Euros are better with dice!
Money! is a game with great mechanics and poor theme, which isn't surprising considering that it's designed by Reiner Knizia. The box claims Money! is a game about the world of international money changing, but it may as well have been trading reindeer, butterscotch or aliens. That is not to say Money is bad – it has one of the niftier game mechanics I've seen in a card game but it is sadly low on theme. Even so, Money is a great game for three to five players that takes about half an hour to play.
Inside the small but sturdy game box are 74 cards, consisting of seven currency sets of nine cards each, six low value generic currencies and five fake cards used for bluffing. The cards are of excellent manufacture, with clear print and lacquered rough linen surfaces.
The cards hold up well during play and even after some fifty games they still look like new.
The goal of the game is to collect sets of the same currency. As the game starts each player holds six random cards. Two sets of four cards are then dealt openly on the table. The players may then secretly bid on those sets by taking cards from their hands. Once the bids are revealed the player with the highest value of cards bid gets to exchange his bid cards for any of the available hands – either one of the two on the table or one bid by the other players. The next highest bidder then gets to choose a set of card and so on until all players have either taken one of the available sets or retracted their own bid into their hand.
Each round the two sets of cards on the table are filled up to four cards each and a new round of bidding commences.
Once the draw pile is depleted each player's hand is scored.
Cards are scored for their value – but if a player does not hold at least 200 points worth of a currency (there are 300 points in each currency) that currency's value is reduced by 100 points. Thus holding 150 points of a currency only yields 50 points, and holding only 80 points of a single currency wouldn't yield any points at all.
This being a Knizia Game there are also bonuses for collecting sets within the sets, so one may, by withholding a single card, cause quite a loss of points to an opponent.
Being portable and fast to play Money! is a great game to bring on any outing, trip or vacation. It is easy to teach and new players have a definite chance to win. At the same time it requires quite a bit of thought and counting ability, not to mention trying to guess what currencies your opponents are collecting, which makes it a medium weight game not suitable for young children or people who are tired.
Today Money! is available used for a few dollars on BBG or Ebay, and is a must for anyone who likes reasonably fast games requiring some thought.