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Subject: For the Meeple, by the Meeple (For Sale) rss

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Michael Carpenter
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West Virginia
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BOX ART



For Sale offers players the opportunity to buy low, sell high.



QUICK FACTS:
Style of Game: Family, "Filler"
Play Time: 20 minutes
Theme: Real Estate
Number of Players: 3-6
Main Mechanics: Auction/Bidding and Hand Management
Components: Okay
Weight: Very Light


THEME AND MECHANISMS:
For what For Sale is, the mechanisms do a nice job of meshing with the theme. With that said, I can't honestly say that blend makes the game feel thematic. Now, keep in mind the game is very light so there isn't a huge expectation placed on the game to be thematic. The most thematic feel I ever get is silently choosing which house I would like to actually live in.


GAMEPLAY OVERVIEW:
For Sale is played in two phases: Buying Properties and Selling Properties. Each phase of the game will introduce one deck of 30 cards. The Buying Properties Phase will introduce the Properties Cards. Each of these cards will have a number (1-30) and a picture depicting a style of house/living arrangement. During the Selling Properties Phase players will use these Properties Cards but there will now also be Currency Cards, valued ($0 - $15,000, no $1,000's, 2 of each of the other values).

At the beginning of the game each player will receive a designated amount of money according to the number of players in the game. Players should then remove a number of Properties Cards and Currency Cards according to the number of players in the game. In some cases no cards will be removed. During the Buying Property Phase a number of cards equal to the number of players will be placed in the middle of the table. Players will then use their money (Coins) to bid on the cards in the middle of the table. This is done by either making a bid/raising the current bid or passing. When a player passes he or she will take the lowest Properties Card from the middle of the table. The auction for the cards in the middle of the table will continue until all players have passed and taken a card from the middle of the table. When a player passes (except for the final player who pays the full bid) he or she will take half of the bid (rounded down) they have made during the auction back to their supply of coins.

Once all Properties Cards have been auctioned off all players should have the same number of Properties Cards in front of them that they have earned during the auction. Players may also have some leftover money from the auction. Players should save this extra money to be added to their score at the end of the game. Once players are ready the Selling Properties Phase will begin. During this phase players will take a number of Currency Cards from the Currency Card Deck and place them face-up in the middle of the table. The values of the cards will various and can have a very wide range. Once all the Currency Cards are positioned players will examine the cards and then select one Properties Card from their hand and place it face-down in front of them. Once all players have chosen a Properties Card players will simultaneously reveal their choices. The player that has played the Properties Card with the highest value will then take the Currency Card of the highest value, followed by the second highest Properties Card taking the second highest Currency Card and so on until all players have taken a Currency Card. This procedure is done until all Currency Cards have been played. Now, all players should have the same number of Currency Cards and no Properties Cards in hand. Players should then total the value of their Currency Cards and add any extra money (coins) that they had left over from the first phase. The player with the most money wins the game.




ASSESSMENT


My assessment of board games is broken into three core areas: Depth of Strategy, Quality of Design, and Replayability.

Depth of Strategy

I consider For Sale to be the type of game that everyone knows the strategy that has to be implemented. You know you want to get the highest valued Properties Cards for the cheapest possible prices and you know you want to sell your Properties Cards for the most money possible. Otherwise known as "buy-low/sell-high". Obviously not everyone is going to be able to do this for every card they possess during the game, so the strategy doesn't exactly get implemented perfectly, but this is certainly the idea behind the game and the best way to win.

Normally one very obvious strategy for all players to implement is hardly stimulating but in the case of For Sale it is perfectly fine. This is partially because of the short play time, but it is also because you may know what you have to do but the limited amount of money you start with and the bidding mechanic force you to make decisions that clearly deviate from the buy-low/sell-high strategy. One oddly impressive thing about For Sale that I would never have expected when playing it for the first time is that I feel like the best player usually wins the game. There are definitely bits of randomness in the game, but I don't know that I would call very much of For Sale luck based. Everyone is given equal opportunity to win any given card and it isn't always the smartest choice to play for the highest or lowest valued card. Strategically targeting second highest valued cards can pay off in the end.

I try to avoid saying this because it seems cliche at this point but there is more to For Sale than meets the eye. Not a ton more, but it isn't just a clown around, uber light weight filler. It can be just that, but it doesn't have to be if you are looking to be competitive at the end of the night. Sometimes we will use For Sale as a "tie-breaker" of sorts at the end of an evening because it is the perfect balance of length, strategy, and ease to justify deciding a winner of any sort.

When rating the depth of strategy here I am going to have to score it low because it is low level strategy but please consider the caveat that this is high enjoyable low level strategy. My rating of 2 out of 5 is going to be slightly modified from its typical description of the value.

Depth of Strategy:
2.0 = There is one clear strategy to follow but it offers a nice addition of tactics.




Replayability

This game has a few of the obvious things people often look for when considering replayability. Decks of cards obviously randomize each play, removing some of the cards at different player counts offers intrigue and unknown variables associated with creating a level of willingness to replay a game, and the short play time lends itself to multiple plays in one sitting. However, these things are not what I consider to be the cause of this game's replayability. Where I think the high replayability lies is within the game's charming gameplay. It does exactly what a filler is supposed to do. It engages players that are interested in playing the game, it allows disengaged players to patronize the others as you wait for the real game, and it creates a feel of satisfaction when you win. I know, I know, how can such a light game offer a real sense of satisfaction when winning it? It's the way the game rewards the winner. Again, because there is one clear strategy, the player who wins usually feels like they did the best to implement the strategy. That is more satisfying to me (even in a light game) than winning a random game or winning because of a lucky event.

I hesitate to give games a 5 in replayability but I think For Sale deserves it. There is just so little to really turn your nose at in this game. There are no off-putting elements in the mechanisms or anything else that would outweigh the investment it takes to play this game. For a group to not want to play For Sale, I think they would have to have their own go-to filler that is cemented in it's place.

Replayability:
5.0 = Any group will enjoy playing this game.




Quality of Design


Auction/Bidding: I like the idea of auctions but a lot of times they can feel like they are so group dependent that they can fall flat with the wrong group of players. If players will not approach an auction competitively the auction feels bland and everyone seems to end up with something they were hoping for in the end. For Sale does not allow that. Not all players will be vying over every high-value card but there will inevitably be some competitive bidding throughout the Buying Properties Phase because the timing of each player's willingness to spend money on cards will overlap with other players regularly.

Hand Management: There is just the right amount of thought necessary for this mechanism to be enjoyable. Any less and the game would be ruined and I'm not sure there could be anymore for the weight of the game. The mechanism is perfect for the game. To make things better the Selling Property Phase repeatedly offers moments of anticipation and excitement. Simultaneously revealing cards to see who will sell their Properties Card for the most money is simply enjoyable. It is hard to deny the satisfaction you feel of selling your "13" Property for $10,000.


Quality of Design:
4 = A good design that engages the player for several plays.


FINAL THOUGHTS:
In my eyes, For Sale is a fantastic filler. I have touched on everything I would like to say about the game from a positive point of view in my assessment. Unfortunately, there is one thing that does keep the game from being rated higher for me. It is susceptible to that "Burnt-out" feel you get with a game that you play into the ground. I did not hold this against the game in the Replayability portion of my assessment because I feel if you have played a game enough to burn yourself out on it then it has proven it is replayable. That has happened to me with For Sale and yet if anyone ever asked to play it I still would, no questions asked. It is a great play for the amount of time it takes.

One thing I want to make clear about this game is that it is LIGHT. It is meant to be light and it is very good for what it is, but if you are wondering if this game will be offer you a stimulating experience, it will not. In fact, it will end before you every even consider yourself anywhere close to fully engaged in a half-way deep experience.

If you find yourself intrigued by For Sale and believe you would like it then you can feel confident that it will be a quality addition to your collection that will come in handy in almost any situation. If you have recently bought For Sale and you are enjoying it, I would suggest you pace yourself. If you have owned For Sale for awhile I think you can attest to it's worthiness in your collection and if you are like me, I think you probably find yourself considering playing For Sale from time to time just because you know it is tried and true in the filler category.

Had I reviewed this game during it's hay-day with my family I would have given it a pretty high rating. Now that it has lost it's luster with us it has not gotten off the shelf that often so the rating has to reflect that. It almost pains me not to rate it higher but I don't think it would be an accurate representation of my current opinion of the game.


Overall Rating -
For Sale is as good as it gets in the filler category but it very susceptible to burn-out.



If you enjoy my reviews please recommend and check out my geeklist For the Meeple, by the Meeple
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Péter Muhi
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How did the replayability get 5 stars when you say the game is "very susceptible to burn-out."?

I'm a little confused.
 
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Michael Carpenter
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I mentioned that in the article and I recognize that it is a little counterintuitive but I think to be burnt out on something you have to have done it a lot. Thereby proving somethings replayability. I don't think a game being susceptible to burn out is a traditional negative toward a games replayability value. Had I claimed you could play For Sale for the rest of your life but then said it is susceptible to burn out I think that would be contradictory but replayability isn't necessarily viewed as an infinite duration. If I can play For Sale close to 30-40 times I believe it has replay value, it is worth your money, and it has done it's job. The duration of that job doesn't have to be forever.

Hope that helps. Sorry if we disagree. I can see where you're coming from.

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Péter Muhi
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MariettaTennis wrote:
I mentioned that in the article and I recognize that it is a little counterintuitive but I think to be burnt out on something you have to have done it a lot. Thereby proving somethings replayability. I don't think a game being susceptible to burn out is a traditional negative toward a games replayability value. (...)

Ah, that kinda makes sense now, thanks for explaining.
 
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Michael Carpenter
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West Virginia
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Mohasz wrote:
MariettaTennis wrote:
I mentioned that in the article and I recognize that it is a little counterintuitive but I think to be burnt out on something you have to have done it a lot. Thereby proving somethings replayability. I don't think a game being susceptible to burn out is a traditional negative toward a games replayability value. (...)

Ah, that kinda makes sense now, thanks for explaining.



Not a problem. Like I said, I can understand it a little strange. Thanks for reading!!
 
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