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.

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.