Monday, October 8, 2012

Money, Money, Money! Review

  • Designed by Reiner Knizia
  • Published by Gryphon Games
  • 3-5 Players 
  • Plays in around 30 minutes
For this review, I asked my friend Rose to write her thoughts on the game.  I've played Money!, but not nearly as much as she has. Ergo, I felt she was better suited to giving a review than I was.

Give away money to try to get more money! Try to collect entire currencies for the most points.

A look inside the box.
Money is a pure card game; it comes with 69 currency cards and 5 bluff cards. The cards are sturdy and attractive; all currencies but one are close replications of actual real-world currencies (US dollars, Australian dollars, yen, pounds, Euros, etc.). The cards are a bit large, which can make holding them all difficult as your hand swells, but that is my only complaint.

Each turn, two sets of four cards are laid out. You place cards from your hand face-down to bid on the available cards. The person with the highest bid gets the first choice and exchanges the cards they bid for the set of cards they want, second highest bid gets the second choice, etc.

The goal of this is to get the most possible points. You get points by having complete/near-complete sets of currency (three 20s, three 30s, one 40, one 50, and one 60). 

All of the green currency cards
The rules for scoring are somewhat complicated. At the base, cards are worth their face value. The 20s and 30s, if you have all three, are worth an extra 100 points each, making the three 20s worth 160 points and the three 30s worth 190 points. These, plus the 40, 50, and 60, make a possible total of 500 points for a complete currency. However, if you have incomplete sets of currency, it gets more complex. If you have over 200 points in face value of the cards alone, you get the face value. If you have less than 200 in card face value, you get the face value of the cards minus 100. The bonuses for the sets of three are added in after these calculations. If the total is less than 100, the cards are worth nothing, but there is no penalty. Additionally, there are six Chinese coin cards, each of which is always worth 10 points, no matter how many of them you have.

The main interaction in Money is trying to figure out how much other people are bidding and how badly you want to beat them for a particular set of cards. Because the bids are placed face-down, all you have to go on is the number of cards placed. The actual value could range from 60 to nothing, since each player has a bluff card they can use to “pad out” their bid to make it look bigger, or pass on a given hand entirely.

International currency! The theme is the driving force of this game, and as such it works very well.

One of each type of currency card
Learning Curve
Medium. It takes a playthrough or two to get the hang of how the strategy of the game works.

Why I like Money
I like the bidding mechanism; the only other games I've played with bidding were bridge when I was a kid and Monopoly (which was actually my favorite part of Monopoly). It's complex enough that it stays interesting, and there is some skill and strategy involved, but there is a certain amount of dumb luck, which means it's not overly intellectual.

Why I don't like Money
Nice big pile of Money!
The scoring is somewhat complicated, and with the physical version, it's hard to tell which set of cards will increase your score more (there's a version for the iPod/iPhone/iPad where it tells you what a set of cards will do for your score). As I mentioned, the cards are a little big, which can get cumbersome.

Very replayable. I usually play at least three games in a row.

Money is a fun, quick game. Once you get the hang of the scoring, it's not very complicated, but it's not simple enough to get boring quickly either. I'd give it one thumbs up.

What else is like Money?
Bridge is the closest relative I can think of, but it's a fairly distant cousin on the family tree.

Want to buy Money and support BoBG?

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