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Bankruptcy: The Card Game
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Insider Trading, Outsourcing, Cooking the Books. Who said CEOs should have all the fun of running a company into the ground?
Now, with Bankruptcy: The Card Game, you and your friends can join in the fun! This fast paced game pits 2-6 players in a game of one-upmanship and dirty deals to see who can be the first to declare Bankruptcy!
- 110 cards
Average Rating: 2 in 1 review
The concept in Bankruptcy (Tangent Games, 2007 - Geoff Habiger & Jim Gower) is that players are attempting to declare bankruptcy by liquidating their stock in the "SuperMegaBig Company". While the concept is funny, it's nothing new; as I was laughing at the same "get poor" idea in Go For Broke as a child. Still, stock games tend to suck me in; and so I was interested in giving this one a chance, especially with the reverse theming.
Well, the deal is this: Bankruptcy is simply an "Uno" style game, in which players are simply trying to get rid of all the cards in their hand. This is accomplished by playing a few different types of cards, to help yourself and hurt other players. There is a huge amount of luck, which is slightly countered by the very short playing time. I've had piles of kids play through it and have a laughing time, but it's entirely too light for adults. This, combined with a poor graphic design makes me give it a negative vote, although I will acknowledge the speed, humor, and ease of the game.
A deck of 110 cards is shuffled, and seven are dealt to each player. The rest are placed in a draw pile, and one player is chosen to go first. Fifty cards in the deck are share cards - and denote 1 to ten shares in the company. These cards cannot be played by themselves. Instead, a player may play one of the following types of cards:
- Bear: A good market, hooray! These cards cause good fortune for another player or your choice, causing them to draw two to four cards from the deck. Likely they will give you a glare in exchange for their shares doing well.
- Bull: These cards are numbered from "4" to "20". The cause "misfortune", allowing a player to discard up to that many shares from the company, may be multiple cards. A player may not play a Bull card if they have no shares.
- Special Card: These cards allow a variety of things, such as causing everyone to draw a card, or switch hands with another player, or give half of your cards to someone else.
If a player cannot play a card, they must draw one and end their turn. Play passes to the next player, and the game continues until one player is out of cards. They then can declare Bankruptcy and win the game!
Some comments on the game...
- Components: The cards are fine quality, although they used the
"cut the deck in half and slide it in a box" annoying format. My main
problem is with the design of the cards. There is one piece of
artwork used in the game - it's on the box cover and back of the
cards. This same picture is cut up and stretched out on the Bull and
Bear cards, which looks slightly odd. (Were they going for haunted
looking faces?) However, the special cards are made to look like a
newspaper, with the actual directions of the cards mixed in with a ton
of non-necessary text. I like flavor and theme, but the quotes are
often boring and don't match the text on the cards. The game could
look better - this, I think, will be a big drawback for the game.
- Rules: The rules are two pages of very clear rules, explaining
exactly how to play the game, with a complete example of play! This
may be unnecessary; but it's helpful to new players, and I can't
complain about too much explanation! The game takes about two minutes
to teach, and even younger children will pick up on it!
- Theme: Does the game teach one about the stock market? Well,
perhaps, if you read the random quotes on the cards, but likely not.
Sure, I was able to explain to some students what a "Bear" and "Bull"
market meant, but that's about it. Other than that, they will learn
about playing bad cards on other players and good cards on themselves.
- Strategy: Oddly enough, there are some interesting decisions in
the game - mostly with the Bear cards. The Bull cards are simple -
play them on the player with the fewest cards, or on yourself if you
desperately need a card. The Bear cards are trickier. If you have
several of them in your hand, it's not a wise idea to use one to get
rid of a pile of share cards, because you'll need at least one for
each Bear Card. There are a lot of Bear cards in the deck, so players
can expect to get piles of them each game. But don't expect anything
else; players will usually just play the cards they have. And even if
you have strategy planned, it's likely someone will exchange their
hand for yours or give you four cards.
- Time and Fun Factor: If this game was five minutes longer, I
would hate it. But since it takes around five to ten minutes to play
(unlike Uno marathons), I can stand it. Kids especially will have a
lot of fun chucking cards. But even with them, it's merely something
to play while waiting for the "really" fun game.
The problem with Bankruptcy: the Card Game is that it just doesn't offer anything unique or different from other games - from a lackluster presentation to rather derivative mechanics. It's not the next Uno (a game it will likely often be compared to), but it won't completely disappoint. So I would tell folks who already own the game - play it, you might enjoy it! But if you haven't heard of the game before, then pass it by - there are both better card games and better stock games. This will amuse you for twenty minutes, but it's quite forgettable.
"Real men play board games"