There's no easy answer. So what's Make-a-Million all about? Well, in short, MaM is a trick-taking game where the object of the game is for partners to take tricks with dollar values and, as a team, get up to a total of one million dollars--evil laugh, evil laugh.
Now as with all of my review and session posts, I will play on the lyrics of a certain song throughout. If you think you know it, let me know, and I will provide the first person who responds correctly with a small tip and I haven't met a Geek who didn't like Gold yet.
You took his number. So the whole trick-taking thing seems really basic, right? Well, MaM adds a few elements which make the game interesting.
Interspersed with the Money Cards are Number Cards. So a run of one particular color or suit of cards (there are four: black, red, yellow, and green) appears in the following manner arranged according to their strength from lowest to highest:
1; 2; 3; 4; $5,000; 7; 8; 9; $10,000; 11; $15,000; $30,000; and $40,000.
Still you gotta make up your mind. The Money Cards are a nice addition to the standard Number Cards in the game, although the arrangement is sometimes difficult for beginners. For example, since the Money Cards list the dollar amounts in the thousands, they sometimes prompt confusion. After all, doesn't 5,000 beat 7? Well, no, because in this game the $5,000 card functions like a 5 rather than a 5000.
Although I like this "unique" melange of Money and Number cards, it seems familiar to me. Does anyone know of other trick-taking games where this occurs?
Someone's gonna cry. MaM may be played by as many as six or eight players, but a standard game includes four persons where partners sit across from one another. (Partners may not communicate/strategize with one another while playing cards.) And may I please ask here why the heck not?!?
Warning: Random Rant. I mean, what is the point of having a "partner" in a game if you can't even communicate with said partner? No, it must be much funner to see players squeal and chew their fingernails across the table from one another as the foolishly plays a high card on a weak trick. C'mon, not even a little sign language?
Does anyone else see the value in this? How about baseball style signals across the table from one another? One could use this new form of communication as valuable Wife-Teach.
- "Here, Honey, I'm gonna show you these hand signals to use during Make-a-Million that just happen to correspond with the rules of football." I will keep dreaming!
So everyone plays tricks with the intent of winning dollars which add to the team's pursuit of a million.
Someone's gonna thank the stars. To assist you in your pursuit you may employ the services of three special cards from the deck. All three inspire uproarious profanity.
The Tiger Card: Always counts as the highest trump card no matter what the trump color.
The Bull Card: While it can only be played if a player does not have the color of the color currently being played or if it is a player's last card, the Bull Card doubles the money value of the current trick.
The Bear Card: The conditions for using the Bear Card are the same as those for using the Bull Card, but the Bear Card cancels the value of the trick for the side that "wins" it, i.e. faces drop and turn pale blue.
There's no easy way to see this through. As with other trick-taking games, the round begins with a bidding process, only MaM places bids, not on the number of tricks a partnership will win, but on a dollar amount. Bidding begins at $175,000. The highest amount that can be won in a round is $400,000 (not including the damage the Bull Card can inflict).
A three-card "widow" (three cards placed aside before the deal) goes to the highest bidding partnership, and that partnership then gets the options of exchanging the widow cards with other cards in their hand. The Highest Bidding team chooses the Trump Color.
The Highest Bidding team must make their bid or else they lose the amount they one in the round. (So if they bid $200,000 but only make $175,000, they score -$200,000 for the round.) All other teams keep what they make at the end of the round.
Play continues until one partnership scores one million dollars--bwah ha ha.
What you gonna do? If you like card games, you'll find this one addictive. The Money Card addition is fun, and the special cards add some needed life to the game.
I'm a bit of an Oh Hell! fan myself, so I find the betting part of this game a bit weak. Only the Highest Bidding team suffers at the end of each round.
A good House Rule might be to have a silent bidding scheme where each partnership writes down a bid and then has to average that bid at the end of the round, maintaining the consequences of not meeting that bid.
Bidding, everyone should suffer.
While the "widow" adds a nice privilege for the Highest Bidder, it is not enough of an incentive, and you will find yourself instead prompting weaker players to bid higher amounts to make it harder for them while backing out at the last moment in order to not have to take the responsibility of being the Highest Bidder.
While this game is not gonna find its place on the shelf in the one's-you-love section, it's still a fun and unique games. I rate it as a 6.
Glenn Frey - The One You Love
I don't think I have heard that song since I was a WEE ONE! My mom won a bunch of his albums off a radio call in contest when I was a kid and played them to death.
Good review by the way. I like the stylization. It makes it really easy to follow along.
Excellent. Thanks for the compliment and enjoy the tip. -T