Ridere, ludere, hoc est vivere.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Two packages arrive

(c) Worthington Publishing
Used by permission

This week the postal carrier brought two packages.  One was the long-awaited and just-released Boots on the Ground (designer Sean Cooke, publisher Worthington Games), pre-ordered last fall, which I will describe in a subsequent post, once my son Liam and I have a chance to break it in.  The other new arrival was Take Stock (designer Simon Hunt, publisher Z-Man), which I bought on sale from Tanga.com and which my wife Kathy and I tried out the day it arrived.

Take Stock is an intriguing card game in which players attempt to accumulate shares and manipulate prices of the stocks of five companies.  There are four rounds of play, but we were a little constrained for time and took a while to fully understand the rules, so we only completed one round.  Players can play cards to increase the price of a stock, accumulate shares of a stock, or attempt to manipulate the market with event cards that can cause stock splits, audits, crashes, etc.  Scores at the end of each round are based on total asset value of stocks held (price times number of shares for each stock).

(c) Z-man Games
Used by permission
What seemed odd to us and took a while to understand was the round-ending trigger conditions.  A player has to run out of cards, or the price of one stock has to rise to a certain level, or the "Market Closed" card has to turn up from the event deck.  (This game-ending card is placed 11th from the bottom at the start of the game.)  Except in the last case, a player has to willingly force the end of the round.  When we played, we were preoccupied with increasing our portfolio value and so didn't try to end the round.  In retrospect, however, I can see how the goal might be to gain a reasonably significant lead against the opponent(s), then force the end of the round to lock in a leading score.

Overall the game struck us as a little odd, but we both recognize that we probably didn't fully appreciate how to play the game, so we are likely to try it again fairly soon.  It meets our criteria for "outside games on a nice day" (i.e. playable on deck furniture), so it's a good candidate as the weather improves.


  1. I'm reminded of Avalon Hill's Stock Market game.
    Never owned it, played it a few times about 30-odd years ago.
    Also, as previously mentioned, we game those things we can not realistically do in the real world, like drive a column of panzers through Minsk, which they tell me is socially unacceptable. However, one can "play" the stock market for real. For the price of the game one could probably have bought one share of
    or other stock of one's choosing, in the real world.

  2. I've always wanted to play The Stock Market Game but never had the opportunity.