by Breaking Games
A review by Mawihtec
Imagine just for a moment.
What would the love child of Bingo & Connect4, conceived in an auction house look like?
Good, good, you have just visualised The Game of 49.
The aim of the game is to successfully get four of your counters in a row before any or your opponents. But instead of just placing the counters anywhere you need to win the space at auction. And all spaces are drawn randomly.
7 X 7.
When you open your game box. You will find,
- 60 Cards,
- Player tokens,
- Auction space marker token,
- First player marker token,
- Money in 1, 5, 10, 20 denominations,
- Game board,
- Card tray,
- Money tray,
- 2 Player rules reference card,
- Rules booklet.
Now it needs to be mentioned that the box art immediately gives you a feeling of mass market style game….
Come back here!
Did I say that was a bad thing? No it does mean that it could potentially have a much broader appeal than niche or hobby games. When we look at the contents it is clear that the “mainstream” feel is still in evidence. Both paper money and Tiddlywinks style tokens are there. I know this does not make it a bad game. You do need to be aware that component quality is not high end.
Speaking of the players tokens leads me to the biggest problem. Colour! With the five sets of tokens all being translucent obviously colours are muted. That being said there is NO excuse these days for not thinking about colour blindness and accessibility in games. It literally costs nothing to ensure most people with a colour sight deficiency can tell which token is which. The worst offenders in this case are the Red and Orange tokens. Grab a handful and even with 20/20 vision it take effort to separate them properly.
42 + 7.
The play style of. The game of 49 is deceptively simple. On a players turn a card is turned over. Players then take it in turn order to pass or bid on the card. If you pass you cannot bid again. Highest bid wins the card and places their token on that number. Get 4 in a row (3 in a row in 5 player) and you win.
50 – 1.
If that sounds too simple? It is because it is. There are a couple of wrinkles to the basic premise which start to take The Game of 49, up a level or two. In the first instance as you all start with a set amount of money, it is all too easy to bid too high and find yourself not able to win the number you need. At the same time you need to bid enough on the other numbers to stop other players completing their row of 4. There are several “payoff-wild” cards. When these appear they allow you to bid in the same way as single number cards. Only in this case. If you win you get to place your token on one of a range of numbers, 1-24, 25-40, 41-48. this starts to bring in some tactical positioning of tokens. Can you block an opponent while giving yourself an advantage?
Further to this, once a token is placed its position is final. Except for the 49 centre square. There are several 49’s in the deck these allow for a little bit of smart thinking. The winner of the 49 card places their token on the central space. If however they already have a token there? They are then allowed to place the token on any empty space on the board. If another players token is on the 49 space then it can be knocked off and returned to the player.
6 X 8 + 1.
So how does this all pan out then? If you take “The Game of 49” for a family fun type game you will likely not be disappointed. There is no highbrow mental brain burning here. I can see this being played at family gatherings. A perfect example is Christmas. Simple to learn and teach. Nothing to scare those who are only used to monopoly and cluedo type games. In fact I can easily see myself sat there feeling pretty smug. Knowing that I am almost certain of winning because no-one can afford to bid high on the number I need when BAM!!! Auntie Mabel bids everything she has just to stop you (all because you forgot her birthday two years ago geez, get over it Mabel I said sorry). If that made you smile then you are the target audience for this game.
I struggle to see this being seen at meet-ups or game nights.
Player count? Is I have to say a touchy subject. I personally think at 2 player this is much more “solitaire” depending on numbers drawn. 5 Player is too chaotic especially with the aforementioned red-orange colour issues. 3 player is OK. 4 player is the sweet spot there is enough take that style blocking without it becoming un-wieldy.
56 – 7.
Not a “bad” game. Just not a great game. OK for family fun more than serious gaming. Components functional at best. Card tray awkward to use. Money tray is OK. I would be happy to play with my son and wife but would get bored after a few plays. For me not a long term game. But OK for occasional family fun with non gamers.
- Simple to learn.
- Simple to teach.
- Accessible to all ages equally.
- Won’t scare off non-gamers.
- Not too think-y.
I was provided a copy of “The Game of 49” for review through the Board Game Exposure group. This game has now been forwarded on to another member for review. this does not affect my review or my final thoughts on the game.