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Subject: The Nickel Tour of Acquire rss

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Chad Hensley
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Rio Rancho
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FoyerThe Essential Details

Acquire is a game for 2-6 players (a 2-player variant is available in the original 3M games editions and through posters on BGG) of ages 12 and up. It plays out nicely in 90 minutes or less and has been available since 1964. Please join us on a tour of this amazing game with your tour guide as he shares some basic information as well as his personal thoughts.


Kitchen The Ingredients

As with many games that have stuck around for so long, Acquire has been reprinted many times with many changes to the bits and pieces. For our purposes we will approach three particular versions of this game.

The original game came with a clear plastic board with a cardboard piece labeling each square placed behind it, this was quickly changed to an all plastic board as the cardboard had a tendency to warp. The playing tiles were made of standard black plastic and the hotels were the same shape and size but in the colors represented by each hotel. Stocks and player aids were printed on a heavy cardstock and paper money was also included. The rules in these early editions were even printed on the box lid itself.

The next notable version was the 1999 Avalon Hill release, which greatly increased the overall board with a molded plastic playing board. Perhaps the most exciting change was that the hotel pieces were improved to individually molded plastic buildings, while the tiles were changed to gray, making it a little easier to tell what had been played. The stocks and player aids were printed as actual cards with nicely rounded corners.

The final version we will look at today is the 2008 Hasbro version. In an attempt to save on production cost the board was changed to the standard cardboard, which is folded in two to fit in the box, that we find in most games. The tiles themselves were changed to cardboard and the beautiful molded plastic hotels were changed to cardboard the size of two tile pieces. Two nice things did come out of this version as tile stands were provided and the hotel stocks took on a more stock-like appearance.


Parlor The Gameplay Overview

The gameplay of Acquire is actually very simple. You begin with six tiles and on your turn you place one of those tiles on the board in it’s assigned spot. If two tiles are placed next to each other they form a Hotel. You may choose from any available hotel, noting that there are three level of hotel stock values based on how many tiles that hotel covers, and gain one free stock for that hotel. You then may choose to buy up to three stocks total from the hotels that are currently represented on the board. Finally you draw to replace the tile you used.

The key to this game happens when two hotels connect. This is called a merger and is where you gain additional income to invest in more stock. The smaller hotel is consumed by the larger. Those who control stock in the smaller hotel count up their total stock and the top two players are awarded a Majority and Minority bonus respectively, Then all players controlling stock in that hotel are given a choice as to what to do with the remaining stock, they can trade into the larger company at a ratio of 2:1, sell their stock at the pre-merger value, or hold onto it for a future turn that might see the return of the hotel. Obviously the players may choose to do a mixture of these three if they desire.

Once a hotel surpasses 11 it is safe and can no longer be merged into a larger hotel. The game ends when all hotels are safe of one hotel reaches 41, and someone declares the game over when placing a new tile.


Study Additional Notes and Conclusion

Acquire is a game that has a faithful following and promises to be around for many years to come. Every game plays out so differently and while some luck is involved by what tiles you draw, it is quickly mitigated by your choices in what hotels to create and what stock, if any, to buy each turn. Strategies change greatly between groups and sometimes even between games with the same group.

The fans differ as much as the bits in the different versions of the game. There are those who will only play the original 3M versions of the game, while others prefer the molded plastic of the 1999 Avalon Hill version, both of which I will happily play myself. Almost all fans will agree that the 2008 Hasbro version is an abomination. I personally have never even seen any of the other versions of this game that have been printed over the years, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there aren’t a few hardcore fans of these versions as well.

For me personally it will always remain in my top ten games. I was introduced to this game while in college and would spend hours playing it in my dorm. My strategies were cutthroat and I definitely made friends and enemies over the years. It has been accused of being too mathy but in the end aren’t most games.



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Susan Tilman
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Pennsylvania
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Classic game that I have been playing for decades and it never gets old.
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Etien
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Thibodaux
Louisiana
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My version as printed on the bottom of the box is Avalon Hill 1995. It comes with the two-piece folding mounted board, playing card size hard stock cardboard stock certificates, and 1 3/8" cardboard markers. [No copyright exists on the playing board itself nor on the rules booklet, just on the bottom of the box as pictured above.]
 
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