This week we were expecting six players so Mark dug out a selection of games to accommodate that number. As it turned out, there were only five of us but both games we played work as well if not better with five. Big Deal is a new business/share dealing game that came out at Nurnberg this year. I played it when it first came out and, although it seemed alright, I wasn't too impressed. However, nobody else had played and I couldn't remember too much about the game so we gave it a go.
The basic idea is that you try to launch companies with a view to receiving big payouts on each of your subsequent turns. To launch a company you need to buy resources, the price of which shoots up as supply goes down. You also need at least 2 of that company's shares, but 2 is rarely enough to avoid people trying to take it over. Interestingly, any player who has at least 1 share of that company can launch a takeover attempt by offering to buy the owner's shares at a certain price. The owner then has to offer more for the predator's share(s) in return, or accept the price offered. However, the defender is only allowed to use cash to repel the takeover attempt and cash tends to be extremely tight in the game. Hence companies change hands pretty regularly.
The game end is triggered as soon as a certain number of Game Over cards have been revealed from the deck, so there is some tension over when to sell your companies back to the bank, as once the last Game Over is revealed, a forced sale occurs at a fixed low price.
In our game, Nige and Mark looked to have pretty strong positions, whereas I seemed to get completely stuffed. There are 10 Cash Cards in the game, which can be pretty powerful money-makers. They are played against an opponent who has to pay cash over to the person playing the card. I didn't get a single Cash Card in the whole game and managed to find myself the target of 8 of the cards played by other people. I'm not griping but.... well perhaps I am a bit, but it did kill off any chance I had of competing. Nige, on the other hand, did well to capture and protect his companies, gained enough cash to defend his position and timed his sale better than Ben who would have won if he had held onto his assets for one more turn, rather than selling out.