If you're looking for something to get you started in board gaming, or for a must-have, staple game to add to your collection, For Sale is what you want. Many members here at BGG rave about what a great filler game or introductory game is it and they're correct. Even if you aren't into Euro-games, this game will become a classic game to have.
Theme and Object of the Game
For Sale is a game of real estate but it's much more fun than it sounds. The game is essentially a card game and an auction game in one. In fact, the game is split into 2 distinct phases that make For Sale feel like two different auction games. The first being a true auction game and the second being a blind auction. There's also the feel of a trick-taking game similar to Hearts.
Everything about this game, from the cards and tokens to the box it comes in are top notch. The rulebook is also very easy to understand and the rules are intuitive. The game consists of two decks of cards, 30 property cards and 30 check cards, which are high quality with a satin finish. There are also money tokens that are made of die-cut thick cardboard that also have a satin finish. The box has an insert to store everything nicely so there's no wasted set-up time sorting out components.
The artwork on the property cards is superb. In fact, I have just as much fun looking at the cards as I do playing the game. I'd have to say that these cards are the best I've seen in a game and really add to it's appeal. Each property card depicts a 'house' of some sort and a number to go with it. The higher number on the card, the more valuable the property is. So, the 1 card shows a cardboard box, while the 30 card shows a space station. The check cards represent checks ranking from 2 to 15 with two of each value and 2 VOID checks. The money tokens come in two values, 1,000 and 2,000 and also have nice artwork on them despite their small size.
Each player starts the game with a number of money tokens depending on the number of players. Also, depending on the number of players, a certain amount of cards are removed from each deck. This adds a nice feature because there will then be certain cards that will never be in play and players can't anticipate every value coming up throughout the game.
Next, one property card is turned face up on the table for every player. These are the cards that the players will bid on. Starting with the first player, he will bid on the right to choose the highest valued cards amongst those on the table. The starting player may bid any amount of money tokens from what he has, or he may choose to pass. If he passes, he takes the lowest valued card from those on the table. If he bids, the next player in clockwise order may choose to bid a higher amount, or pass (taking the lowest valued card instead). Play contines around the table with each player either bidding a higher amount that the previous player or passing. If a player passes after having earlier bidding money tokens in that round, he receives back HALF of the tokens he bid (rounded down) and pays the rest to the bank. (He then takes the lowest valued card on the table.) When all the players but one have passed, the current high bidder pays the full amount to the bank. Then, a new round begins with new cards being turned face up on the table. These bidding rounds continue until all property cards have been auctioned. In this way, every player will recieve one property card each round, and each player will have the same number of property cards.
Now, the game moves into the second phase and a new series of auctions will take place. But now, instead of bidding with money tokens, they will bid blindly using the property cards in their hands. Check cards are turned face up in a similar manner as in the previous phase, but players now bid simultaneously by placing a property card of their choice face down in front of them. When they are all revealed, the player who placed the highest valued property recieved the highest valued check, while the lowest valued check goes to the player with the lowest valued property, and so on. These blind auction rounds continue until all the checks are divied out. The winner is the player who has the highest total check values as well as any money tokens left from the first phase.
For Sale is simple, but it's by no means a shallow game. Success is all about obtaining the most value and giving up the least for it. If you don't own For Sale, you should. I think the best testament to For Sale is how many people have commented that everyone they've played with has enjoyed this game, gamers and non-gamers alike. Heck, my mother even likes this game.
Great review. I was sitting on the fence with this one. But I think I'm gonna make the purchase. Thanks. I've been looking for a lighter game but one that will still satisfy my tastes as well as the tastes of those in my gamming group.