We’re Going To Need You To Come In And Read This Review On A Saturday

Work for an evil corporation in a dead end job in the satirical Corp Borg.


For many of us, office life is an ongoing proof of the truth of Jean-Paul Satre’s infamous quote from No Exit. “Hell is other people” is easy to see when stuck in a pale cubicle with co-workers engaging in annoying behaviors like clipping toenails and cooking foul smelling dishes in the communal microwave. Designer Pawel Kicman takes this idea towards a direct conclusion with Corp Borg. What if the cruel end of the scenario portrayed in Mork Dorg and its spin-offs didn't take place in a fantasy setting but rather in the mundane confines of an office park? Kicman sent me a review copy for an annual review. Did this satirical game impress management? Let’s play to find out.

Corp Borg sets players up as employees of an Evil Corporation. Not just one that exploits workers or pollutes the world for greed but one that’s directly connected to demons trying to bring about the apocalypse. Think Wolfram & Hart from Angel or a world where the Proctor & Gamble conspiracy theory is true. The book opens with a selection of evil corporations to be at the center of the Corp Borg story. It also includes a tantalizing hook. Your corporate cogs start to have visions of the Real World. It’s a mundane world where the demonic overloads have little power but are moving to control. Perhaps if you stand up, wielding your ruby red Swingline stapler like a holy weapon, you can prevent the company from sullying this place and escape there.

I enjoyed the artwork in the game. The corporations get some slick presentations and the monster art ranges from spooky monsters to the kind of doodles an employee might make during an overly long presentation.

The classes fill familiar roles in a dungeon crawl even if they have been changed to fit the flavor of this game. My favorite example is the Helpdesker, who tends to have larger hit points (called Integrity) and combat abilities because years of fielding customer service calls has honed them into an abuse absorbing tank. Many of the classes seem to reflect the IT side of things such as splitting the difference between an engineer, a code slinging sorcerer and a graphic designer. Each character also has a small pool of Undo points which can be used for bad rolls and such. The character building tables offer some fun elements and seem to be setting up a game that starts out relatively normal and then gets weirder and weirder every day the players come to work during the ongoing apocalypse.

This feels like a strange choice as the game is at its best when players are facing off against satirical demons and HR monsters who sling paperwork that drains blood from targets. It’s hard to strike a balance between humor and playability in products like this and I don’t think Corp Borg is built for the long haul on its own. The promotion rules are very brutal. There’s a 25% chance a character gets nothing, which seems funny once and then cruel every other time it’s rolled. Players also don’t get access to the other class options as they play which seems like a good trade off in other Borg rules for the deadly nature of the game. This game is probably best suited for a once shot or two with current or former co-workers where the head demon in charge loos suspiciously like the co-worker the group calls by a mean nickname.
However, for folks looking for corporate horror inspirations, this book has a lot of interesting ideas to steal. The designer already suggests its use in CY_BORG to answer the “are demons real?” in the background of that game with a resounding yes. I can also see monsters and artifacts from this game turning up in games of Mothership or Triangle Agency. It could even prove useful to World of Darkness Storytellers as a generator for Pentex subsidiaries…or rivals.

Corp Borg is a great read for anyone who’s been stuck in a dead end corporate job and needs some bitter laughs after a long unpaid 12-hour workday. It’s most useful to GMs looking for modern day horror inspiration.

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Rob Wieland

Rob Wieland

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