureta are working on a new game called "Skybirds" which is a climb-the0ladder card game based on WWI aviation.