A Game Report

So you and your friends are hooked on Bargain Hunt or Antiques Roadshow. The thrill of risk-tinged acquisition is feeding an addiction that whispers that you, too, can be rich, if only you could find the right piece of furniture (or perhaps if some unknown-until-now rich uncle would just die and leave you his collection of antique hat trees). You're only inches away from the previously unthinkable.

You want to open an antiques store.

Sold! can help you through this troubling time. We've been playing this game nonstop for a few weeks, now. I don't think this is going to have the staying power of Catan, but the conceit is diverting. Each player owns an antique shop that specializes in repairing certain kinds of items (e.g., glass, furniture, etc). During eight rounds, players buy items from other stores or from the Flea Market or Auction House. Trades are made, repairs are paid for, and tourists come and buy all of your damaged fake antiques. The goal is to build the most impressive collections, with the collection size increasing the value of each item in the collection.

We did find the rules a bit shaky, but a few edits shored them up. We haven't yet played with a large crowd, but I imagine the Auction House and some of the shopping dynamics are more interesting in big groups. For the small set, the fun is in gathering all this stuff and hoping it fits together into a nice collection (and that none of it is stolen). Perhaps for those of us trying to live the simple life, this game can be seen as a way to sublimate the natural packrat inside us (as opposed to encouraging the hungry hoarder). Plus, the photographs of items on the cards are nice to look at. Including old games as a category of antique was a nice touch.

For two players? Not all of our friends are into the whole playing games thing, so the Brunette and I find ourselves playing alone quite often. We've managed to enjoy Sold! with two players by taking two shops each. The shops share a warehouse, but we don't move items from one display directly to another during the rearranging phase of our turns. This change seems to work pretty well. If each of our shops gets an event (tourists buy our fake items, porcelain collectors take our toilets), the money and antiques flow a bit better.

Overall, I'd give Sold! a solid rating: work through the rules and give it a chance.

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