Acquire - Board Game Box Shot

Acquire

Acquire title

The Right Price at the Right Time — at the Right Price!
As a powerful real estate tycoon, there are only seven hotel chains in the world worthy of your attention. Using nothing but your wealth and wits, you must vie against other business magnates to manipulate construction and capitalize on mergers — buying, trading, and selling stocks in order to get the greatest return on your investments.

Acquire challenges you to pit your resources and resolve against other players in this high-finance game of speculation and strategy!

Acquire game in play
images © Wizards of the Coast

User Reviews (21)

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8
Professional Reviewer
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
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Sentinels of the Multiverse fan
9
55 of 57 gamers found this helpful
“A classic economic game! What Monopoly should have been!”

Acquire may not be as old as Monopoly, but it is older than me and I can see why it’s a classic. Finally, an economic game that is far better than monopoly could ever hope to be! I know a lot of people who have owned older versions are upset at the quality of the components compared to earlier versions and rightly so, but really, the game just rocks! Buy this cheaper version to play, and then go buy an older expensive version to store in your closet, so you can be an Acquire snob saying you have version 19xx something:-)

PROS
Easy to learn
Simple but deep strategy
No roll and move!
Interesting choices

CONS
Latest edition component quality quite bad

OVERVIEW
Acquire is a game about investing in hotel chains and getting the most money in the end, similar to Monopoly, but that is about where the similarity ends. The game does a wonderful job of creating the experience of investing in stock, simulating growth in value as the hotel chain grows, merging, and fighting to be primary stockholder for huge payouts on mergers. The gameplay is brilliantly simple, but the strategy and decision making can go way deep! It is done in such a way that the word elegance comes to mind. Even though there is luck involved in the way you draw tiles for this game, I at least get to choose where I want to move by placing a tile. Whereas in Monopoly, you have to move where the die tells you (roll ‘n move) which aggravates me.

GAMEPLAY
In this game you perform 3 simple actions: place a tile, buy up to three stocks, and then draw another tile. When I place a tile, I can decide if I want help grow a hotel chain(don’t have to own it), create a hotel chain, or merge a hotel chain. After that, I have to decide on which hotel chain on the board I want to buy stock. This is where things get interesting, because you know that if you own the most stock in a hotel chain that gets gobbled up in a merger, you’ll get some major moolah. Of course the bigger the chain is when it gets gobbled, the bigger the payout is. So, you may finding yourself trying to weigh out when you should merge the hotel chain if someone doesn’t do it first and whether or not you grow it. Again, there’s a risk involved, because if a hotel chain gets beyond 11 tiles, it is safe from acquisition. If that happens and you’re a major stockholder, then you’ll keep growing that “safe” hotel chain for the big payout at the end of the game. When mergers happen, you also have to decide if you should trade your stock in for the new hotel, sell your old stock, or keep it for when you decide to start the old chain back up again. The game has a lot of subtle strategy as you try to weigh out how you grow a hotel chain or merge it, based on how much stock you own in it or how much someone else has invested in it.

CONCLUSION
Acquire is just a beautifully designed game and is a lot of fun to play. This is a great way to teach your kids about investing in stock too! This game is so easy to play, I think it would appeal to casual gamers and possibly older family gamers. It should be a hit for avid gamers as well.

 
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7
Paladin
Herald
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BoardGaming.com Bronze Supporter
8
73 of 79 gamers found this helpful
“Abstract economy?”

In 2012 we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Acquire. Is it the age when a game that is still alive may be called a classic one? I think so.

Acquire is a clever marriage of two game genres: economic games and abstract strategies. From a mechanics point of view it can be recognized as a three-dimensional area control game. Yes, 3D, no kidding here. The first two dimensions are simply length and width of the board. The third one is virtual – it is money invested in a given fragment of the board.

As for an economic game the rules are very simple and easy to learn. As for an abstract strategy they are just of average size and complexity. The game plays fast and the rules become intuitive to the players after just one play.

The gameplay goes as follows: players put square tiles on the board. Each tile has its own board square where it may be positioned, so each player has their choice limited to the squares marked on the tiles they own. As the game progresses, clusters of adjacent tiles appear. Those clusters represent hotel companies. Players are then allowed to buy shares of those companies effectively building the third dimension of the clusters. When two clusters touch each other they merge, bringing bonuses to the players who had most shares of the merging companies. Once a cluster becomes large enough it can only attach smaller ones to itself but it is immune to being “devoured” by bigger companies. The goal is to acquire (!) most wealth by buying right stocks in right time taking profits from merges and growth of the companies.

There are two drawbacks of this game: First – there is no possibility of trading stock between players. Second: sometimes a player has no good tile to play in their hand just because of bad luck. Fixing the first issue by a kind of house ruling pushes the game from the realm of abstract strategies more to the domain of economic games. Fixing the second one (which I strongly recommend for more advanced players!) reduces the luck factor.

Yet all in all even in its standard version it’s a very interesting, challenging and entertaining game. I wish it next 50 years of prosperity!

 
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5
Gamer - Level 5
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
6
61 of 66 gamers found this helpful
“LLL - My Introduction to Acquire”

Acquire is an extremely nostalgic game for me. My mother’s side of the family is a bunch of avid classic game players, of which Acquire was their crown jewel. On big family gatherings, my mother and her three brothers would always play at least one game and the sibling rivalry would take center stage. I remember the day when I was finally allowed to play this game with them; my uncles confident that I wouldn’t make stupid plays because I was just learning or too little to understand the impact of my decisions. I lost of course, but I was in!

One of my uncles also made his own computer version of the game using GW Basic back in the early days of computers, and to this day my mother still plays that old software with the two color screen. You type in the first letter of your stocks: ‘LLL’ for three Luxor, or ‘AFW’ for American, Festival, and Worldwide. It cracks me up, every time my parents get a new computer I have to go setup the old Acquire game.

Alright, story time behind us. Acquire is a solid, classic game of managed risk. You invest in hotels as they grow in size and value, represented by tiles on a board, and try to keep your opponents from taking your number one stake in the company as it grows. Of course you can also merge hotels to change the market and face of the board to suit your bid for the most wealth.

Replay: Replay is really good due to the tile board mechanic. While you may want to grow your own company, you need to have tiles adjacent to the ones currently representing it. You also have a huge benefit when you can start new companies or merge existing ones based on your tile options. Without tiles, this game would be a rote math exercise.

Components: The original version had nice wooden tiles and solid, if dated, graphic design. The recent versions of the game are adequate to play but there is very little visual appeal when comparing to modern worker placement games or artwork on collectible card games. Thankfully, nobody has ruined the classic game by glitzing up the components (cheesy electronic boards with poor British accents of butlers, etc.) but you’ll be purchasing this game for the game play.

Learning Curve: High. My opinion of the learning curve may be jaded by my youthful introduction to this game (see above), but this is not going to be an intuitive game to most. It also can be highly frustrating when you see your opponents doing things that you simply can’t due to the tiles available to each player.

Defense:
Looks old and stuffy – it is old, but a solid game and not worth dismissing out of hand.
I get so frustrated! – yeah, I have to agree with you there, but it still has that family charm despite the frustration.

Personal:
I purchased a newer version of the game for my mother’s birthday a few years back to avoid doing the whole old computer software setup thing (see above). She of course asked my sister, my wife, and my father to play with her as part of her birthday celebration. The game was a little too competitive for my father and wife (not game players), but it continues to be a game of fond family memories and a classic that can hold its weight in the modern resurgence of the board game.

 
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8
Intermediate Reviewer
Vanguard
Tinkerer
Novice Advisor
7
60 of 65 gamers found this helpful
“When to switch strategy?”

Acquire looks really dull when you just look at the gameboard or even watch some people playing. Games about shares and money doesn’t look as fancy as games where you kill trolls or build castles. But make no mistake, this game is REALLY intense, and the gamers that learned to love it will see through the not so fancy interface.

The game itself is really simple, the gameboard consist of rows and columns and each position corresponds to a tile. All tiles are shuffled, some starting tiles are put on the board and each player get some random tiles. During your turn you place one of your tiles on the gameboard, which means building a hotel in that spot. Now, the bizarre and not-so-realistic-but-nice-game-mechanic is that hotels that are geographically linked all belong to the same hotel chain (so as soon as two tiles are back-to-back they form a new hotel chain, and whoever form a new chain get a bonus share in that chain). This means that if you place a tile that joins two existing hotel chains the bigger one will buy the smaller one and grow. This is the key mechanic in the game.

When you’ve placed your tile you may buy 0-3 shares in any hotel chains currently on the board. The price will go up if the chain increase in size, and the worst thing possible in this game is to run out of money, so you want to buy wisely.

How do you get new money? Well, when a hotel chain is bought, the players with the most shares in that chain will get compensated in cash, and after that they can either sell their shares or trade them for new shares in the bigger chain (at a 2-1 ratio). The trick here is that it’s only the two biggest shareholders that get compensated, so you really want to be in lead when a hotel chain merge. You can only buy at the most 3 shares on a turn so you can’t compete everywhere, you must chose which chain/chains to compete over.

The game ends when one chain have grown beyond a certain number or when all hotel chains in play are safe from merges (when they’ve grown enough they cannot be merged and are considered safe). in the end the owners get a final share bonus and end the game by selling of their shares to the bank. Most money wins.

This brings the other really interesting aspect of the game. In the beginning of the game you want to own small chains that is merged with bigger chains, earning you cash to buy more shares. In the end game you want to own shares in the really big chains for big cashout in the end. Whoever can identify when it is time to change the strategy usually wins the game. It’s intense to say the least.

The only real downer with the game (except that my wife refuse to play it) is that quite a lot depends on how lucky you are when you draw your tiles. It’s worth ALOT to have the power to merge two chains or not. It can be really frustrating if your tiles does not give you power to affect the gameboard in a constructive way. With some luck you can start a chain, merge it, start it again and so on.

I don’t think this game is for everyone. It seem to appeal to the more geeky gamers. Try it out, it’s really good, a true classic. But don’t be surprised if it’s not your cup of tea. But it sure is mine!

 
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5
8
36 of 39 gamers found this helpful
“Tried and true ...”

This was my first stock game. I enjoyed it on my first play and I think I’ll always enjoy it since it introduced me to this type of game.

In acquire you are building up hotels (at least most versions call them hotels), and you are buying stock in those hotels. At the end of the game you get to sell your stock back and see who has the most money. Each turn you will add one tile to the board. If the tile makes a new group of tiles you choose a hotel that isn’t in play yet and add it to those tiles. For starting up the hotel chain you get a free stock in that hotel. You then are able to buy up to 3 stock in any company or companies that are on the board. The value of the stock depends on the size of the company which is based on the number of tiles that make up the company. At the end of your turn you draw a tile to bring your hand back up to 6. The interesting part comes in with mergers. If a tile is placed that attaches to two or more companies everything gets merged into the company with the most tiles. It is very key to be involved in mergers in the beginning and you need to have stock in the company that is being dissolved. Because the company going away will pay the majority and minority stock holders a handsome bonus, as well as giving those stock holders the option to sell, keep or trade up their stock. This is important because mergers are the only time you can get more money. If you run out of money for too many turns it is hard, if not impossible, to catch back up.

I give this a high rating because it is fun having to manage who has what stocks while everything is hiding. There is a lot of tense decisions trying to decide which company you need to stay up with to keep some majority and minority holdings. I couldn’t go up to a 9 or 10 because there is one major flaw. If you aren’t lucky enough to draw any merger tiles you are at the mercy of those that do. Sometimes this means companies that you need to merge in order to keep pace with everybody won’t get merged. This isn’t a huge deal breaker because it doesn’t happen all too often, but it does happen enough to cause some frustrations.

 
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Gave My First Grade
10
65 of 71 gamers found this helpful
“The Game that Monopoly Should Have Been”

(Disclaimer: This review was first posted on BoardGameGeek’s website)

Acquire is a long-standing, respected, and highly regarded board game that has seen its share of re-printings and re-publishings. This 90-minute game plays from 2 to 6 players. I was fortunate enough to find an almost complete and basically unplayed box at a charity thrift store; it is the 1966 3M bookshelf version. This gem was designed by Sid Sackson and is an economic game of mergers, stock purchases, acquisitions, and payouts. My partner and I embarked upon the hotel business one weekend and have since played it another time, too!

The components are old-fashioned plastic and simple cardstock; while not gorgeous by any stretch of the imagination, they are functional and sturdy. The stock certificate cards are not shuffled and if handled carefully should stay in good shape. I might be tempted to create my own stock certificates and perhaps sleeve them if I find the original ones to begin to deteriorate. The board is grooved and works really well to hold the tiles and withstand jostling and table movement. The rules are printed on the inside cover of the box top, are adequately produced, and very easy to follow. We followed the rules for 2-players where the “Bank” competes for shareholder bonuses after a merger and at the end of the game.

Looking over the board and your hand of six (6) tiles quickly gets very interesting. Should I start a new corporation? Should I add tiles to an existing corporation or buy stock first while it is cheaper? Should I merge 2 or more corporations now or after acquiring more stock? Lots of fun and thinky challenges are presented in this game. I must say I didn’t overthink too much on this first play as it was a learning game. I enjoyed making things happen and seeing how the money would fall. I was the only one who triggered mergers the entire game. My partner seemed to focus on diversifying and increasing his stock portfolios.

The game offers the option of playing with secret or open information. We played with open information as we were learning and did not want the added burden of guessing how much the other person had (or worse, keeping a mental track of their money and stocks). I think it is great that it allows this option; I do feel that in any game with equally good players that this “memory” element detracts from the fun as the person who better tracks what everyone else is doing will have an advantage. Personally, I don’t think this game needs anything to make it more interesting or fun.

We also liked being able to turn in our unplayable tiles at the end of our turn. This happened more frequently as the board filled up. I also enjoyed the risk-taking of spending all my money to buy stock and playing against the bank for shareholder bonuses. The challenges, risks, wins, and failures were all exciting, engaging, and fun!!

With seven corporations to keep track of, you are always busy planning and predicting your future plays and turns. As the board fills up, you can begin to predict when to best end the game and get the final payouts. I also want to add that this medium-weight game is complex and a bit brain-burning, but has such simple and elegant rules and gameplay that it is very easy to understand and play well from the first!!

The winning conditions are simple: the person with the most money at the end of the game wins! The end game is triggered by 2 different conditions: 1) A corporation with 41 or more tiles on the board, or 2) All existing corporations are safe (i.e., have 11 tiles or more). This alone does not end the game; each player has the option to call the end of the game on his/her turn once one of the two conditions have been met. Of course, I called the game end on my turn because I wanted to have the ability to purchase as much stock as possible before the final payouts. Again, the bank competed against us in the final shareholder bonus payouts, but we both had a good amount of stock and beat the bank each time!! We sold our stocks back at the current price and totaled up our cash to determine the winner.

I would venture to say that this game has staying power because of the randomness of the tile draws and the competition against the “bank” (in a 2-player game). It plays 2 to 6 and I could see a really tight and more challenging game with more players as it would require you to think on your feet and make almost every decision count. The luck and risk-taking factors tie in to the stock market theme perfectly!

Well the paper money is beginning to crinkle after just one play and I could see it become annoying with more plays. I am almost tempted to go pencil and paper, but I will probably invest in poker chips which take up less space. Also, the “Information Card” is tiny and not too easy to read. I already made my own larger and more colorful “Information Card” on MS Excel. The printing on the tiles is not always perfectly centered and the tiles, while very functional, are pretty ugly. :yuk: I may be tempted to “pimp” out the corporation tiles in some way. However, I must emphasize that the game is so enjoyable and good that you forget about how unattractive it is altogether. It does NOT detract from the fun and enjoyment at all!!

Well, the competition against the bank is a bit difficult, especially when the bank might draw 12 stocks against you. I believe that with more than 2 players you have a better indication of whether a merger will benefit you with a bonus or not. A couple of times the bank won bonuses that were devastating, because we had invested heavily in that corporation’s stock. I do think a house rule is in order here, especially when both players have purchased all or almost all the stock in a corporation. How can the bank win with 12 stocks if I have 10 and my opponent has 12? There are only 25 stocks per corporation, so in reality there are only 3 stocks left for that corporation. I think the bank should not play if the number of stocks left for a corporation are less than what the two players have individually. I might try that out if my partner agrees with me.

The beginning of the game before the board starts filling up and corporations are formed is a teensy bit boring and tedious, but changes quickly enough.

We were really blown away by Acquire and I was totally and pleasantly shocked by the game. It is engaging, challenging, elegant and easy to learn and play, brain-burning, and fun!! I rated it a solid 10, only my second one thus far!!

 
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8
BoardGaming.com Beta 2.0 Tester
Went to Gen Con 2012
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9
97 of 107 gamers found this helpful
“One of my Fav. Games”

Acquire is currently my favorite game, which is odd I think because there is not much to it and also because this game is almost 50 years old! Here’s how you play one of my favorite games…

The components are made of a board with a grid and cardboard pieces that represent spots on the board (such as D4 or A7) and the different hotels you are buying stock in. Nothing fancy, but tried and true.

Game play consist of players playing their tiles from their hand to create one of the seven hotel chains. Whenever two tiles are laid adjacent then a hotel is created, pending one of the seven is available. As more adjacent tiles are added to a hotel that hotel’s stock and price go up.

Once a hotel chain is on the board and it’s your turn you are able to purchase one of its stocks. During your turn you can purchase up to three stocks. However, while purchasing stocks you want to keep in mind how much money you have. You don’t want to run out of money either, so how do you get more money?

Money is gained when a larger hotel overtakes a smaller hotel. This is done with two or more hotels share an adjacent tile. Whichever hotel was larger before that tile was placed absorbs the smaller one. Once this is done the players whose stock has been bought out can get some cash back. Bonuses are given to the largest and second largest shareholder, and everyone with shares can sell their stock for cash, trade them for 2:1 for stock in the acquiring hotel, or simply keep them for later.

At first it will seem like the goal of the game is to have stock in the largest hotel, and if you’re not careful you can get swept up in this idea, but the true goal is to have the most money at the end of the game. Strategy may be best based on being diverse over having a lot of stock in one large company. Often this will result in you not having any money through most of the game.

The game will end once a hotel reaches a certain size or if there are no more tiles that can be played.

Notes:
- There is an aspect of this game that would seem it is left up to luck. You need to get the right tiles to grow your hotels and merge them with the others at just the right time. However, I think that the luck is minimal as the same guy in our group wins a majority of the time.
- We’ve found this game to be hard to explain to people. As we’re explaining their eyes just start to gloss over and they have gone to some other place. That’s when we tell them to just sit down and play. It’s much easier to play then explain. We don’t even try any more.
- Even though I love playing this game, I usually get rolled over by my buddy who is a relator. So if that’s you, this could be the game for you.

 
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4
USA
I play yellow
7
88 of 98 gamers found this helpful
“scrabble and monoply lovechild?”

Lol no not really but from first glance that’s what it looks like. This is a fairly old game that is very fun and easy to learn/play. I rated components lower because I’ve played the original print of the game. the tiles interlock with the board and so do the hotel tokens which are way cooler and nicer than the cardboard you get from the newer print. the money in both versions are paper and not very good. However the stock certificate cards are far nicer in the newer print.

Players have a set of tiles that they draw randomly from a bag and place them each turn to start new hotels, build onto existing hotels or even merge hotels. Whenever two or more tiles touch (not diagonally) a hotel is formed. The person who completed the hotel gets 1 stock from the hotel that they chose to build. They choose from 7 hotels (2 cheaper 3 medium and 2 more expensive types) they they get to buy 3 stocks of any hotel including the one they just founded.

This goes on until the end of the game when stocks are sold based on how big a hotel is (based on how many touching tiles) and bonuses are given to each hotel’s majority and minority owners.

If at any point during the game 2 hotels that are already founded touch each other a merger happens. The larger hotel devours the smaller hotel and the smaller hotel’s majority and minority shareholders get bonuses based off the size of the hotel and then they can either keep shares and hope that same hotel gets built again, sell the shares for the cost associated with the size of the hotel, or roll shares 2:1 into the hotel that devoured it. However there are only 25 shares of each hotel and that’s where the strategy comes in.

I haven’t played it in quite a while but it is still one of my favorites. Easy to learn – Hard to master.

 
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2
9
42 of 47 gamers found this helpful
“A classic game that is nearly perfect”

As many others have noted, Acquire is a game designed by Sid Sackson, who also authored another classic game, Can’t Stop.

Many have lauded the large box format from Avalon Hill, but you have to go back to the early 1960′s to see the game in it’s orginal format, that of a Bookshelf Game from 3M. The entire line of games from the 3M Booksehelf series were designed to stand on end like a book on the shelf, complete with booklike spine art. Early editions used wood parts, while most of the versions that followed were of plastic, before the cardboard versions were produced.

I won’t go into the game mechanics since that seems to be well covered.

My personal opinion is that while Acquire says it plays up to 6, the truth of the matter is this is really plays best as a 3 or 4 player game. My preference is for 3 players, but 4 works almost as well. Do not try to play with 6, it can be painful for those who are not able to get in on any of the early mergers, as they will not be able to do anything after a while. I understand there were some add on rules to address this issue, but I have not seen nor played with those rules.

This issue does not detract from my high praise for a great game, just be sure to play it with 3 or 4 players.

 
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3
Critic - Level 2
Amateur Reviewer
7
28 of 39 gamers found this helpful
“Easy to learn, hard to master”

This game is fairly easy to learn but, just like the “real” stock market, difficult to master. (4/5) One is never sure what is going to happen and the entire game can change directions very quickly. At a certain point, however, it’s obvious which “company” is going to annihilate the others and at that point it’s just a mad scramble for a piece of the action. Each game is fun and unique, however, adding a lot of replay value. 5/5

I had the good fortune of playing this game at a gaming convention a few months back. The gentleman we were playing with made a custom board for the game with really nice stone tiles and a board with inlaid pieces.

That said, when I saw the “real” game board I was sorely disappointed. The quality of the pieces in this new, revised edition of the classic is passable but disappointing. 3/5

 
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5
Smash Up: Trickster Faction Fan
USA
9
62 of 101 gamers found this helpful
“The game that got me into gaming...”

I love almost everything about this economic-centered game. Perfect balance between strategy and luck (No escaping the need to draw useful tiles). This game bounces well between serious strategists and family game nights.

The concept is easy – Buy stocks and try to increase the value of your holdings through expansion. Expansion can be done through the laying of tiles, but the mergers and acquisitions are what really gets the group going.

There are only two things that prevent me from giving this game a perfect score: 1) My game from the 1980′s has solid, plastic, high quality components. I would love to “update” my game, but it has been a long time since a version has been out with high quality components, and 2) I have played this game sooooo many times, I now look for other similar games (ie Airlines Europe)to get my fix.Hmmmm, if anyone is listening, what about an expansion?

 
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2
Gamer - Level 2
7
21 of 39 gamers found this helpful
“A True Classic”

I introduced this to a group relatively new to modern gaming recently and totally changed their outlook. Bowled over by new games like Merchants and Marauders they were not expecting much. How can a game “so very old” be so good was the gist of their attitude. Sid Sackson is the answer. He was a genius at inventing games with simple satisfying mechanisms in this case a stock portfolio building exercise around the hotel industry: Predict and influence which chain will benefit from a merger. The Hotel chain theme is not really that important but the elegant simplicity of the mechanic is. This version is not the prettiest, there were some nice versions with plastic pieces in place of the cardboard in the past, but it has a clean simplicity and is perfectly satisfying to play with. It has the classic number of hotel chains but one of them has been re-named Sackson in honour of the games maestro.

 

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