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Saturday, November 27, 2004

Outline for teaching the rules for Acquire

(Method based on Mario Lanza's The Finer Points Of Teaching Rules.)

1. Set up the board and components.

2. Distill the game down to a few sentences. (Less than a minute.)

In this game you will be buying and selling stocks in corporations. The person with the most money at the end of the game is the winner.

3. Paint an overview for the whole game. (1 to 3 minutes.)

- Core mechanics. Place a tile, buy 0-3 stocks, draw a tile
- Merger. Place a tile that joins two or more companies. Larger company absorbs smaller companies. Earn money by selling stocks in the absorbed companies. Also earn money (bonuses) by having the most or second-most stocks in the absorbed companies.
- The game ends when all active corporations are large (11+ tiles) or one corporation is very large (41+ tiles). Earn money by selling your stocks. Also earn money (bonuses) by having the most or second-most stocks in the each company.

4. Expand the overview using details—the finer points. (Show, don't just tell)

- Walk through core mechanics.
- Walk through merger. When a larger company absorbs the smaller companies in a merger, what do you do with your stocks in the smaller companies? Sell, trade, or hold. You can sell your stocks to get money. You can trade 2 stocks for 1 stock in the big merged company. You can hold your stock for when the company re-appears in the future.
- Walk through game end. When it's your turn, you decide whether to end the game.

5. Cover the exceptions, if any.

- When you place one tile beside another tile, you create a new corporation and get one free stock.
- You can't merge two large corporations (11+)
- If you are the only shareholder in a company and that company gets merged into a larger one, do you get both bonuses? Yes.
- What happens if a company is getting merged and two players have the same number of stocks? Who gets the majority and minority bonuses? The bonuses are added then divided equally.

6. Teach basic strategies and offer "fair warning." (1 or 2 minutes.)

As a company grows bigger, the good thing is that its stocks increase in value. The bad thing is that the stocks also get more expensive to buy. "So the perfect investment is one that stays really small (say two tiles) for a long time, and you are able to buy a decent majority of the twenty-five total shares." - Derk Solko

"You need to invest this initial cash wisely, for if you wrap up your money in entirely long-term firms (companies that don’t get gobbled up as the smaller partners of a merger), you won’t have enough cash to continue operating for the entire game. A nice cash flow is a requirement at the beginning of the game, and a nice assortment of majority stock in huge, expensive shares at the end is an advantage." - Derk Solko

Useful Variants

"The MITSGS has a simple variant that I think improves the three-player game; each player starts with $7,000 (instead of $6,000) and maintains a 7-tile hand (instead of 6). The additional resources make the opening stalemate less likely." - Mark Dulcey

"(1 - 100% of major bonus, 2 - 75%, 3 - 50%, 4 - 25%) (Note - this is a preferred variant to the original rule of only paying the top 2 stockholders)" - Mark Blanco


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