Stock Market Tycoon
My kids (ages 9 and 13) tend to like board games that involve lots of play money,
so I decided to try
Stock Market Tycoon. So far the reception has been pretty positive. Strategy
game enthusiasts might be disappointed: it isn't a very detailed or accurate
simulation of the stock market, and financial accumen isn't going to ensure
a victory. There's a very heavy component of luck to the game, and the movement
of the stock prices is completely random.
But that's not to say the game isn't entertaining. We're having a lot of fun
playing it as a family, and it does a reasonable job of introducing the concepts of
buying and selling stock. Buy low and sell high is going to work here just like
in the real world.
The game itself has some quirks. First of all, the
mechanism for recording stock prices is pretty awkward. One player keeps track
of the prices on a pad of paper and all of the other players have to constantly
ask "What is the price of Nike?". After only one game like this I made a large
card and some number chits so we could keep
track of the prices in a way that everyone could easily see. It really helped
the game go a lot smoother.
Recording stock ownership is also done on paper (each player has their own
sheet). There are columns for "quantity", "price" and "total" for each
company. I'm not sure if the intention is for players to update their sheet
every time a price changes, but if so that would involve a lot of writing on
nearly every turn (and you'd fill up the paper pretty quickly). So we tend
to ignore the "price" and "total" column and just record the number of shares.
I would have preferred it if there were play "stock certificates" to use for
each lot of 100 shares, then everyone could just have their shares sitting in
front of them without needing pencil and paper.
There are a few areas where the instructions are confusing (or just strange):
All of this must sound like I'm pretty negative about the game. On the contrary,
we've been having a lot of fun. It just feels like there were a few
quirks that never got completely worked out.
- You Must Trade: the instructions say "must either buy or sell a minimum of
100 shares, even if it means selling stock to raise cash to buy." But the square
on the board says "one trade only". So which is it? Can I sell to raise money
to buy (more than one trade), or if I cannot buy to I just have to sell? Allowing
buying and selling would also allow you to buy back the exact thing you sold,
negating the whole point of the square. House Rule: you can only make one
trade - if you don't have money then that one trade must obviously be a sale.
- Do You Dare Day Trade: the instructions say "player has a choice to either
Day Trade or Buy, Sell, or Hold." Day Trading involves placing a bet and drawing
a card, but "Buy, Sell, or Hold" isn't described anywhere. House Rule: instead
of day trading you can opt to buy one stock, sell one stock or do nothing.
- It almost feels like they intended for players to normally be able to buy
and sell at the end of their turn but forgot to mention it in the rules. Otherwise
only about 1/3 of the turns have even the potential for buying/selling stock,
which seems a bit strange for a stock market trading game. I'm tempted to
just add this as a house rule, and then the Day Trade thing becomes a choice
between doing your normal trading or drawing a day trade card (or of course
doing nothing). On the other hand, the game moves pretty quickly and some of
the squares allow everyone to trade, so even as-is it seems like there is
- The description of winning doesn't make sense to me. It seems like any
player can announce their intention of ending the game at any time. The target
of $1 million is mentioned, but the player doesn't have to have $1 million.
According to the rules, they could do this on their first turn if they really
wanted to. Also, they have to announce this "before their next turn", which
really just means they cannot announce it during their turn, because any other
time at all is "before their next turn". Then they have to land by exact count
on an ALL MAY TRADE square, then are allowed to move to CLOSING BELL. I'm not
really sure how you move from ALL MAY TRADE to CLOSING BELL since they appear
to be adjacent. Do you just get to move your piece there right away, or do
you need to wait for another turn, roll the dice, then move 1 square? I can
sort of see what they are trying to accomplish from a game design perspective,
but it is executed clumsily. They want a round or more of endgame where
people can make risky plays in an attempt to pass up the leader. That's why
the player has to announce their intention ahead of time, and then land on
certain squares by exact count. Announcing "before their next turn" is a sloppy
way of making sure they don't keep silent turn after turn then announce right
when rolling the magic number. Given that, I'm not sure what the ALL MAY TRADE
accomplishes right before everyone adds up their net worth anyway.
One thing I found very amusing is that my daughter refuses to buy any Microsoft
stock in the game because she hates their products in real life.