Shout your deal and trade your cards to ''corner'' the market. Be the first to get all the cards of one commodity, slap the ''Corner!'' board and you'll win the hand.
The reason this game has lasted 100 years is because it’s amazingly flexible.
You can play pit with audiences casual to hardcore, learn it in 2 minutes, play for 5-60 minutes with, and play with 3-8 players. This kind of flexibility has allowed this game to endure, and makes it a great choice for many occasions. It’s so flexible I carry a copy on me at all times, just in case.
It’s not always my first choice of what to play, but given all the circumstances in which I could play games, it’s definitely my most frequent choice.
Skill and Strategic Depth:
Most gamers seem to believe that this flexibility has come at a cost of depth. To an extent, this is true. Pit is no Race for the Galaxy in its choices, nor does it even have Dominion’s level of strategy.
These gamers underestimate the skills that can be cultivated in this game. Pit is entirely about reading signals from your opponents. This will sound familiar to hardcore Magic: the Gathering players out there, since signal reading is also a key part of high-level drafting.
Once you can adequately read your opponents’ choices and collections, you know what niche to go for, when to switch resources, and what not to give certain people.
After mastering those tactics, fun strategies can be employed. I often enjoy splitting 4 of one resource into 2 and 2, to make it harder for my opponents to collect and possibly encourage them to fight over a resource. I’ve even held onto one of each resource and then ransomed them off to great advantage (although I don’t recommend all the time, as your opponents can quit).
Also, every round 2 player gets 9 cards instead of 8. We usually play that the 2 left of last round’s winner get those. If playing this way, it is distinctly to your advantage to kingmake rounds that you won’t win such that you get 9 cards.
I have to admit it, I’m a Pit fan. There are few games that can get me yelling and laughing and gloating and whining all at the same time.
If you haven’t played it before, it’s a game of commodity trading where you try to collect all of one kind of commodity and then ring the bell before anyone else does. You can trade cards (facedown) with any other player as long as they are the same time of commodity (corn, oats, wheat, barley, etc.). Trading is done typically by yelling out the number of cards you want to trade (not the commodity name) and then looking for another player who will match your trade.
Commodities have different values, so going for higher priced ones will get you more points (although you may have competition since others are more likely to collect them too). The game ends after a number of raucous hands where one player’s summed point totals reach a predetermined number set before the game begins. That player is declared the winner (often to the dejected moans of the others).
To make things more interesting there is a Bull card and Bear card which can be included in any trade. Points are lost if either of these cards is left in your hand at the end of the hand. If you go out with the Bull card, however, you double your score.
Cards are flying around quite a bit during the game and after a few games, it’s likely some may get slightly creased or damaged — especially the Bear card which is often thrown down in disgust at the end of each hand. Not to worry though, things move too fast for people to notice before a trade is agreed.
Is there strategy? Some… hand management and watching for commodities that no one seems to want may be quick way to win. Also holding back single cards can often frustrate others who just need that one card to win the hand.
Some people find the game emotionally exhausting, but that’s what I love about it!
Pit is a game that completely surprised me when I first played it. I had heard about it, and the description did not sound like very much fun. But then after playing it, I definitely saw why many people enjoy it, and why it has its detractors.
The game play of Pit is straightforward. Each player is dealt a hand of commodity cards. The goal is to be the first person to have the entire set of a single commodity (every card in their hand the same). To do this, you’re trading with other players, but not for specific cards, but for sets of cards (trading some number of the same card type for that same number of a different card type with neither player knowing what the cards are they are receiving). This results in a loud and raucous trading pit, with cards flying back and forth as players attempt to monopolize a commodity and win the game.
In the end, I find Pit difficult to correctly classify. From my experience, the game works well for larger groups that like gaming for social aspects; a chance to spend time with friends and enjoy their company. Yet, when playing Pit, you’re not really able to socialize, as you’re frantically attempting to trade into a winning hand, with little regard for who you’re trading with. There is a sense of exhilaration as a game comes to the end, resulting from the near complete immersion a player experiences as they fight with each other to make their trades.
In this way, Pit shares a bit of its feel with a playing of Space Alert (while lacking its chrome, polish, and feeling of dread). Not the team aspect of Space Alert, but the experience of acutely focusing your attention into a short burst of barely controlled chaos. (These games would also appear together on a list of “Games I Hope the Table Next to Me Is NOT Playing”).
Other games I’ve found groups that enjoy Pit will also like are: Apples to Apples, Dixit, Telestrations, Incan Gold, and Cranium. I don’t think it is an accident that all of these games have simple rules. A major difference in my mind is Pit doesn’t allow for socializing during the game, but allows it after, while people are calming down from the adrenaline high.
People that I’ve found don’t like Pit seem to have a hard time allowing themselves to fully get into the craziness of the game. Strategy and tactics take a backseat to full out enthusiasm and energy. Inability, or lack of desire to “go all-in” on the game will result in the gaming experience being less than enjoyable.
Pit is far from my favorite game, but is fun to pull out once or twice a year (with the right group) to liven up an evening and get people interacting. It’s the final part that still surprises me, a game that doesn’t allow for socializing while playing yet still brings people together and becomes a social activity.
Pit is a surprisingly addictive resource trading/collecting game. You start with a hand of 9 cards, and your goal is to trade resources with other players, 1, 2, or 3 uniform resources at a time, until you have 9 resources of the same type. You score the value of those resources for the round and start a new round until one player reaches 500 points and wins. The number of resources in the game is equal to the number of players and there are exactly 9 resources of each type.
The game also includes the option for adding a bear and bull to the game, which would give two players hands of 10 cards. These can be traded with other resources. The bull is essentially a wildcard, scoring you bonus points if you have all 9 resources AND the bull card. The bear is a card you don’t want and can’t go out if it’s in your hand. You lose points if you didn’t go out and have the bear and/or bull in your hand at the end of a round.
This game plays well with any number, but the more the merrier.
The cards are pretty simplistic, but mine got very grimy after a lot of plays. So the quality of the cards don’t seem to be that great.
The deluxe version comes with a service bell you ring when you go out. This is much more fun than the regular version which just comes with a center card you slap.
-The bell in the deluxe version is fun!
-This game is loud and active
-Limited strategy, but a fun filler or casual game
-Card quality is somewhat poor
-This game is loud and active
When I introduced this to my gaming friends, we had about 15 people in one house for a weekend, and we woke everybody up to this game early in the morning. This is because trades are done by shouting the number of cards you want to trade; 1, 2, or 3. This game gets very loud and hectic.
I played this game with my family over holiday break. Everyone seemed to jump into the game without a lot of explanation of the rules. Immediately after starting a fantastic din rose up. Players trade cards with each other trying to collect sets of the same “commodity” (such as cattle). After a couple of minutes of yelling and passing cards, a winner emerged. We played several rounds before becoming too exhausted or agitated to continue.
As someone who loves concocting a strategy for playing games, I found the outcome to be too close to random. It seemed that the loudest or most stubborn players did best. It’s definitely a game for extroverts rather than introverts. While I see how this game could shine a light on some interesting aspects of how commodity trading and group dynamics work (Game Theorists may enjoy it), I found it too spastic to truly enjoy. Although, the rest of the group seemed to enjoy it.
A game based on the stock market might not be on everyone’s list of things to love these days, but Pit provides some fast paced, loud and exciting fun without affecting your net wealth!
The game is named after the trading pit of the New York Stock Exchange where traders use the open outcry system to trade, buy and sell stocks and commodities. Open Outcry is aptly named because both on the floor and in this game, that’s exactly what you’re doing… shouting over your neighbor to get your trade in! My wife actually loathes this game because it gets so loud, so buyer beware!
You get dealt a hand of cards representing commodities like wheat, barley and flax, each with a designated point value. With the opening bell (an actual bell is included in the special edition version) you start trading blindly with the rest of the players at the table until you’ve “cornered the market” with a hand of only 1 commodity, while trying to ditch the proverbial hot potato, the Bear card, which makes you lose points if you’re stuck with it! Once cornered, you then win the hand and score the points.
It’s a very simple game in the vein of Go Fish, but it’s got just enough of a unique spin on it to make for a great time and if you’re like my friends you’ll be saying “Looking good Billy Ray! Feeling good Louis!” before long!
The Chaos is what makes it Great
The noisy, fast paced, unsuspecting trades, are what appeal most to Pit’s audience.
The game play is pretty simple:
Offer up trades
Don’t get stuck with the Bear (nothing but bad)
Don’t get stuck with the Bull (unless you use it as a wild card)
First person to get a full set slams their hand on the bell.
There are no turns. Everything happens all at once.
When the bell finally goes off everything comes to a calm and you award the winner their points.
It’s an incredible game and probably one of the few that after a century can still hold itself (and well I might add) against the current creativity and resources available to modern games.
So why an 8 and not a 10?
1.) The original version of this game:
Gavitt’s Stock Exchange
Has artwork that I feel slows down the game BUT is way too classic to miss out on.
2.) Some people would prefer a quiet meadow filled with birds and butterflies while others would prefer to be thrown into the chaos and insanity that is Pit.
Flat Out, the game’s not for everyone.
That pirate one (you know, the one with the monkey)
The not-a-card-game star has started shining particularly brightly recently.
I’d like to introduce you to their uncle. The bachelor. The one who still has long hair, rides a motorbike and pulls you aside to tell you his newest dirty jokes when your Mum’s not around.
The black sheep of the family.
The one who is still as much fun as the younger generation, but is old enough to buy you beer.
Pit (especially our copy) isn’t much to look at. The cards are a counter’s dream: bent, taped-up rips, coffee stains, and a faint whiff of bourbon. But who has time to identify cards when someone is screaming “TWO! TWO! TWO!” right in your ear?
This game is played standing up. It’s not in the rules. It’s not even a house rule. It just happens.
One moment everyone is sitting down and peacefully swapping cards in a thoroughly civilised manner; the next everyone is on their feet, shouting their deals, screaming in frustration when they get the same cards back, throwing their ‘offer’ at the player from whom they just snatched cards, getting into the face of the player they KNOW has the last two cards they need.
All players are red faced and hyperventilating, and then you hear the deep breath of someone wanting to be heard over the bedlam:
And with that it’s over. People relax, sit back down (or crawl out from under the table); you pick up the cards that have ended up on the floor and deal out the cards again.
A few warnings:
1. Don’t play this game late at night when your housemate needs to be up for work in four hours and sleeps above the living room.
2. If your group includes the sort of people who will throw things when angry it’s probably best to avoid this game. Or tie them to the chair.
3. If you are going to get up close and personal with players make sure you’ve washed. (You’d think it would go without saying, right?)
4. Cut your nails.
This game is far simpler than the kinds of games I like to play, but that doesn’t make it bad.
In fact, this game is great to just pick up and play with a group of people. It takes about 30 seconds to explain the rules and another minute or so to pass out all of the cards. This is NOT a two player game, and is pretty uninteresting with three players.
This game is best with four or more players. The more players involved, the more strategic you need to be in order to win. In fact, if one player is dominating, the other players can avoid trading to lock that player out. This is unlikely to work with four players, as card distribution becomes a limiting factor.
I give this game a 6 or 7. This game is limited in that there is only one mechanic at play, and does not work well with small groups. This does work well with children and non-boardgaming spouses and friends.
We’ve played “PIT” many times and have always had a lot of fun doing so. Personally, I think that “PIT” is under-rated, because too many people I’ve talked to have only tried it once or twice, expecting to get too much of a thrill or more gratification for their gaming urges. The secret is to *NOT* take this game too seriously. Do not think that you can develop a grand strategy to outwit all the other players and become consistently victorious. This is not a game for tournament level competitions. I like to pull this game out early in the evening when we are still waiting for a few other players to arrive. You can play a couple of very quick rounds of “PIT” to get the energy flowing in the room. It’s LOUD, Fast Moving, simutaneous card swapping between every other player mechanic wakes people up by stimulating all of their senses. Thus it can enliven a boring party and serve as an ice breaker for the socially constipated. And then as soon as you are ready to begin some serious gaming, you can put away this single deck of cards in an instant without worrying about loosing any of the bits that would devalue your major investment. Keep it light-hearted and you’ll laugh a lot while playing PIT. And remember… the more players you have, the merrier will be the interactions.
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