a remake of Combit
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Buy low, sell high! Making money is the name of the game in this high stakes duel for dollars. Compete against your opponent to turn the biggest profit by strategically buying and selling stock cards. Buy cards at face value and then sell them in pairs for the greatest possible return, all while preventing your opponent from doing the same. Accumulate the most cash and you're in the money!
Ka-ching! is super easy to learn, plays quickly and yet offers endless opportunities for strategic challenge. It's also the first card game Gamewright has published that emphasizes multiplication as a skill. There are many subtle strategies that you will learn as you play, but here’s a quick hint: try to force your opponent into buying a card in order to uncover one that you need.
This is a great 2-player game for when you want something short with a little meat. Ka-Ching is heavier than it might appear at first. It requires thinking and decision-making to try to keep your opponent from getting the best cards. This would also be a great game for older kids, since it requires simple multiplication.
Over the years, my Attention Deficit Disorder has gotten worse, especially since I am no longer medicated for it. This means that my tolerance for lengthy games -- even ones I love, like Settlers of Catan, or Acquire -- has suffered.
I have always loved short games, but now they're almost a necessity. I rely heavily on perennial faves like Mastermind, Pass the Pigs, Set, and Mafia. But Ka-ching is a fantastic new example of a short game that is simple enough to explain to anybody in no time at all, yet challenging enough for adults, with gameplay complex enough to provide endless variation and repeat playability.
Gamewright has impressed me with getting their games into the larger market – I’ve seen it at stores such as Target. The reason for this is probably multifold, but I’m sure that it’s partly because their games are simple and easy – ones that can be taught to a large variety of people with a degree of success. However, this has the effect of gamers usually ignoring or scoffing at their games – because of their fluffiness. I recently received a pile of Gamewright games and was smiling, as I went through them, marking them as children’s games or party games.
And then I came across Ka-ching! (Gamewright, 2007 - Klaus Palesch and Horst-Rainer Rösner), which is a remake of Combit by Winning Moves. The name was fun to say, but the rules made it sound like it might be a clever little two-player game, so it was one of the first that I tried. And I played it again, and again – amazed at how this two-player game was so much fun! Ka-ching is a game in which both players have perfect information and must buy and sell cards with expert timing, making sure that they do not allow their opponent to get a winning combination. Taking only fifteen minutes, Ka-ching is one of the most satisfying two-player games I’ve played in a long time – and has a remarkable appeal in its presentation and game play.
Each player is given $20 in money cards, with the remainder of the money cards (in $10, $5, $2, and $1 denominations) placed in sorted piles on the table. A deck of thirty-five stock cards is shuffled, composed of five colors (purple – computers, yellow – oil, green – technology, red-agriculture, and blue – science), each with a numerical value (2,2,3,3,4,5,6). These cards are dealt in five face-up columns, each with seven cards that are laid down so that they overlap. The card that has no card overlapping it is known as the “last card” in each column. Players are given a face up wild card with a value of “2”, and the player who recently got paid starts the game.
On a player’s turn, they have one simple choice. They can either buy the last card in any of the columns, paying an amount equal to the value of the card; or they can sell two cards of the same color, discarding both cards. When selling, the two cards are multiplied times each other to find the total amount. (i.e. I sell a “4” and “5” purple, receiving twenty dollars). Players can use their wild card once during the game, and all cards that are bought and sold are left face up.
The game continues until there are only two columns left in play. When this happens, each player gets one turn to sell one last pair of cards, and then the game ends – with the player who has the highest amount of money winning. Players can decide to play to a certain amount of points or rounds if they wish.
Some comments on the game…
I’m not claiming that Ka-ching is a strategic milestone, but it does contain a lot more tactics than initially meets the eye, and it’s fun and simple. It’s one of the best two-player games that I’ve played in a while, and one that I would recommend highly to those seeking to get a “non-gamer” to play a game. It’s fast, easy, and has high replayability due to the random initial setup. Ka-ching is one of the best games Gamewright has put out.
“Real men play board games”
Ka-Ching is Gamewright's latest entry in their series of deceptively simple card games (Loot, Gold Digger, and great new Three of a Crime). The beauty of these games is how amazingly simple they are to learn, and how they perfectly balance luck and strategy, making them accessible to first time players and giving replay value to experienced players. The box to Ka-Ching states that it is solely a two player game (I suspect to put it in league with the Lost Cities and Balloon Cups of card games), but I have played it with three and it worked well, if a bit differently. I also see no reason why it shouldn't work with four players, too.
Setting up the game is simple, and consists of laying out five rows of seven over lapping stock cards of different colors, and separating the money cards into their own stacks of 1, 2, 5, and 10 dollars. Each player receives 20 dollars worth of money cards, and the game begins.
On each turn, a player must take one of two options. He may either buy any of the unobstructed cards from one of the 5 columns (paying the face value of 2-6 for it), or he may choose to sell cards. Just like in solitaire, buying an unobstructed card will 'free up' the card beneath it, making it available for purchase on any players consequent turn. If a player has two cards of the same color, he may choose to sell those cards by multiplying the face value on each of the two cards, taking that amount from the bank, and then discarding those cards. So, if I had a purple 6 and a purple 3, I would discard both cards and receive 18 dollars. The game is over when all but two of the columns have been entirely bought out, at which point each player receives on more turn, and the game ends. The player with the most money wins the game (duh).
The component quality is typical for a GW game; the art is nice and cartoony and the card stock is of high quality.
On a final note, I would like to add that one of the most enjoyable things about this game is how easy it is to create your own variants, such as playing with all but the free cards face down, or playing with every other card face down and charging a flat price of $3 for each face down card (so you might get a bargain, and you might get ripped off). These variants alter the amount of skill, the type of strategy, and the role of luck nicely, and you can change the game to suit your mood and the participating players tastes.