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Subject: Hab & Gut - an under-rated classic rss

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Matt Leach
United Kingdom
London
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In accordance with my recent "buy anything so long as its cheap" policy, this purchase was inspired by an email from UK OLGS Boardgameguru announcing a super hot deal on some stock he got in of this moderately obscure German-only published (but language independent) stocks'n'shares game. So (as with so many discount games) I bought it...

The game is a good one - takes five minutes to explain the rules, and then you're off, with alternating rounds of buying/selling six types of commodity shares and using special cards to manipulate market prices up and down to grab a windfall profit or trash your opponents balance sheet. So far, so straightforward. The twists that make this game stand out are:

i. When manipulating markets you do so using cards held on little wooden racks only viewable by you and the players respectively on your right and left. So everyone knows PART of the information around what the market might do next, but not all. This is an excellent mechanic, and really brings the game to life - even with low levels of overt interactivity, it forces engagement between players, and creates ups and downs as plans are formed and dashed on the basis of the cards your neighbour chooses to play early or late in the game (and trying to second guess their choices), and at half or full value. It seems to work best with 3/4 players - with 5 too much information is hidden from each individual player, and too many market manipulation cards are in play to make the game tense or fun

ii. Each buying/selling round, players have the opportunity to "donate" (or not) one of their shares to the church, and the amount each has donated is revealed midway through and at the end of the game. At the end of the game, before the winner is adjudged on basis of accumulated assets/cash, the player who has donated least to the religio-extortionists is eliminated. So making it possible to lead the field in terms of money, but still lose because of tightfistedness in the eyes of god (and the local parish). This adds a fantastic element of paranoia, opponent watching and strategic luck pushing to the game that raises it to another class. And plays massively into the pretty well glued on theme of late 19thC trading/greed/piety.

Rating? A very solid 8 for me. Fantastic, underrated game (how is this not in English language edition? How is it not top 500?). Feels like a "classic" game that has stood the test of time, despite only having been around for 3-4 years - this may be down to the slightly old fashioned design and components, but I genuinely mean this as a good thing. Very fast (30m a game-ish), stripped down, zero chrome, the mechanic is all and it's a very good one.

Only slight caveat - small cards in non standard size with non glossy finish may not last forever. And horrid paper monopoly style money. But the gameplay for 3, 4 players is so good, you can forgive those defects. If you're in the UK get yourself to Boardgameguru to buy whilst stocks (ahem) last. And start lobbying for the reprint.

Personally, I'm going to buy a second copy and put my current one in my holiday home, so I can play whilst on vacation as well...

(adapted from my contribution to the July 2012 new to you Geeklist http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/145110/new-to-you-july... )
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James Nathan
United States
Cincinnati
Ohio
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mattxboard wrote:
(how is this not in English language edition? How is it not top 500?).


I ask myself these things every time I play this game.
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Kevin Shillinglaw
Canada
Kitchener
Ontario
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This is what I play.
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Vegatable Alien is perlexed by slab of meat.
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I really enjoy this game and maybe, someday, I'll own a copy.

Someday...
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Lloyd
United Kingdom
Camden
London
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This game is bullshit.
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It is an excellent game - and one that really should have gotten more noise than it has. I also picked up a copy from boardgameguru and it's been a great purchase!
 
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Joshua Gardner
United States
West Henrietta
New York
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Bah da da da da da da... da da da da da da da... DAH dah DAH!
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Gabriel Knight. Check it out at GOG.Com
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Because of its weight and elegance, I like calling it the Ticket to Ride of Stock games. It deserves the same attention.
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