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Board Game Review: For Sale

2014 April 25
by Michael Schroeder

I wish buying a home in the state of NY was as easy and fun as it is in the card game, For Sale, by Stefan Dorra.

For Sale by Gryphon Games

For Sale by Gryphon Games

Designer: Stefan Dorra

Number of players: 3-6

Age: 8+

Time: 20 minutes

What’s the game about?

A description from the publisher…

 Going once! Going twice! Sold to the highest bidder! Bid and bluff your way to purchase the most valuable real estate for the lowest amount of money, then turn around and sell those houses (and shacks) for cold hard cash. Be the richest mogul at the end of the game to win this Stefan Dorra classic.

Basic idea in my own words…

For Sale is strictly an auction game where you are trying to buy up the highest value residences during round 1 and using those residences in round 2 to get the most money. At the end of the game, whoever has the most money, wins. And Id’ consider For Sale to be a filler game, due to the short playing length and not many components. If it doesn’t sound too fun, don’t worry, it’s a blast!

Cards and money in, For Sale

Cards and money in, For Sale

How do you play?

Setup: Separate the two different decks and shuffle both. Put the money deck aside for now. Place the house or building cards face down in the middle of the playing area. Randomly remove 6 houses and money cards if there are 3 players; and 2 of each house and money card if there are 4 players. Each player takes their respective amount of money chips, and keeps it hidden! Give out $18 dollars to each player if there are 3-4 players playing or give out $14 each for 5-6 players.

The values of the houses are, 1-30 and the value of the money or dollar cards are $0, $2-15 (all x2) and there are no $1 cards.

Let the game begin

Phase 1: The start player (who lives in the biggest house) flips over a number of house cards equal to the number of players. The starting player makes a bid and in turn order, each player decides to bid or pass. If you choose to pass, you take the house with the lowest available denomination on it. Any cards collected go into a pile, face down. If you are still in the bidding, you must beat the previous player’s bid or you must pass. This continues until everyone passes and the last player standing takes the highest value card, and pays their full bid amount. All the other players that passed, pay half their latest bid, rounded down to the bank. It is possible to pass and pay nothing. After each player has collected their cards, the new starting player is the player that had the highest bid. The new starting player restarts the game sequence until all cards have been bid on.

Phase 2: The next phase of the game, phase 2, starts. This is the selling phase. Turn over as many money cards as the number of players and lay them down in the center of the playing area. Each player secretly selects one of their properties and lays it face down in front of them. Once each player has selected a card, simultaneously reveal the player’s chosen cards. The player with the highest value card gets the highest dollar amount card, so on and so forth. The player that played the least valued card, gets the lowest amount. This process continues until all the cards are gone.

Game End

When the game is done, each player counts up the denominations are all their money cards, plus money chips and whoever has the most money, wins! If there is a tie, the player with the most money left over, wins.

The general strategy in For Sale, which has worked for me, is to balance yourself out. You don’t want to just go all in with the most money or the highest cards. Being Even-Steven, will get you ahead. You have to know when to put in more, or less. For instance, if the line up of houses is say, 1,2,5,6 – well, those are all pretty low numbers. You shouldn’t worry too much about getting a 1 or 2, because as you can see the highest value card someone will have, is a paltry 6. Now, if the line up was 1,2,5 and 30…then you may want to re-evaluate. I’d say, you still shouldn’t put too much in, because then you’re going to waste your high bids, when someone is going to end up getting that high card, possibly, anyways.

Now on the 2nd phase, if you see 0’s and high numbers, like in the teens and higher. You better make sure you are putting high value house cards out because you absolutely do not want to be that guy that gets a $0 money card. See what I mean on being balanced?

Breakdown

You will notice that I have revised my breakdown scoring system. I found that only doing out of 5 was too limiting, and it may have short changed some game’s scores. This gives me more flexibility. In addition, I don’t feel like splitting up the scoring into halts and quarters.

Components: 7/10

The components are of good/standard Eagle Games quality. The game is part of the bookshelf series, and it’s numbered. I believe, number 4. So the game boxes in this series all look nice lined up next to each other. The rules are clear and concise; full color, good stock. The cards are of average fare. Same with the chits.

Theme: 7/10

The theme may turn off many gamers but I love it. Themes like this are family friendly and are universal.

Luck Factor: 2/10

There’s not a lot of luck in this. There’s not much to hide. Everyone has a fair shot at all the cards, you just have to decide if you’ll continue being in the game to get those higher cards, or blow your cash early on. You’d think a game like this, that’s mostly just cards would be mostly luck, but it’s not.

Strategy: 7/10

There is a good amount of strategy in For Sale. You have to play smart; try and bluff your opponents and play the game well balanced. Balance is key.

Overall Feelings: 8/10

I love For Sale. This game is a blast. It’s super short, that if you want to play many rounds, you can. If you just feel like using it as a filler – it’s perfect for that! I love trying to outwit your opponents in this game. Winning For Sale gives me great satisfaction. The theme and gameplay of For Sale is universal, that anyone can pick it up, understand and have a great time! I absolutely recommend picking up, For Sale by Gryphon Games.

Review copy kindly provided by Eagle/Gryphon/Games.

Images provided courtesy of BoardGameGeek.

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