I enjoy board games that incorporates a clever story & plot lines, quality aesthetics and design, and enough strategy to stimulate my interest while not overwhelming me with instructions or a beefy start-up. When I take all of those game desires into account, I am often led back to one of my all-time favorite board games: Acquire.
Review of Acquire, the board game with many more buyers than sellers
Acquire is a board game for 2-6 players (depending on the version) of “Savvy Planning and Corporate Conquest.” The game was developed by Sid Sackson and first published by 3M in 1964 as part of their popular Bookshelf game series. There have been many versions of the game over the last 50 years, the most recent one is published by Hasbro’s Avalon Hill Games.
In game you take on the role of an investor who’s goal is to invest in hotel chains and leverage as much profit as possible when those hotel chains merge, liquidate assets, and payoff shareholders.
I can guess what you’re thinking right about now, investing in hotels sounds like soooo much fun. I mean, I loooove looking at my 403b statements and money market accounts soooo much. I better find a board game that scratches the same itch. I neeeed more ways to spend my time investing, blah blah investing. Actually, you’re not saying it because no one, anywhere, ever says that. What I can tell you, despite the theme of the game, is that you will love Acquire!
Why Acquire is Worth Your Time
Right off the bat, Acquire provides a concept that most can grasp. The game starts with tiles being drawn at random and then placed by the players, one at a time on a turn-by-turn basis, on the corresponding 9 X 12 grid of the game board. As tiles are placed, hotel chains are created in turn when two or more tiles touch, either above/below or side-to-side. Chains continue to grow in size and price, as more tiles are placed adjacent to the hotel chain.
When two chains come into contact on the game board through tile placement, they then merge, with the larger of the two chains acquiring the other (hence the name, clever I know). The acquired hotel chain is then liquidated and the shareholders stocks are paid off, including a bonus for minority and majority shareholders.
The game ends when there are no more viable tiles to be played because they have all become dead spaces. If a hotel chain grows to 11 tiles or more in size, it is considered safe and can no longer be acquired by another chain. Dead spaces occur when two of these “safe” hotel chains come close to contact and the tile in dispute is then dead. Basically, when the tiles start flyin’ is when the fun starts. I have always appreciated the games ease of play and how quickly you pick up the strategy, regardless of being a complete noob or hardened vet.
I also appreciate how Acquire reminds me of several other games and yet crafts it’s own style, unique among popular board games. I maintain that Acquire is the love child of games like Battleship, Monopoly, and Settlers of Catan. Perhaps the better analogy would be the illegitimate board-game son of my CPA and financial advisor.
Also, the artwork Acquire sports is top notch and you feel like you are playing a game that is much more expensive than it’s cardboard pieces and board would normally indicate. Avalon Hill’s current version is well designed and the packaging is thoughtful and crisp.
Why You Might Want To Move On
It’s not for everyone. Acquire is rated for ages 12 and up, but unless you have a functional grasp of math, or a basic understanding of how stocks work, then the game may not be for you. The game requires a somewhat adult mind to comprehend, as not every teen and even fewer adolescents can grasp (or appreciate) the concept. If you are looking for a family game, then wait until your kids are teenagers!
It’s not a party game. With a max of 6 players, you are definitely limited in which settings you can play. If you have a smaller group, then have at it. But if you are looking for a game to bring to a party or larger group hang-out, then I would keep on looking. It’s fun, but can’t captivate a room of players with it’s limited scope. It’s also not expandable, so there is no way to grow.
As I stated before, I do appreciate Acquire’s fit and finish, as far as artwork and design. But, the cardboard pieces and board do begin to show their wear and tear not long after the plastic is removed. I personally love games that have crisp design and use quality materials. Acquire fires a shot across the bow on quality materials, but never lands a hit. Rest easy though, this is a common complaint of mine for most board games, so it should not sway you from giving it a chance.
Acquire has long been one of my personal favorites. Its straightforward start-up, effortless strategy, and fresh artwork make it a board game that is easy to love, not to mention the hours of laughs and memories it yields.
If you’re looking to try a new board game that reminds you of classics like Battleship and Monopoly (and you have a deep passion for the stock market), then Acquire is the game you have been searching for!
You can get it here for a nice price. It’s highly recommended.