27 February 2014 | 11 Comments
But in February, I definitely have a favorite game that I played for the first time this month: For Sale.
For Sale is not a new game–in fact, it was released way back in 1997. But I kept hearing good things about it, and it filled a niche in my collection (larger-group games that play quickly and are easy to learn).
I think the tipping point for the purchase was a review I read about how if they start the night with For Sale as a filler game, they often end up playing it 3 or 4 times in a row before moving on to other games. I love any game that makes you want to play again right away.
For Sale is a 3-6 player game that plays in about 10-15 minutes. The rules are very simple: In the first half of the game, you acquire properties using an auction mechanism. In the second half of the game, you sell those properties for the highest bid (a deck of cards serves as the bidder for the second half). The player with the most money at the end of the game is the winner.
Here’s why I’ve really enjoyed For Sale:
- It’s light, short, easy to teach, and plays up to 6 players. This is a sweet spot for me. I prefer heavier, complicated games, but sometimes I really don’t want to teach those types of games. Plus, these lighter, larger-group games are perfect for people who are new to gaming. I taught For Sale to 2 different groups last Saturday–all new gamers–and they loved it. We played multiple games each time.
- It appeals to the poker player in me. I hosted a weekly poker night for many years. The thrill of poker for me comes from the flop (the common cards on the table) and trying to figure out what my opponents are going to do. For Sale scratches both of those itches, and I don’t lose $10 every time I play.
- There are lots of interesting decisions for a light game. The key decision in For Sale is, “Pass or bid, and bid how much?” It’s a small decision that keeps the game moving quickly, but it’s interesting every time.
- It has the exact kind of player interaction I enjoy. For Sale has this beautiful push and pull when it comes to player interaction. If I bid, then I stay in the running to win one of the higher-value properties on the table, but I’ll definitely end up paying for it–maybe paying too much. If I pass, I not only get a lower-value card, but I lower the barrier to entry for the other players. Every flop of property cards is different, so you have to gauge each time how long other players will stay in the auction.
I highly recommend For Sale. If you have another game recommendation based on what I wrote above, I’d love to hear it.