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Subject: The Game of 49: A Review rss

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Kristen McCarty
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While the mechanisms of The Game of 49 are familiar, the combination has created a unique game. To win you must place four chips in a row, like Connect Four. Each turn is a bit like bingo, where a number is announced to the players. The rules are straightforward and easy to learn and the game is a lot of fun to play.

Components / Set Up

The Game of 49 is a compact game and won’t need a large table to pay. The board is small but nice quality, the numbers are large enough to see. There are also 60 number cards for all numbers 1-49 as well as four types of wild cards. There are wild cards for numbers 1-24, 25-40, 41-48, and 49 (the center number). There is a starting token that is given to the first player and an auction token to show the current auction number. There are also clear plastic chips in five colors. Paper money is included and is in denominations of $1, $5, $10, and $20. There is also a card tray and money tray for those who want to use them.



To set up the game, place the board in the middle of the table. The number cards should be shuffled and placed face down on the table. Give the first player the start player token and the current auction token. Place the money within reach of all players. Give each player 49 dollars. A player’s money should be kept secret from the others.

Game Play

To start the game, the start player should draw the top card of the deck and display it so that all the players can see it. They should then place the auction token on the space on the board that matches the number. The start player then starts with a bid or passes. Each card has a minimum bid and players can agree to play with the minimum bid shown on the card or have only a $1 minimum bid.



If the first player passes the next player can either choose to bid or pass. The other players then decide to raise the bid or pass. If all players pass, discard the card and play the next card. Once a player has passed, they may not bid later in that same round. If a player has bid on the card the auction continues, with each player raising or passing. Once all players but one have passed the winner pays the auction amount and places one of their chips on the number. They then place the card in front of them to show the numbers they control.

After the bid, the start player token is passed to the next player and the auction begins with the next number.

Players cannot bid more money than they have, but if a player wins an auction and accidently bids more money then they have a second auction is held and all players can participate. The player who bid too much must remove one of their chips from the board, however. They do this randomly by gathering their cards and selecting one at random.



Wild / Playoff Cards – When a wild / payoff card is drawn, players first have an auction for the card and then there will be a payoff. These cards show a different number range and if a player wins a bid for the wild card they can place their chip on any number in that number range. Do not place the auction token on the board on a wild card auction.

There are five Wild 49s in the deck, and this is a unique wild card. To put a chip on 49, the center space, the player needs to win the auction for 49. But winning this bid does not guarantee that the player will control 49 for the rest of the game. When a player wins the bid for 49 and the space is empty they place their chip on the space, if it has another players chip, that chip is removed, and the new winner places their token. If the player already controls the 49 and they win another wild 49 bid, the player keeps the 49 space and can put another chip anywhere on the board.



After a wild card auction the players now may receive a payoff. For each chip a player has on the board, they receive $7 with a maximum payoff of 49 dollars even if they have more than seven chips. The player does not receive a payoff if they do not have chips on the board. Also, even if the wild card is discarded because all the players pass, they still receive the payoff.

Wild cards may also create situations in which a number card that is drawn is already covered by a chip. If this happens, the card is discarded, and a new card is drawn. If it is a wild and all the spaces shown are covered, discard this card as well (but the players still receive a payoff).



Check Rule – There is an optional check rule players can use if they wish. The first player may say, “check” instead of making an opening bid or passing so they may still bid later on in the auction. The other player may also now pass, bid or check. If all players check or pass the card is discarded, payoffs are still paid.

Winning / Game End

Once a player places four chips in a row (horizontally, vertically, diagonally), with no spaces in between, they win the game. If it is a five-player game, three in a row wins. If all the cards in the deck have been played, and no player has four in a row the player with the most chips on the board wins. If there is a tie, the player with the most money wins.



Two Player Rules - The rules for a two-player game are a bit different than the three to five player games. In a two-player game, the minimum bid is not optional and payoffs work a bit differently. If players have 1-7 chips on the board they still receive 7 dollars per chip. When they have eight they only get $42, $35 for 9 chips, and $28 for 10 or more chips.



My Thoughts

Components


The design and components of The Game of 49 are well done. I could do without the paper money, but this does keep the cost to a minimum and at least the money is colorful. I would prefer cardboard chips. We used poker chips instead of the money. The card quality is good, and the design is clear. The numbers on the cards are large enough to be read across the table, and the wild cards have clear representation of the number range. I like that each square of numbers has a slightly different color shade. The board is small but large enough to fit all the chips. Ours was a bit warped but not enough to interfere with the game. For the price point, the components are outstanding.

What is missing is an easy way for players to keep their money secret. We used screens from another game; players may get tired of hiding their money.

The artwork and graphic design is minimal, but everything is very colorful and clear. The cover of the box and rulebook will be perfect for when this is on store shelves.



Rulebook

The rulebook is well done and easy to read. The book begins with a nice component list with pictures and a clear picture and description of the set-up of the game. The rules are in a logical and precise order. There are also highlights on the side for explaining different rules to highlight what you need to remember. For example, there is a highlight of the wild 49 rule. There is not a summary on the back, but the rules are so simple and easy to remember that it isn’t as necessary as with other games, a reminder of the payoff rules would have been useful, though.

Game Play

Auctions have never been a favorite mechanism of ours. It is surprising that we enjoyed The Game of 49. Auctions are difficult to pull off with two players. The Game of 49 comes with rules for two players. The two player rules make the game playable with two without adding complexity, but it is still much better with three or more players.

The rules of The Game of 49 are simple, and the game can be taught in a few minutes. The complexity of the game comes not from the mechanisms but from the decisions. There are not a lot of parts; only one card is bid on each turn. The complexity of the game comes from the decisions and the planning of the player. There are a lot of meaningful choices to make through the game. Players may want to block an opponent from getting a space they need or may choose to save their money for a more valuable space. They need to know how much they are willing to pay for a space and will they give it up to keep their money. The more players that are in the game, the more decisions the player will need to make. But the more players there are the easier it is to block others from winning. Wilds are also an excellent way to get that number you need. Because there will be a payoff after the auction it is an interesting way to keep the money flowing and the game progressing. It might also tempt players to get chips out early so they will be sure to be paid.



Overall

The Game of 49 is an easy gateway game whose simple rule set and fun game play will appeal to many types of players. The meaningful choices, decisions and strategy needed to win the game will also appeal to more experienced gamers.

Positives

- Fun, quick game play, easy rules
- Graphic Design is colorful
- Meaningful decisions each turn
- Teaches math skills to younger players

Concerns

- Not color blind friendly
- Luck of card draw
- Paper Money



Quick Stats

Designers: Mark Corsey
Artists: Not Credited
Publishers: Breaking Games, Markee Games
Players: 2-5
Game Length: 30 minutes
Ages: 10 and up

I received a review copy of this game


Picture Credits: Dan King (The Game Boy Geek)(dkingnu)

Check out more of my reviews:A Game Built for Two (and sometimes more) Game Reviews
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Andy Andersen
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Great review. I've been on the fence about this one for a long time and as we always play with 2, I may continue to be stuck.
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Kristen McCarty
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If you played with more players, I would definitely recommend it, but it was just okay with two. The rules does help keep it tight, but the auctions work best when there are more players to counteract each other.
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David Luchetti
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Orangemoose wrote:
Great review. I've been on the fence about this one for a long time and as we always play with 2, I may continue to be stuck.

If you're looking for an auction game that works well with 2 I'd recommend Biblios

Or maybe Fleet though I'm not as familiar with Fleet as a 2-player game
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David B
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telos81 wrote:
Orangemoose wrote:
Great review. I've been on the fence about this one for a long time and as we always play with 2, I may continue to be stuck.

If you're looking for an auction game that works well with 2 I'd recommend Biblios

Or maybe Fleet though I'm not as familiar with Fleet as a 2-player game



Fleet is decent with 2. It uses a dummy third bidder to drive up the bids. The method it uses is a bit random but it works. Biblios is better with two, though, than Fleet is. Another auction game that works really well with 2 with no rule changes is Palazzo.
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Clint Smith
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telos81 wrote:
Orangemoose wrote:
Great review. I've been on the fence about this one for a long time and as we always play with 2, I may continue to be stuck.

If you're looking for an auction game that works well with 2 I'd recommend Biblios

Or maybe Fleet though I'm not as familiar with Fleet as a 2-player game


Jaipur is a great auction game for 2 as well.
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David B
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Oreot wrote:
telos81 wrote:
Orangemoose wrote:
Great review. I've been on the fence about this one for a long time and as we always play with 2, I may continue to be stuck.

If you're looking for an auction game that works well with 2 I'd recommend Biblios

Or maybe Fleet though I'm not as familiar with Fleet as a 2-player game


Jaipur is a great auction game for 2 as well.


Except Jaipur is not an auction game.
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David Luchetti
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pfctsqr wrote:
Oreot wrote:
telos81 wrote:
Orangemoose wrote:
Great review. I've been on the fence about this one for a long time and as we always play with 2, I may continue to be stuck.

If you're looking for an auction game that works well with 2 I'd recommend Biblios

Or maybe Fleet though I'm not as familiar with Fleet as a 2-player game


Jaipur is a great auction game for 2 as well.


Except Jaipur is not an auction game.
i agree, not an auction game. I'd call it set collection. Very good 2-player game though
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Matt Lowder
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Damn good review. Well-written and clear. One of the better reviewers I've seen here. Cheers.
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