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No. of Recommendations: 11
We're ambling off in a different direction from "what the heck happend to Foolmania" so I started a new thread. Tell me what I missed or where you think I am out to lunch.

To recommend a stock already have the best one. Union Pacific is the best stock game generally available now. Enjoy it. I personally recommend a couple of house rules. The first player only gets one stock face up to pick from. The second player gets two, and so on until the the fifth player sees all the face up stock. This is a pretty good way to balance out the advantage of going first. Also, it can be frustrating for some players if there are multiple dividend points in between their turns. If five of us are playing, and both players #1 and #4 turn over a purple dividend cards before I can lay down a clump of stock, I can feel frustrated. Some folks are OK with this. If not, set aside a random "buffer" of stocks so you know there will be at least one round in between dividends # 1 and #2, etc. If there are five players, set aside five stock cards between each stack that has a dividend card. If you do this, write out how many cards are in each of the now seven sets of card (stack one, then five, then stack two, then five, etc.) if you feel diligent. Again, all this is optional.

Cartel is an oldie but a neat game. You will have to look pretty hard to play this sucker. It does not look like much, but Cartel is a very good set building/auction game with a nice borrowing mechanism. Dallas is reportedly the same game, but I have not played that version. Priceless is similar, but not considered as good a game.

Big Boss is a darn good stock game, with Really Pretty components. Big Boss looks great! Big Boss is a little like Acquire with radically better components and a little more depth to the game. In addition to building your hotel chains from side to side, you can build up if you have the right card. There is also a nice touch "flagging" your hotel chain (the correct industry term). Big Boss is not a cheap game, but would be a nice addition for the serious collector. DavidG, you should probably check this one out.

I own Shark and have played it four to six times, but do not feel a whole lot of love for the game. There can be a tendency for one color's stock to become the runaway favorite and effectively immune from "sharking" down. If you do not own enough of this stock, you can find yourself completely out of the game pretty early on with no real way to get out of it. There is also a tendency in the late game to limit risk by selling all shares that might get "sharked" down at the end of each player's turn. This makes it darn hard to catch up if one is behind. It is not a bad design, I just think there are better stock games.

Acquire is an oldie but reasonably goodie and fairly easy to find used. A friend of mine suggested starting Acquire with everyone getting two shares of stock face down, all purchased stock face up, and each "price category" of shares shuffled together. When you buy stock, you take the one face up card from one stack or start leaving stock face up for other folks to buy. The idea is to (1) get rid of the stupid memorization part of Acquire and still (2) have some uncertainty.

Alhambra is not a classic stock game, but I think of it as being very similar and it is an excellent design. If you have ever played Stimmit So, this is a very similar design. In Alhambra you have four different currencies and are trying to buy up tiles (like stocks) in a complex set building manner. One trick in Alhambra is that you are haggling in a bazaar where you get a bonus extra action if purchasing a tile for exact change. Each turn, you either buy a tile or take more money and you are constantly balancing the desire to have enough currency to buy things for exact change vs. getting that promising tile being offered right now.

Continuing to stray a bit off the beaten stock path, I think Atlantic Star (same game as Show Manager) is awfully darn similar and another classic game.

The very recent release of Ticket to Ride has been unfairly compared to TransAmerica. While I own TransAmerica, I think of it as more similar to an activity to a game. There is not enough meat there. Ticket to Ride has more depth to it and is a solid little game. To be fair, I have only played this twice so I do not have a deep understanding of the game yet (who does, it has not officially been released yet).

I would watch for the pending re-issue of Funkenschlag which is suppossed to be called Power Station. This is a great resource management game. Strike that, Funkenschlag is a fantastic game and worlds better than anything else released by the Triple F boys over in Germany. The re-issue is rumored to have better components (not hard) and play faster than the original.

Before getting back to great stock games, I will mention two auction games that I consider world class designs. The first is Modern Art is and the second is Princes of Florence. Princes may be my single favorite "brain buster" game. In Princes, everyone has the same number of actions (10 total) and will buy five things at auction. Managing your money and being efficient with your actions is the whole game, but there is an awful lot in there from the shape of the buildings constructed on your estate to just how much you are willing to spend for those precious Jesters.

Giganten is somewhat hard to find but a reasonably nice design. Here you are focused on oil stocks and exploration. The components are well made and commodity price movements reasonably modeled.

A little commodity / set building card game is Cathai. This is a filler game, but well done.

To finish up with stock games, Moderne Zeiten is a very good design that has not been given as much praise as it deserves. Check up on Boardgamegeek for some fiddly rules that are not well translated into English, but Moderne Zeiten is a great stock game.

If you want to stick tightly to stock games, add Moderne Zeiten and/or Ticket to Ride to your collection. If you want to widen your circle a bit, I would strongly recommend Princes of Florence and Alhambra. The others round out the lot but these four are your best bets after Union Pacific. If you do not own Union Pacific, buy a copy now!


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