Thursday, February 23, 2006

...and in THIS game, you win by getting the most money... (Fantasy Business x2, Royal Turf, Ca$h n' Gun$ x2)


Sweet, sweet greed.

How many games encourage players to amass large quantities of riches as a sign of victory? Of those, how many don't even bother with the trinkets and go for straight cash as the mark of success?


The folks here at WAGS gathered around the table for an evening of unabashed money grabbing. We bookended the evening with games of Fantasy Business, and played Knizia's Royal Turf and the brand new "Ca$h n' GunS" in between. All three were new to us, and all three revolve around accumulating cash.

First, Fantasy Business. Cool theme: Players are the merchants who sell all those magic items and weapons the characters in fantasy rpgs run around buying. Format-wise, it's a simple card game. As players build up an inventory of items to sell, each must decide how much to sell those items for. It's pretty simple if you have a monopoly because you simply charge the most the market will bear. Things get more interesting when a number of players are selling the same thing... they have to come to an agreement on the selling price before they open the market. Once negotiations are complete, players are free to set their prices at any level they want! Customers vote with their wallets... whomever set their price the HIGHEST sells NONE of their goods. Whomever sets their price the LOWEST sees a huge rush of sales and get a bonus to their income beyond the selling price. Anyone in between simply get what they've asked for. There are 10 rounds of aquiring new wares to sell/ setting prices and selling the items for profit.

Most money wins.

This game is nearly as nasty as Intrige (quite a high bar for nastiness). With the right crowd, it's a lot of fun. With the wrong crowd, it could quite easily bomb and sensitive people could get hurt. A sample hand: Luch made an offer to Kozure to trade 2 of each other's commodities so that they would both wind up with monopolies in the end. Once the deal was done, he immediately followed that with a special card which allowed him to steal Kozure's cards right back! Lying is the norm and backstabbing is the strategy. If that sounds fine by you, you'll likely enjoy the game.

I sucked at the game. I thought is was quite a bit of fun, but I sucked. In our first game, I came in dead last by a large margin. In the second game, the gap was narrower, but I was still last. I was working pretty hard to scam and screw over the other players. I was pretty successful, but as much as it was fun (for me) to keep doing this, it was far too much far too early... No one really trusted me so I had to resort to small amounts of income for far too long. Next time, I'll have to try to play more honestly and make a few significant "shafts" when they matter. Shemp, on the other hand, has this one DOWN. Although both Luch and Kozure were in the running, he won both games.

Royal Turf is the horse racing game by Reiner Knizia. There are a number of horses, everyone places bets on them and they race.

Most money wins.

The game was fun, but it felt like a less strategic version of Formula De (and I only consider Formula De to be mildly strategic). I simply could NOT identify any kind of strategy in the game beyond the initial betting (each horse has statistics and starting positions which vary, so the betting has to be adjusted accordingly). Like I said, it was enjoyable, but it just didn't feel like a Knizia at all. Well, I won't comment any further because it turns out we were playing it wrong! We were picking a horse, and THEN rolling the die. In fact, the reverse is supposed to occur. What a difference! We'll have to try it again to see how well it plays. For the record, Kozure won this one.

Last up was Ca$h n' GunS. If you've seen a "Mexican Standoff" in a Tarantino movie you'll know what to expect in this game (think the scene in Reservoir Dogs where all the characters have guns pointed at each other, and then they all pull the trigger and kill each other simultaneously). A random pile of cash is placed at the center of the table. Each player has a toy gun and simultaneously everyone chooses a target. The players who find themselves facing down the barrel of a gun need to make a decision: stay put or duck like a coward. You see, the gun MIGHT not be loaded. Each player had to choose from a hand of 8 cards at the start of the round, and 5 of those are blanks! Those who didn't flinch find out if the gun(s) pointed at them were loaded. Anyone who didn't run or get shot gets to split the cash. There are 8 rounds, and therefore each "ammo" card will eventually get used up, so the fun in the game is in trying to outguess when your opponents are likely to load their guns, and who they might point the gun at. (there are mosre details, and 2 variants we didn't play, but that's the essence of it)

Most money wins.

This is a fun, silly game if you are not offended by the theme. After every "gun pointing" Luch would chime in with the same comment: "Interesting..."

One of these two plays was my single shining moment this evening. I won! Kozure was the victor in the other.

Had a great time as usual, and my greed is satiated (for the moment)

1 comment:

  1. Oh, Easy! I, Shemp, won the other round of Ca$h N Gunz! I had a perfect game! No wounds, no cowardice tokens! Picked up cash in every round!

    Greed seems to be my thing.