You’re a nobody. A tiny, despicable bug on the wall. But you got to start somewhere if you want to make it to the top. From an insignificant mugger, to the brain of a giant museum heist. You will not stop until you become the big boss, the one who only gives orders. The one who gets all the money. Your greediness doesn’t have any limits. ‘Enough’ does not appear in your dictionary. This is Greed; a drafting game from Donald X. Vaccarino.
What do you get for your money?
80 cards; 30 action, 25 thug and 25 holding cards. That’s not all, you also get 85 money cards and 54 development markers.
How do you play the game?
Greed is a drafting game where you play as gang bosses in the late 60s. There’s only one thing on your mind; that’s getting rich and getting rich fast.
At the beginning of the game every player is dealt twelve cards. The game takes twelve rounds and during the first two rounds you pick one card from the twelve, put it in your hand and pass the rest to the next player. The next ten rounds, you also add a card to your hand, but in addition to that every player plays one of their hand cards, then performs the card action and lastly all players resolves their ‘each turn’ abilities.
Every card has a number, the lowest number goes first. To do the actions on a card, a player must first pay a cost, or the player only must show that he already has certain stuff, and other times there are no costs at all.
Then the player can perform the action. Some actions can be used multiple times, other action cause something to happen next turn and there are also actions you can only use once.
You can play three card types. Firstly, you can play an Action card. These cards are used for their action and then discarded.
Secondly, you have the Thug cards. These bastards help you gain money, gain more actions or gain more development markers. Most thugs have icons on them, like a key, a gun or a car. These icons are needed to play other cards; as payment or just to show that you have a car or weapon. The thugs stay in your display.
Thirdly, you can take a share in a business establishment, some legal, some not so much. When you play a Holding card, you must place a development marker on that card for every icon on that card. These holdings may show a liquor, a ‘love’ or a wrench icon. You must also add one marker for every similar icon on other cards in your tableau. These markers are worth $10,000 each at the end of the game.
This happens after twelve rounds and the boss with the most money wins the game.
Let’s start with the mechanism that makes a this game interesting; the drafting itself.
You are looking at your cards and trying to figure out which card is a good combination with the other cards. Off course, this stack of cards goes past four or five more people, so you hope that this specific card is still there when it comes back to you. However, you do not even know what cool cards are in the other stacks. Maybe even better cards come up later. After you initial stack comes back to you, you know exactly the cards that are in the game.
If you have a decent memory of course.
You can try to plan ahead and collect and play a a couple nice card that combine well. But, then there’s the choice between a great card for you and a great card for your opponent; if you let this one go then it means a lot of money for your opponent. What to do? What to do?
This is what makes a drafting game interesting, but is there something special about Greed that makes it more interesting than the average drafting game?
That’s hard to say. I like that there are two types of money: the development markers and the dollars. Thugs will give you money and holdings give you markers. These are separate strategies, but they also need each other to survive.
I also like it that you start the game with no money at all. You take your first steps in the criminal world and you really need to work your way up.
During the first two rounds, you don’t play any cards, you only choose cards and during the following rounds, you always have a choice of three cards. This differs from a pick a card play a card drafting game and it adds opportunities for a more strategic game.
I say adds opportunities, because in practise the game remains a bit random. Yes, you can make some great card combinations, but it’s not that all your card actions come together to form a single strategy. You predominantly have to make the best of the options that were given.
I do like that this game is, to some degree, interactive. There are ‘Take That!’ cards and cards that give you money as long as you have to most of, or the fewest of something, and that makes that you keep paying attention to what other players are doing.
As for the player count; it plays fine with every amount of players. The difference is that with lesser players you can more easily plan ahead. I do think that if you want to play with two players, you should add two dummy players and randomly discard one card from their stack before you pass the cards along.
I think the 60s gangster theme is nicely integrated into the game. The thugs are just thugs and add more to the flavour of the game than to the theme, but the action cards and the holding do feel pretty thematic sometimes. For instance: the Vandalism action card, your opponents looses a holding to vandalism but you do need a car (icon) to drive by and throw some windows in. Or Jenny’s Waterfront dive; it is a very exclusive place, it will bring in $10.000 each turn, until more cheaper bars pop up in the neighbourhood.
There’s some sex ad violence in this game, but I do not think it’s that obvious. Not so much that you should keep it away from kids at all cost. Very young, sure, but the suggested age of 10 and up is quite right. Decide for yourself what you think is appropriate. I think it’s fine.
I like the look of it. The illustrations are cool and the layout is clear. The markers are little dollar signs and that’s just pleasing to the eye. Just a good look for this theme.
Quality of the game parts:
The cards are OK. The markers are decent. Nothing really good, nothing bad either.
I do like this game, but I don’t think I would ask to play the game myself much often. I would love to play a game with you, sure, but there’s no ‘wow’ factor in this game. There’s no feeling of ‘I want to play it again!’. It was there, the first one or two games, but then the excitement quickly faded away.
It’s a decent game and I don’t think it’s not fun to play, but it just doesn’t excite me that much (anymore). And I haven’t even played it that much.
I do think that the rules are easy to learn and the game is pretty straightforward. So, with a little help, even occasional gamers can play this one quite easily.
In conclusion, Greed is a good game, a fun game, but I think it will quickly disappear into the bowels of my game collection. It’s just about a seven now, but it’s already sliding towards a six and that’s what I give it.