Thursday, September 04, 2008

Why I Like - ACQUIRE

I picked up my 1st copy of this game (the 1995 version with the completely silly “power tiles” in it) many years back. A thrift store find I didn’t think much of at the time yet still had high hopes for. Once I started playing it I knew I had found a life long favorite game…but little did I know how completely I’d love this amazing classic of a game.

Once I started my gaming group back March of 2004 I started bringing my copy of Acquire out. Now at this point I was mainly introducing games to what we in the hobby gaming community like to call “non-gamers.” You know ‘em, and you’ve played with ‘em. Those people who love to game but their knowledge is limited to what can be bought at Toys-R-Us. This lead to every game I brought out to be given a comparison to a game they were familiar with. Mare Nostrum has battling units so it must be like Risk. Boomtown has cards so it must be like Rummy. Acquire was the KING of these comparison as:

** It has tiles in a bag so it must be JUST LIKE Scrabble

** It has hotels so it must be JUST LIKE Monopoly

It got to be a real joke and some of the originals of that early gaming club group will still throw those around when Acquire comes out…ahhhhh nostalgia. However that doesn’t help you the reader of this in the least now does it?

I’d say one of the main reasons I like Acquire is the same as one of the main reasons I like Carcassonne so much. Both on the surface look like such a nice little friendly game…yet lying just under the surface of that façade lies a devious game filled with nasty nasty dickery at ever tile pull.

Next up for me in my favorite factor with this game is the metagame. WOW the metagame in Acquire is huge. Making subtle (and not so subtle) little (and not so little) comments about wishing for a certain tile while you can plainly see it’s sitting right there on your tray. Offhandedly (and not so offhandedly) wishing aloud that you’d like to see a chain merge knowing you won’t get a portion of the credit and then next turn after everyone has sold off their stake in the chain restarting the chain and being majority share holder.

The luck factor. Now I know this will rub a lot of people who are into designer board games the wrong way but I love the luck factor of pulling random tiles from a bag. Hell I do believe that having 6 tiles on a tray to choose from does indeed help mitigate the luck there still comes a point in every game where you are literally waiting on one frigging tile. Will you get it in time? Who the fuck knows but it’s tense waiting on it and I love that dread you feel when others are pulling from the bag and you just feel like you know they are getting your tile, bastards!

I also love that this incredible game is a Sid Sackson product. No he’s not my favorite designer and sure a lot of the games he did put together are…well a bit lame but here’s a game that stands heads and shoulders above lots of other games and it’s what? An American designed game! Yes that does add a bit of enjoyment to this game for me and this is called why I like Acquire so there it is!

Finally I like the idea that this game has stood the test of time. Having been originally published in 1962 it’s amazing to me that there is still so much demand for the game. To see some of the prices people are paying for various editions of this game amazes me! How many online or downloadable computer formats are there for this game? I suppose I could look it up but hey I’m writing a review and lazy so I won’t bother but suffice it say there’s a LOT! Now we have a new affordable version of the game out that with a low price point like it has will likely garner new fans, and maybe even people who are not typical gamers may discover it now. Will be interesting to see if some of these games we all raving about right now will still be as revered 46 years down the road.

Acquire! A rich, simple, sharp game that lives on to this day. Bravo Mr. Sackson, I salute you!

No comments: