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Stock Market Board Game
GD Star RatingStock Market Board Game,
Stock Market Board Game is, as you may have guessed, a virtual board gamed based on the stock market. It’s grounded in dice rolls and a single sheet of rules, where players must win the game by making a certain level of money, depending on the agreed value set at the start of the game. Based on randomized dice rolls and selling stocks wisely (or poorly), players must learn how to plan ahead and judge risks and return, or go home broke.
Completely unfamiliar with the system of the real stock market, I of course needed some guidance before I jumped into the stimulating exercise of making virtual big bucks. The game has no intro screen, it just starts up on its settings overlay, which allows you to modify players, start a new game, read instructions, and manage preferences. The instructions are basically a giant wall of text explaining the fundamentals of the game, and there’s an extensive list of things to keep track of. To this, at least, you can seamlessly pull up the rules whenever you need to figure out if you’re on the path to virtual super wealth.
So, does this game contain all the secrets and tricks to our own stock market? Not quite. As per the instructions, it’s about accumulating wealth through stocks, obviously, but how you do so is up to the almighty dice roll and careful player decision.
The game starts when enough players are ready. Once it begins, the board unveils with the stock market bell sound with visual similarities to that of Monopoly. Audio wise there’s no music and the sounds are limited to the chatter of rolled die, “cha-chings,” little yelps of glee at getting stocks, and so on. So, I would expect the actual sound to be conversation you’d have with hypothetical human players.
When you begin, the players can choose various start spaces on the board, wherever they like. When it’s their turn, they roll a die, which will move them not based on spaces, but whether the value is even or odd. Even or odd will move you according to what side of the board you’re on, left or right. As you move, you’ll land on colored blocks, which represent a few things. There are multiple colors, representing companies such as “Mapple”, with the company stock value shown in the center by table. The player is given a variety of options depending where they land, sometimes for better or worse.
Not all colored spaces allow you to buy. Firstly, before you can technically begin playing the market, a player has to have money. You can modify this value before you start, but if it’s zero, the player has to pick a “job.” They are 4 parts of the board, and each will grant you a different amount of money if you roll a specific number. For example, the pilot job offers $300 of “salary” if the player rolls a 3 or 11. You can continue rolling here until you reach a certain amount of money before entering the stock market. Once you have that money, you begin to play the game as mentioned. When a player circle lands on a colored square, a few things happen beyond the opportunity to buy or sell stocks. You will be paid a certain amount in dividends based on which stocks you own. If I have 5 stocks in Blammo, and the dividend is $4, I’d get $20. Also, colored blocks have a “down x” or “up x” value where x is a number that makes stock value goes up or down. The dice rolls are random, so much like the real stock market, buying or selling has to be done at the most opportune moments.
Lastly, some colored blocks will automatically sell your stocks if it’s with the respective company. This can be bad if you weren’t planning to sell and the value was lower. There are also blank blocks called broker fees which cost varying amounts of money, and during early game, can push the player into bankruptcy, which forces you to sell stocks until you’re back to even, or lose. Finally, there are colored blocks that lead to stockholder “meetings.” If you hold stocks in a company, your dice roll allows you to land on a meeting space, which are tabs like 3 for 1, 1 for 1, etc. Landing on these nets you additional stocks for free.
Yes, the rules for Stock Market Board Game are a mouthful, and it took me a bit before I got a sense of what was happening without it seeming random. However, once I had a grasp of what was going on I started getting into it.
Visually the game is a virtual rendition of its board game counterpart. While it’s not stunning, per say, it’s pleasantly crisp and does what it needs to do. The audio, as mentioned, is pretty sparse and nothing to write home about. At first glance, unless you were a board game enthusiast, it’s actually easy to see how it’d get dismissed pretty fast.
But, much like growing money, it does take some personal investment. Understanding the rules is a must and once I got a hang of the basics, everything become a bit more cerebral. My first tries weren’t too successful, and it seemed like the AI kept getting the better end of the random dice rolls. However, on my third attempt I struck it big. I bought shares from the highest priced stockholder, which allowed me to get into their meetings. Several lucky dice rolls later I’d gotten $3000 worth of extra stocks. Once I had some short-term gains, I used this to begin leveraging my advantage. Buying low, selling high, all that was left was chance.
Once you get out of small time money the game changes. You start wondering whether you want to keep building a cache of stocks, slowly gaining more through stock meetings and dividends, or to sell it off for a big financial advantage. It all has its own risk. Waiting too long means stock prices might lower in worth, mixed with unexpected broker fees. Selling too early robs of you of your stock advantage but puts you closer to victory. This, I think, is where the real fun starts, as you try to play the odds in your favour, and it’s pretty enjoyable once you get into the thick of it.
If you don’t have any friends on standby, the game allows you to create as many AI bots as you want with their own difficulty setting. The bots will make more aggressive decisions depending on difficulty, forcing you to be risky as well. If you do have a full party, the game is suitable for up to 4 players.
As for score and winning, you can either choose to go by total cash or total net worth. Total cash is, of course, how much money the player has on hand. The player sells their stocks to see how much money they have (though must decide to end the game themselves). The other is via Total Net Worth, which according to the game is “the total of the current market value of all shares plus available cash.”
Overall, for what the Stock Market Board Game is supposed to be, it does that job just fine. The rules are easier to understand once put into practice, it’s visually pleasant, the sounds are charming, and there are plenty of options to fool with to make each game as chaotic or planned as you want. It’s no triple-A title, but if you’ve got some friends to mingle with or time to kill, it serves as a fun distraction.
Check out other great games:
- Enjoyable, high stakes gameplay once you understand the rules
- Can be played with bots or friends
- No soundtrack and the sound effects are mostly underwhelming
- Rules take a while to read and understand
- Visually a bit flat, works fine but can have greater variety