Duration: +-45 minutes
Distributor: Markee Games
The Game of 49 – Board Game Review
While 42 is considered to be the answer to all of life’s questions, 49 is apparently linked to a game that’s a sort of Bingo with money as the collateral to buy yourself the tiles you desire when they are up for auction. Even though we would love to answer all of life’s questions for you, we’ll do our best to entertain you with our opinion of ‘The Game of 49’, which might just cause a small bidding war between your friends and family.
- Game board
- 60 Number cards
- Card tray
- Money tray
- 75 Chips (5 colors, 15 each)
The different components of the game all share a very simplistic appearance, which may remind some of games of the mid nineties, where the transparently colored chips reigned supreme in many board and card games. Nonetheless, seeing this title shares a lot of resemblances with ‘Bingo’, albeit in a dueling form, the overall simple appearance is also charming. While it would have been fun to add a bit more spice to the money, game board and the chips, things are just fine as they are.
Put on your best poker face and keep your cash deposits a secret, as you’ll need your hard earned money to be the first player to place four chips in a row on the game board (horizontally, vertically or diagonally). You’ll require a minimum of preparations in order to begin, except for choosing who will pick which color and hand out the starting money for all the different players. The rules stay pretty much the same for a game for two to five players, only the two player version has a few stricter rules, which we’ll dig into later.
Every turn of the game one of the number cards that represent one of the 49 numbers on the board will be revealed. This card will have a starting bid price on it, on which players can start to bid until someone wins that auction. As your money deposits are supposed to be kept secret, it means you’ll have to be smart and keep track of the rest, as you’d better consider your upcoming moves. Of course, even though your money is a secret, you’re not allowed to bid more than you have in stock, because if you should win that auction by chance, you’ll be punished if you can’t pay what you bid in the first place (one of your chips will be removed from the board). This is pretty much the basic principle of the game.
Of course, as you’ll need new money in order to purchase more tiles on the board, there’s the payoff phase, which will only occur after a Wild/Payoff card has been revealed. This card indicates a range of numbers on the board of which you can pick one tile to place a chip on if you win the auction. When this bidding war is over, you’ll receive an income depending on the amount of chips you have on the board ($7 per tile, with a maximum of $49). There’s a slight difference in the payout when you’re playing with only two players. The game will punish those who seek to buy everything on the board, as your income will start to decrease again if you have more than seven chips on the board.
The game has one special Wild/Payoff card, namely the one that puts the 49 tile on auction. This card is implemented in the game several times, which means other players can take the 49 tile out of your hands if you own it, but if the current owner wins the bidding again, he can place a chip on one tile of the board, namely the one he desires. This card can pretty much seal the deal if it pops up late in the game.
Keep in mind that you can simply pass up on auctions as well and if all players do, that card will be set aside to reopen an auction at a later time, if desired. It’s certainly possible that a few numbers are revealed that are useless for all players and will remain so for the rest of the game, thus it’s best not to squander your valuable money on those cards.
Luck or Strategy?
Even though the order of the numbers revealed on the board is completely random, this game has a lot of strategy elements that make the game lean more towards a strategic experience rather than pure luck based.
The main strategic aspect of the game is money management and keeping track of the other players budgets (which is nearly impossible in five player games). Nonetheless, not jumping on every auction that is opened might be a wise thing to do, especially when the next number isn’t close to where your other ones are. While this could mean getting more income (beware for the 2 player game rule!) when there’s a payoff, it could also mean having to pass on a more important auction, simply because you lack the funds.
Bingo meets Poker might be a proper term to describe The Game of 49, but it tends to offer more than simply a combination of both immensely popular games. Overall the game proves to be tactical, with a small dish of luck on the side. The simple appearance might scare off some potential buyers, but this is one of those titles where it’s a lot more than meets the eye. All in all, a very fun title guaranteed to bring you quite some pleasurable evenings.