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Filthy Rich, the 3-D game of capitalism is a unique game for several reasons. One, it is one of the lesser-known games of Richard Garfield, creator of Magic the Gathering. Another is that it is the only game I know of that uses a notebook with plastic card pages as its board. The name first caught my attention, but when I purchased the game and opened it up, I was quite intrigued by the concepts used.
So is Filthy Rich worth it? The short answer is that yes, its a fun, unique game. There is a good dose of luck involved, and some variants should be used, but its a very fun, interesting game. Now for my usual longer blurb
First, a short description of game play.
The notebook is opened up and put in the table in front of all the players. There are four plastic card sheets (each can hold nine cards) that overlay each other. Numbers one through nine are printed on the back cover and are visible under each card slot on the pages. The pages are also numbered one through four, with four being the first page, going backwards to one. The pages are turned so that the number one page (the last page) is showing. Each player is given $10 and is dealt five cards from a deck. Two other decks, one consisting of business signs, and another of luxuries, are placed to the side. These decks are not shuffled as players can freely look through them. One player takes his turn first, with the rest following clockwise.
On his turn, a player has the option of buying a luxury. (These cards are necessary to win the game.) Luxuries vary in price, and most have little dollar signs on them, showing their tax status. Then a player can take two actions with the cards in their hands. They can play a card, following the instructions on it, and/or they can sell a card (discarding it) to the bank for $1. If they play an action card, the instructions on it are immediately followed, and it is discarded. Action cards usually help get the player more money or hurt other players, usually causing them to lose money. The player can also play an asset card. This card has a price at the top that must be paid to put it in play. However, these cards usually provide very good benefits to the owner and stay in front of the owner for the remainder of the game (usually). An example of an asset card is Business Insurance (cost $3) Whenever a 0 is rolled on a business die, you collect $1 from the bank. The third kind of card that can be played is the most important the business cards. These cards also have a cost at the top of them that is required if they are to be played. Each business card has matching sign card(s) in the sign card deck. These card(s) are taken out and slid into slots in the notebook of the owners choosing. Some signs are made up of multiple cards, so therefore use more than one slot. If a player is putting a sign on a page that covers up part or all of a sign of another player on a lower page, they must pay a covering fee of $2 per card to that player.
After a player takes their two actions, they roll dice. First, they roll a number of 10-sided dice equal to the page number that they are currently on. Every number that is rolled is checked. If the number corresponds to a sign that is in that slot, then that business is hit. The player who owns the business checks their business card that corresponds with that business and follows the instructions for when that business is hit (usually receive money.) If a 0 is rolled on the die, however, all players must pay taxes. Each player owes taxes based on the amount of dollar signs on the cards they own (on their assets, business cards, and luxuries). If the players cannot pay the money they owe, they are out of the game! After rolling these 10-sided business dice, the player rolls a six-sided dice. On a 1-4, the player turns to the same page number. On a 5 or 6, however, the page stays the same. The player then draws 2 cards to bring their hand back up to five, and passes play to the next player.
Before their turn, and whenever taxes are due, a player may sell their businesses to get money. They receive $2 for each card of the business sign. Whenever a player is knocked out of the game, all their luxuries are auctioned off. Whenever a player gets three luxuries, they win the game!
Some comments on the game:
1). Components: The components for this game are of very high quality. The notebook is the main focus of the game, and is a good quality one, with nice artwork on it. The rules for the game are printed in the inside cover of the rulebook making it very easy to refer to the rules when playing the game. The plastic card sheets are Ultra Pro brand, which I remember well from my childhood as the ultimate card protectors. Its very easy to slip the cards in and out, with no worries about ripping the pages or cards. The cards are of fairly good quality. The sign cards have incredibly good artwork on them, and the luxury cards also have a humorous cartoon style of artwork on them. All the cards are well designed, and are easy to distinguish and read. The money that comes with the game is typical paper money that comes with many games (think Monopoly). I would rather use coins, but it doesnt really make much of a difference. The dice are nice, with the business dice being white with black numbers making them extremely easy to read. The box is square and fairly thin. It holds all the components well, and easily fits on a bookshelf. It is covered with some more nice artwork.
2). Humor: The signs are very funny. Even after multiple playings, they still elicit laughter. Businesses like Svens Swedish Tacos, with the worlds only lutefisk tacos, and Nobody Shops At Shortys You dont want it, we dont got it!. The humor is also reflected in the pictures on other cards and in some of the text.
3). Visual: The game looks really good on the table. The effect of looking through the plastic pages, and how the signs cover each other up is very nice. Mr. Garfield stated that he got the idea when in Hong Kong, looking at all the signs. I live in Korea, and it certainly is an accurate portrayal of an oriental street. The idea of rolling a die to see which businesses earn money is faintly reminiscent of Settlers of Catan, but only slightly.
4). Luck and Strategy: which brings us to luck in the game. When drawing cards and when rolling the dice, there is a lot of luck. A player can place a lot of businesses, but never have the dice rolled that give them any money. This may frustrate a lot of people, but we found the luck enjoyable. The game has such a lighthearted atmosphere that it doesnt matter too much, anyway. There is a good bit of strategy in the game, however. Choosing which businesses to play (many of them have special abilities), whether to cover up an opponent or not, which page to place your signs on, when and which luxuries to buy all these bring a good bit of strategy to the game.
5). Luxuries: The luxuries are priced at extremely variable prices. The cheapest the personal trainer - is $6, while the most expensive the space shuttle is $45. In a two or three-player game, some have complained that its too easy for one person to quickly buy up the cheaper luxuries and win the game in too quick of a time. Some have suggested a variant of taking out the cheapest luxuries from some games. I havent found it to be too big of a problem, myself.
6). Taxes: The rules seem unclear as to whether taxes are charged for every 0 rolled, or just once per turn, no matter how many 0s are rolled. Most people interpret the rules to mean the former but most people play the variant which is the latter, and I must say that it makes a big difference. Taxes can make or break a player, and are really annoying when they are rolled. They keep the game from progressing too fast, and if you played them for every 0 rolled, many players would go broke quickly and it would take away from the fun factor of the game.
7). Changing Pages: Another good variant suggested by some is that when a 6 is rolled, a player may choose which page to flip to. This reduces the luck a little, and adds a bit of strategy. I highly recommend playing with this variant. There is a swell of other variants available on the internet, and quite a few of them help make the game more fun. I would encourage you to check them all out.
8). Fun Factor: Filthy Rich is a lot of fun to play. Yes, you may play well, and still not win because of the luck involved, but everyone in our groups has a good time playing the game. The idea is so original, and the signs look so good, and the cards so humorous that the game is very enjoyable to play!
So I have to recommend Filthy Rich. Players wont leave the game, satisfied with their extremely innovative strategies but they will leave laughing about the good time they had. (Except paying taxes). If you can find this game, printed by Wizards of the Coast in 1998 I recommend you pick it up if only for the fun, innovative ideas involved.
This game has some great features! First, this is a fresh new concept. Many games (including this one) are centered around building and accumulating, but there are an overabundance of games that are simply new takes on Settlers/Monopoly. This game breaks free from the standard board game with different layers of play and, therefore, possibilities for growth. It is a refreshing break from the ordinary.
It is really quite creatively designed. The artwork is wonderful, with richly designed cards, signs, box, and board/binder. The creators also had a great sense of humor, and the board game has somewhat of a satirical take on society.
Where the game needs some improvement is in the finer points of the rules. I agree with other submissions here that the taxes become somewhat oppressive, especially near the end of the game. I would agree that taxing only visible businesses is a good variant. I would also agree that with two to three players, play is enhanced by either raising the number of luxuries needed to win or discarding the cheapest two.
Apart from these adjustments, I think it's a great game, and encourage prospective buyers to give it a chance!
The previous review indicates, in general, how the game is played. I'd like to add that with 5 players (the max) it seems to take forever. It should be a 45 minute game but we played much longer and finally just gave up.
Each business has an income and a tax. With more people the businesses fill up the various display levels quicker and you reach a point where income of a given business occurs LESS often than taxes, because a business can collect income only when it is exposed, but it ALWAYS pays taxes.
If you voluntarily close down businesses when the display becomes clogged, your taxes go down, but so does your income, while income will go up FOR THE OTHER PLAYERS whose businesses are now exposed more often. So you can't win by limiting only your own businesses.
Just a warning, for those who game in large groups. Otherwise, it's a fun game.
Is this a satire? A modern morality play? In any case, acquiring enough wealth to win is anything but easy in this insidiously alluring marketplace. Four overlapping transparent pages have nine numbered slots where purchased businesses display their signs, covering from one to four spaces. Ten-sided dice are rolled each round to determine which businesses with visible signs earn income. The appearance of one or more tens requires owners to pay taxes, selling businesses if necessary to do so. A regular die is tossed to decide which of the four pages will be on top for the next round, so signs are constantly being revealed and hidden from round to round.
The hard work of opening a business does not guarantee income, and the ever-present specter of bankruptcy, and thus elimination from play, is increased by volatile Action Cards. With minimal initial capital, paltry income, frequent and harsh taxes, and enormous patience required to reach the target, what better way to warn younger members of the family about the grim realities of owning a business? Still, it is fun trying to overcome the challenges.