We’ve made it to the Fs in the ABCs of Gaming. F is for…
For Sale was originally published in 1997. Stefan Dorra designed the game, and the game was originally published in German by Ravensburger. Überplay did an English version in 2005, and the most current version is published by Gryphon Games. It’s a game for 3-6 players aged 8 and up, and takes 20 minutes to play. In the game, you essentially buy up some real estate, then sell it. This is the lightest game we’ve covered in the series so far, and arguably the lightest game you’ll see on the whole list. It’s one of the quintessential fillers, and won the F poll with 17.6% of the vote, leading second place Fomula D/Dé by 40 votes.
The game has relatively few components – 30 property cards (numbered 1 to 30), 30 currency cards (valued 0 to 15,000), and 72 coins (in denominations of 1,000 and 5,000). In a 3-4 player game, each player starts with $18 (actually $18,000 – it’s just easier to abbreviate). With 5-6, each player starts with $14. Some cards will be discarded, depending on the number of players.
For Sale is a game in two parts. First, you buy; then, you sell. In the buying round, a number of property cards equal to the number of players are laid out face up. Players then take turns bidding. If someone drops out of the bidding, they pay half of what they have already bid (rounded down) for the least valuable property left on the board. This continued until only one person and one property is left. They pay their entire bid for the last remaining property. A new set of properties are laid out, and this process repeats until all properties have been claimed.
In the selling phase, a set of currency cards equal to the number of players are laid out. These could be worth $0 to $15. You’ll then select a property from your hand and reveal it simultaneously with everyone else. The player with the most valuable property takes the most valuable check, second gets second, and so on. You’ll repeat this process until all checks have been taken, at which point you add up your score (checks plus remaining coins). The winner is the player with the most money.
And that’s it! As I mentioned, it is an extremely light filler, easy to teach and easy to play. The strategy comes from reading your opponents, as well as in planning for the future. And despite the auction mechanic, which I would normally hate, the quickness of the game and push-your-luck elements makes this a game that I enjoy playing from time to time. This was also my vote, though I went back and forth between this, Formula D/Dé, and Forbidden Island. In the end, I went with For Sale because it is such an engaging filler.
The other games:
- Formula D/Dé came in second. Originally published as Formula Dé in 1991 and reprinted in 2008 as Formula D, this dice rolling racing game features changing gears, damage, and a lot of fun tracks.
- Forbidden Island came in third – this 2010 cooperative game by Matt Leacock was actually a simplified and rethemed version of Pandemic. It’s a very good gateway to co-ops, particularly for kids and families.
- The 2005 reprint of Fury of Dracula came in fourth. This game was a hunt style game, where one player (as Dracula) leads the others on a merry chase across the continent of Europe. I haven’t played it myself.
- Tied for fifth were the 2010 SDJ nominee Fresco and the brand new Martin Wallace DBG, A Few Acres of Snow. I recently got to play Fresco for the first time, and it was fun – a nice worker placement game about repainting a cathedral. A Few Acres of Snow was the top seed in the F poll, ranked at #101 at the time (currently #39 and rising). It might do better now. I haven’t played, though I did attempt the yucata.de implementation – I’m guessing that’s not the best format for the game.
- In seventh place was Other. Nominees included Facts in Five, Fairy Tale, Famiglia, Farkle, A Fearful Slaughter: The Battle of Shiloh, Fearsome Floors, Federation Commander: Klingon Border; Fields of Fire, Fighting Formations, Fireball Island, Firepower, Fjords, For the People, Fortress America, Fortune and Glory, Founding Fathers, Frederick the Great, Fresh Fish, and Funkenschlag. A couple of people bemoaned the fact that nothing by Friedemann Friese made the top 10.
- Friedrich came in eighth. This is a 2004 wargame that I know very little about.
- In ninth place was Finca, a 2009 game about collecting sets of fruits using a rondel and worker placement. I’ve played it a few times on yucata.de – good one.
- Tenth place went to Factory Fun, the 2006 game about putting together factory parts that was an inspiration for Galaxy Trucker. Haven’t gotten to play it yet, but hope to.
- Bringing up the rear was Fire and Axe: A Viking Saga, a 2004 game about (what else) Vikings.
Thanks for joining me for another edition of the ABCs of Gaming. Join me again in two weeks for the Gs. Thanks for reading!