Sunday, May 29, 2005

Review: For Sale

For Sale is a fast-playing card game about buying and selling houses. It supports from 3 to 6 players ages 8 and up and it plays in about fifteen minutes.

The recently released version from Überplay is a re-release of the original Stefan Dorra classic first released in 1997. The new version has made a couple of minor changes that make the game a little faster and allow it to support more players than the original but the spirit of the game remains the same.

Inside the sturdy box you'll find thirty property cards numbered one to thirty. Each one has an illustration of a property ranging from a cardboard box in a dingy alley, to a suburban house with a picket fence, to a sumptuous fairy-tale castle, and culminating in a futuristic orbiting space station. You'll also find thirty check cards. There are two of each amount ranging from $15,000 to a pair of voided checks. And finally, you'll find an assortment of cardboard coins. All of the components are delightfully illustrated, including the rule book whose back cover is decorated to resemble a shingled roof.

The game is played in two phases. During the first phase, players buy properties and during the second, they sell them.

In the first phase, one property card is turned over for each player and players bid on the properties. Each player may either raise the previous bid or pass, but if they pass, they must take the lowest valued property and pay half of their previous bid (if any) to the bank. They get to keep the rest of their bid. After all other players have passed, whoever has placed the highest bid must pay their entire bid to the bank but they get to keep the best property. This is repeated until all of the properties have been purchased.

Once all of the properties have been purchased, the players turn over one check card for each player. Then the players each select one of their property cards and they reveal them simultaneously. Then the players claim the checks in order based upon the value of their properties. So whoever played the highest value property card gets to claim the highest check. This is repeated until all of the properties have been sold.

When all of the properties have been sold the game is over. Players count their money (including any money they didn't spend during the first round) and whoever has the most money wins!

For Sale can be taught and played in under fifteen minutes and it appeals to players of all ages. It has a good mix of luck and strategy. It's simple, quick, attractive and a lot of fun.


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