There being only five session reports for Win, Place, & Show on BGG and the last one being in 2006, I thought this would be a good game for my sons and I to play and report upon. I adored this game as a child, playing solitaire for hours and always dragging it out for my neighborhood friends. The reviews on BGG are right-on about the components, design, and simplicity of this game, a simplicity that is not so predictable.
This session took two days to complete, but I must comment that WP&S is an excellent game to put away and continue another day. We put our money and betting slip inside our program and put the box away. No places on the board to remember (as long as you stop between races) and we continued a different day.
And we're off! In the first race, we auctioned the horses, and no one wanted the lowest odds horse, so we raced with five horses. Caleb came in first and third, and Joshua second. Our bets were WAY off, as none of us got win or place but Caleb and Joshua both picked a good show horse and won that anyway. Joshua and I wagered $2,000 total, Caleb $1,000. With purse and betting, Joshua lost $3,500, I lost $6,500, and Caleb won $4,000, net. That surprised me, being the veteran player of WP&S!
Race 2. Joshua quickly picked up the rule (which we may not be playing correctly) that after players have a horse, they can't bid on another until everyone else has a horse and he waited for Caleb and I to buy horses so that he could sort through and pick the favorite for $500. This irked me as being a non-realistic rule, but I chalked it up to strategy. This time we only bought four of the horses. Joshua and I both bet $6,000 and Caleb $3000. I only made $3,000 back, Joshua made $5,000 back, and Caleb made $1,500 back. As for prize money, Joshua was 1st and 2nd, garnering $6,500, and Caleb was 3rd for $1,000 and I was 4th for $500.
In Race 3, Caleb and I were on to Joshua's strategy, and we each got the favorites for $1,000 or $1,500. Joshua purchased two others for $500 and $1000, and we only raced four again. Joshua bet $8,000, I bet $7,000 and Caleb bet $4,000. Joshua and I didn't win any bets, and Caleb got $2,000 back. Joshua got 1st and 2nd for $8,000 and I got 3rd and 4th for $2,000.
Race 4 the horses went for cheap: either $500 or $1000. Caleb and Joshua each got one and I got two and the long odds weren't raced again. We all bet $6,000, but I was all wrong, losing it all, Joshua and Caleb both received $4,000 back. Joshua's horse won for $7,500, Caleb got 2nd and 4th for $5,000, and I got 4th for $2,500. It was at this point that Caleb struggled to keep interest in the game and Joshua declared that it was all luck. I had to agree to some point with both of them, and I will lower my rating of this game from 8 to 7 because of it. It stays at 7 because of nostalgia mostly, probably should be a 6.
In Race 5 we bought all the horses because the purses were so high and the odds so similar. Joshua paid $3,000 for the 2-1 horse, but otherwise it was $500 or $1,000 for the other horses. I was glad we were racing all six. Joshua and I both bet $10,000 and actually both netted $17,000 back! This with different bets too. Caleb bet $5,000 and got $9,000 back. So much for teaching how wrong gambling is. Caleb won 1st and 3rd for $17,000, I won 2nd for $7,000, and Joshua won 4th for $1,000.
The final race, #6. It's a long one, and we're ready (to finish the game that is). Joshua and Caleb got in a bidding war for #5, a 5-1 odds horse, making Joshua pay $3,500 for him, otherwise, we bought all six horses for $500 to $1000. Joshua bet $15,000 and got $27,500 back! I bet $15,000 but only got $12,500 back. Caleb bet $6,000 and got $5,000 back. When it was discovered that my horses won 1st and 2nd, giving me $33,000 in prize money, Joshua declared me the winner and said we didn't have to count the money. I said we did have to count for posterity's sake. Joshua came in 3rd for $7,500 and Caleb 4th for $5,000. Joshua counted his money, which he was surprised was $3,500 over mine: $77,000 to $73,500! We declared him the winner and on a whim decided to count Caleb's money too, just to see how badly he lost. Caleb had $80,000! Caleb won! Now, maybe if you go back over this (probably too) detailed session report, you can figure out how Caleb could have possibly won. I still don't see it, but I am amazed at the surprises this game holds, since it seems so predictable. It is not!
Great session report. I want to get this out and give it another go sometime so was interested to see how it went.
Do you think the full game is a bit long for one sitting?
Joshua quickly picked up the rule (which we may not be playing correctly) that after players have a horse, they can't bid on another until everyone else has a horse and he waited for Caleb and I to buy horses so that he could sort through and pick the favorite for $500.
I think you may be playing something wrong here. The horses are auctioned in odds order starting with the favourite. So after the other 2 players have bought a horse the third player automatically gets the third best (in terms of odds) horse. He can't sort through and choose one. Similarly the last player to buy a second horse will automatically get the last horse.
Also, you mentioned some races having less horses, this doesn't sound right either. As per the above rule, the last player will win the 6th horse automatically for free (unless he was foolish enough to bid on it!). So everyone will always have 2 horses.
Anyway, glad you enjoyed the game.
Actually, in the original 3m version, you randomly shuffled the stalbes and went through the deck, bidding on each horse in turn. But you also did two passes through the deck so that each horse had to be completely passed on twice for it not to run. I think we have had the highest odds hourse win in almost every race, though some are definitely less likely than others.
As a general strategy note, it is almost always worth picking up a horse for $500. The dice are quirky enough that finishing fourth or third is not out of the question for almost any horse. Especially in the early races, there is not that much of an advantage in owning the favorite, especially if you had to pay much to get it--the real money comes from the betting. The last couple of races, especially the last one, does reward owning the horses.
Can definitely play in one session if people know what they are doing. Also, with larger groups you can forego the auction and just run all 6 horses and the game is strictly betting (designate one person to run the horses with the group being able to overtly veto any drastic moves).