This weekend the members of the International Movement for Monetary Reform gathered in our city of Utrecht for their yearly conference. It was an honour and a privilege to be in the presence of like-minded people.
Money Maker is a simple concept for a board game in practice. You play as a commercial bank in 16th Century Amsterdam. This is an interesting setting due to it being during the country’s Golden Period, and it’s also not a common setting for a game to take place. Your goal for the game is to make as much money as possible, similar to other games that involve money. You do this by using credit and cash that you earn in the game to buy new investments. As a player you buy more investments in the game to pay off credit that you used to buy them. When you pay these off it improves your credit rating. One of the reasons you want to do this, is it protects your earnings in the game when the inevitable run on the bank happens.
BUY, BUY, BUY, SELL, SELL, SELL
First let’s take a look why you want to buy investments in Money Maker. Each investment you buy helps you get credit on the board first and foremost, which then improves your credit rating as you pay them off, and helps you spread out your credit investments. Every investment comes in the form of a card; like a farm, bakery, or mill. The investments, once a turn, produce goods and services that you can sell to the market to make money. The money you earn can be used to buy more investment, pay off credit, or even be used to trade to other players if you deem it necessary to make a deal.
Know When to Run
As a game of Money Maker progresses an event occurs called a “bank run.” This occurs through various routes. Players may have hoarded all the currency, or even dice rolls can have triggered this unfortunate event as well. What this means for the players is all credits have to be paid off immediately, or they can face the evils of debtor’s prison. When in debtor’s prison, a player’s actions are severely limited and possibly push them to the brink of losing the game entirely. This function is one of the brilliant ways the game’s developer has balanced the game for players that try to push themselves too hard or fast into the lead.
Money Maker is definitely a game that takes one or two times of sitting down and playing the game to absorb in its entirety. As with all games, it also has some minor tweaks that I believe need to be addressed. There are areas or situations in the game that are not fully fleshed out in the rulebook. We had a hilarious situation involving the action cards and a strange set of occurrences that caused us to reach out to the games developer to settle the situation. I want to give credit to him on this, because it’s nice to know that even though the game is available he is still there accepting and giving feedback.
The game board itself is very well crafted, and there is a lot to take in that can only truly and fully be explained sitting down and playing the game. From the action cards, which bring another way to balance the game, or in other situations that tilt the game severely in one player’s direction. The game does seem daunting at first glance, but don’t let this deter you from adding it to your collection on regular game nights.
There are not many options in the board game world that can support six players with ease that don’t wind up taking on a full day to play. Both times when I was able to assemble a group to play, the game took less than two hours. I can honestly say Money Maker is a refreshing take on a money-and economy-based board game that won’t wind up ruining friendships, but strengthening them instead.