Monday, October 22, 2012

Flip Men - A For Sale Review

For Sale

  • Designed by Stefan Dorra
  • Published by Uberplay in 1997, more recently by Gryphon Games which is the version I have.
  • For 3-6 players, I recommend 4+. 3 works, but lacks some of the dynamics in bidding.
  • Plays in 15-20 minutes.

For Sale is the 4th game in the Gryphon Bookshelf line, and a relatively fast filler game.  The point of the game is to bid on properties, and then use those properties to cash in on checks later in the game.  It's a game of buy low, sell high, and a neat game for a 15-20 minute play time.

Inside the box - baggie not included
For Sale isn't going to wow anyone with its components.  There are 60 cards and a slew of money tokens in the game.  That's it.  Now, the artwork on the cards is rather amusing.  The "1" value property is a cardboard box, or as my group likes to call it, "The Philosophy/English major's home."  The "30" is a space station.  Other cards include a lighthouse, a doghouse, a teepee, a tree house, and an outhouse.  

For Sale is played through 2 distinct phases.  In the first phase, players bid on properties.  One property per player is flipped up, and the start player makes a bid.  The next player can outbid them or pass.  When someone passes, they pay half their bid and then take the lowest valued property.  When it's down to the last person, they pay their full bid and get the highest property.  After all the properties have been auctioned off, players then sell properties for cash.  Once again, one check is turned up for each player in the game, but this time, players secretly select a property from their hand.  Players then take the check corresponding to their place in the property numbers, high number gets the high check and so on.  After all the checks are gone, the player with the most money wins.
Money tokens used for bidding

Anytime bidding occurs in a game, there is player interaction.  It's the old game of figuring out your top price, someone else's top price, and balancing that against what something is worth.  There is the question of when to outbid someone, and when to pass, but it isn't the most interactive of choices.  There's really nothing you can do to another player, besides outbid them, that messes with their plan.

Some of the housing options
Buying and selling houses isn't exactly the most engaging theme in the world, but it works really well for this game.  Sure, you're really just focused on the numbers, but the variety of houses is great.  That part really appeals to non-gamers.  They understand buying and selling houses.  Kids also get a kick out of it, though they may make odd choices just so they get certain properties rather than the numbers.  I do like the theme, I think it fits the game well.

Learning Curve
Short, very short.  Teach the game in 2 phases.  Seriously.  Just explain the bidding phase, and when that's done, explain the checks.  I can teach For Sale in under 2 minutes, probably under 1 if I had to.  It's really accessible, the game makes sense right away.  There is some strategy in the check phase, but that's not as important in a short game.

Why I like For Sale
This is one of those few games that I can truly play with anyone.  It's not overly complex, so it doesn't turn people off.  The artwork is great, the gameplay is solid.  The player range is also great, not many fillers go up to 6 players.

Why I don't like For Sale
Properties matched with checks
I've really had a hard time coming up with something I don't like about For Sale.  There is luck in the game, sometimes to frustrating levels, but some of that is self inflicted.  You can sell the "1" for $5,000, and the "15" for 0, it just depends on the round and what other players decide to bid.  Sometimes the game feels too short.  Most of the time, I don't have a good idea about who's winning.  Still, I'm nitpicking.  

Amazing replayability here.  Because cards come up in different groups, there's always something new to figure out.  Sure, you're always using the same 30 houses and the same 30 checks, but it's the combinations that make it different.  I've played 19 times so far, and I'm up to play it basically any time someone else wants to.

For Sale gets a big two thumbs up from me.  I can play it with anyone, I can play it at anytime.  It's short, it's simple.  Essentially, it's everything I look for in a filler game.  I highly recommend For Sale for anyone who's looking for a filler game or a quick family game.

Want to buy For Sale and support and BoBG?

No comments:

Post a Comment