An interesting aspect of beta testing Office God was discovering that the occasional tester would decide to create their own gameplay rules. At first I was excited to read these bug reports, full of new ideas and ways of approaching the gameplay of Office God. “Is this some of that ’emergent gameplay’ I’ve heard about from California and New York?!”, I’d wonder. But instead of personal compliments and praise for the fun time had, the reports were full of anger and misery from the tester, accusing the game of being wrong. A player would decide that, say, an employee should be finished with her work already because “she’s been at it long enough”, and though I love the emotional investment this player has made, he has set himself up for a huge disappointment.
Eventually this style of bug report was ignored and filed under “Make the Tutorial Better and/or Find Smarter Friends.” In an effort to cut down on people imagining their own rules to the game, how about I just tell you what they are?
PART 1: YOUR INTENTIONS
STEP 1: CREATE DEPARTMENT SYNERGIES TO GET STARS
In Office God you are constantly looking to create Department Synergies by exactly matching the workload of all four department members. The five types of workload are: and . In the above GIF example, you’ll see the easiest and highest job satisfaction synergy possible: one workload for each of the four art department members. This easy synergy should be done for departments that need a bit of a break, a nice relaxing low effort synergy, everyone doing the bare minimum, but in perfect sync.
Creating a Department Synergy will earn you one star per piece of workload, multiplied by the SKILL rating of the lowest skilled member. We see Lisa Vargas in the bottom left corner receiving the one star the department earned because she is the lowest skilled, with just one skill point.
STEP 2: USE STARS TO FINISH PROJECTS FOR YOUR BOSSES
With stars earned, you can now complete these special boss projects, which pleases your two direct supervisors and advances your progress in the game. They’re easy to recognize with the green folder and giant vice-president heads on them, letting you know which boss wants it done. The boss project also displays how many stars are required. Any stars above that value are converted to character ability upgrade rewards (way to go, overachiever!).
So that’s what you’re trying to do in the game.
PART 2: ADDITIONAL SUPPORTING MOVES
But it’s not always that simple. Things get in the way of creating department synergies. The right workload folders might not come available when you need them, the employees in a department might have workloads that are far too different from each other, you might have to leave work early to pick up your kid from daycare, there’s those cooking classes you’ve been meaning to sign up for, the second language you’ve abandoned on Duolingo, the after work drinks you’re having with increasing frequency, the virus your computer probably has because it’s been so slow lately, the feeling of futility as failures pile up, your arrival at work later and later each morning, the wretched feeling in your stomach that grows each meeting, the hours spent staring out the window in envy of the landscaping crew… Suddenly you wake up in your 40s and wonder what happened to the idealistic young middle manager who loved nothing more than making department synergies.
PROBLEM: IT WOULD BE TOO MUCH EFFORT TO GET A DEPARTMENT SYNERGIZED
SOLUTION: DIRTY SYNERGY
When a department has four workloads that are too scattered to form into a department synergy, it might be time to make a “dirty synergy”, which is when the workloads don’t match exactly, but all add up to the same value. In this example, = 6, = 6, and = 6. So when a folder is given to the available employee, they all have 6, for a dirty synergy.
The downside of a dirty synergy is that you only ever earn one star for it, despite skill levels or workload amounts, and the employees also get smaller JOB SATISFACTION bonuses. It’s a synergy you don’t write home about, but you take your single star and move forward.
PROBLEM: AN EMPLOYEE NEEDS TO HAVE LESS WORKLOAD
SOLUTION: COMPLETE THEIR WORKLOAD WITH A SEVEN
Often you’ll find someone has too much workload. You need the employee to be at a lower workload than the amount they’re currently working on or they’re carrying the wrong workload and you need them to start over. The solution is to wipe out their workload by making it total 7. In the above example Lisa Vargas is in the kitchen, but don’t think that means you can’t give her some more work! She has a workload, and by giving her a , she reaches 7 total and completes her work, wiping her slate clean. Plus a little JOB SATISFACTION bonus for a job well done. She’s now ready to start over, get with the program and work toward a star-earning synergy. And I swear to god she better not screw it up this time.
In the final installment of this gameplay series, we’ll look at the treacherous office pitfalls that threaten to halt your progress. Feelings and moods, government regulation, etc.
PART 3: PITFALLS
So far we’ve covered the basics of what you’re trying to do as general manager, and some of the additional tools you’ll use along the way. Now in Part 3 we’ll examine what can go wrong.
Every employee has three stats:
- Skill, which determines how many stars a department will earn for a Department Synergy
- Accuracy, determining how often the employee will mess up your assignment
- Obedience, which affects how often the employee will reject an assignment
Yup, that’s right, a puzzle game where sometimes your moves are changed due to incompetence or flat out ignored because of a bad mood. Do they make Nobel Prizes for browser games? We’ll soon find out!
PROBLEM 1: JERKS
In the previous screenshot we see George Muir has an obedience of zero. Combined with his current Job Satisfaction this creates a JERK PROBABILITY of 43%, displayed below the character himself, anytime you’re assigning tasks. As his Job Satisfaction increases, his Jerk Probability decreases with his rising contentment, as you’d expect. Similarly, as each employee becomes less satisfied with the job, the higher their Jerk Probability becomes. Satisfied employees are productive employees.
What a jerk! That’s what happens when you roll the dice and lose. Once steaming angry like this, the employee will refuse to take on any more work until the next day or until they are assigned an item that de-jerks them. Some events and emails in the office can also de-jerk employees, so hold on to those opportunities.
PROBLEM 2: QUALITY CONTROL
Slightly less infuriating than a jerk employee is one who screws up your work. When this happens you’ll either need to conform the rest of the department to this mistake in the way that a real office often bends to the bottleneck employee, or more likely clear off the workload entirely with a 7 and start again.
That wraps up the gameplay tutorial blog series. There are certainly other non-gameplay problems and opportunities you’ll encounter in Office God, from conflicting boss directives, to impossible goals, to employee mutinies, to innumerable outside pressures. But those are best experienced on your own.