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Subject: Easy Money reviewed rss

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Doug Kuhlman
United States
Illinois
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I found this game to be reasonable good for introducing my kids to some tenets of slightly more advanced board game concepts. It also starts teaching some mathematics in terms of powers of 10.


Game Mechanics: Yes, it's roll-and-move, but it's a single token, which sometimes affects everybody. One roll affecting everybody is useful before introducing Settlers of Catan, for example. Another square (Greed) allows the rolling player to steal from another player. This led to slowing the leading player ("Mr. Moneybags" in our house). When my older son realized what was happening, he tried to hide his money. This led to discussions of open and closed money, naturally. This is very useful before other cash games.

The stock market is very simplistic. It has a "hint" which is right most (6 of 8) of the time and wrong the other two. When it's wrong, it pays more. This led to realizations of being behind and needing a "big hit" to catch up and betting against the hint, or going with the hint when ahead. It also encouraged my kids to count cards (well, it's already been wrong once this way, so it's probably right) and think about the game in a larger sense.

The game also puts little or not time between action and reward/punishment. While games with subtler interconnections, interspersed in time and/or board location are fun for more sophisticated gamers, learning gamers need to get immediate feedback to care. Easy Money provides that.

Bits: When we first got our copy, the money was all loose. We were supposed to (and we did, actually) wrap it in bundles of 10. This creates "wads" of money. The wads hold up better than individual bills to kid handling and aren't as bad an idea as I'd originally thought. The rest of the pieces are pretty sturdy. Some of our cards (lottery, mystery jackpot, and stock market) are a little bent, but they've held up pretty well. The board, OTOH, is a quad-fold, which is hard for little hands and little minds and is now badly torn no longer lies flat.

Education: As my kids have aged, they've needed us less and less as they play. It starts with them kinda rolling the dice and needing help counting pips and moving around the board, with no clue on cash. Then they get that mechanic and start "making change" for a million bucks with wads of $500,000 and $200,000 and $100,000. Yeah, it's just 10, 5, 2, 1 for ALL purposes, but kids don't necessarily think that way. And that's good for them to learn.

Fun: This is ultimately what it's all about. And, while it's fun for a while to get a few million dollars here and there (and the game rules encourage ostentatious displays and comments about your money), that tires semi-quickly. Making wise gambles and paying attention even when it's not your turn comprise the "strategy" of the game, which means it's extremely light. But I think it's good for younger (4-9) kids. And I don't dislike playing, like many games I suffer through. It's OK for an adult.

Overall, this game is pretty good for younger kids and to introduce some concepts. Strategy matters enough that older kids will usually beat younger but there's enough luck that anybody can win at any time. There's even a "Final Lottery" stage which can literally turn the whole game into one die roll. But it doesn't usually.

Young kids: 8
Adults: 3
 
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