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Everyone has played Monopoly, Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, Pictionary, Risk, etc. etc. Many people have played other slightly less known games like Mind Trap, Tri-Bond (another favorite), Catch Phrase, Cranium, Stare, and more. Now, everyone has played 5 and a half different versions of each game, with a slight twist in a desperate attempt by the company to make money of the same game. But, when my parents pulled this game out, I was slightly... intimidated?? Seeing as how just the name is enough to scare you into playing Scrabble, and we didn't quite understand the directions at first, I didn't know what to think. Especially considering that the game is now 32 years old, and I'm only 16. As I mentioned to my parents, that's like them playing with games from the Civil War (they didn't find that too amusing but...). But, we stuck it out, and I'm glad we did. I'm definitely a hard-core video game player (I'm taking programming classes, it's not just a little hobby), and I was impressed by this simple game. I would recommend this game to anyone with the patience to read the directions and play through only one month (just 1/12 of the game). It's not hard to do, and the strategy gets intense. Soon, you're calculating all the logical moves that your opponents can make, and even the illogical ones (my dad blew December for me by doing something extremely unexpected). If you've got a night, sit down and learn how to play this great classic, don't just play Monopoly for the 435th time.
Basically, the game has two phases.
First, you have money and buy 3 types of raw materials on the market. You are limited in how much you can buy, and must list a price you are willing to pay for them as well as the quanity.
Then you all reveal your bids and this changes the prices of the goods (lots of bids, price goes up.) If you bid too low for the new price, you're out of luck (unless using optional rules,) and you pay your bid for the product.
Second, you take your goods and write what products you want to make with them (it takes 3 units of different mixes to make the 3 products,) and how much you want to sell them for.
Then everyone reveals the goods and the price is affected by Supply (more on the market, lower price the market will pay.) If you were asking for too much, no one will buy (except with optional rules,) otherwise you hand in the materials for the products and get money.
Repeat 12 times (months) and the wealthiest player wins.
The game is ALL about judging the other players, so you can make money on the margins of deals early in the game, or hold on to goods hoping the price will climb. It's simple, easy to learn, and a lot of fun to play (or ref, just watching players moan when the bottom falls out of a market can be worth it.) The depth of the game is the fact that every decision all the players make affects everyone else, and all the bids are made secretly every turn.