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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

PCB Game Night: Acquire

The current version of Acquire
Like Monopoly but want a new challenge? Then Acquire just might be the game for you!

In the game of Acquire, designed by Sid Sackson, art by Scott Akumura and published by Wizards of the Coast, you take on the role of hotel tycoon. Various hotel chains are vying for the top spot, and you use your resources, savvy, and strategy to out maneuver the competition and take over the hotel industry!

The newer cardboard version of Acquire.
The game is sort of complicated to explain, but essentially players draw tiles which represent spaces on the game board. As they place these tiles in their proper position, hotel chains are created. Once a new chain is created (two or more connected tiles), the player can give it a name by placing a hotel chain tile on the connected game board tiles. The player can then buy stock in any hotel chain. Then play proceeds, with more spaces being filled on the board. When two chains butt up against each other, one chain takes over the other, money is paid out to the shareholders, and the chain that is removed from the board is once again available to create a new chain. Play continues until there is only one hotel chain with more than a certain number of spaces.

There are other rules as well that apply to large chains consolidating, etc.

Another of the many versions of Acquire.
This game is definitely more complex than Monopoly, if only for the math the players do to figure out how much to pay out at the end of a merger, plus the math that needs to be done when determining the value of a stock when buying it. There is also quite a bit more strategy. Choosing where to place tiles is key, and since a player at any one time has six tiles in their hand to choose from, there's a lot of planning involved as well. Not to mention the ability to benefit from another player's successes by buying stock in their chain, which can also be sold on later turns.

The concept of this game is pretty interesting, and it's easy to see why many people are such a fan of this game. One great benefit of the gameplay is that, unlike Monopoly, where at a certain point very often early on it becomes clear who will win, there are plenty of chances to come from behind in Acquire.

In this version, the stock are in
corporations, not hotels.
As for the game itself, there are a lot of different versions, the most attractive being the one with the interlocking pieces and towers to indicate the various chains. Being in the process of designing a game myself, I can see why the version I have, which uses all flat cardboard pieces, was used. It's certainly cheaper to produce, which means either more profit margin or the ability to charge less for the game. This version works pretty well, but clearly the tower version is easier to use as it is clearer who owns what chain.

It's worth noting that this game was originally published by 3M in 1962, and has changed hands to Hasbro, who moved it over to Avalon Hill (a division of Wizards of the Coast, which is also owned by Hasbro). This explains the different versions that are available.

If the idea of buying and selling stock, working out dividends, and trying to crush your opponents in real estate sounds like your idea of fun, this is the game for you!

Acquire
Wizards of the Coast
$24.95

8 out of 10 stock certificates.

Like this review? Check out Telestrations!

(edit: corrections were made to the description of the rules)

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