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Stockpile board game creates fun with finance
Stockpile is an economic board game that combines the traditional stockholding strategy of buy low, sell high with several additional mechanisms to create a fast-paced, engaging and interactive experience. - photo by Ryan Morgenegg
Board games about economics are tough to create because finance is not the most exciting theme to design a game around. However, once in a while, a game comes along that breaks through the mundane.

Stockpile is a financial board game about the stock market that marries quick, player-interactive gameplay with deep thinking and hidden strategies for a fulfilling experience.

Accommodating two to five players and lasting about an hour, Stockpile places players in the role of stock market investors trying to accumulate the most money. Stocks in the game can go up or down, so players try to figure out which way a stock is going, get in while its good and get out when it gets bad.

Figuring out which stocks to purchase requires knowledge, and every turn each player receives a different piece of solid inside information about one stock from six potential stocks. Also, one stock is shown to all players with accompanying information about how it will perform. Armed with this information, players go about buying and selling their stock with knowledge of only two of the six stocks.

The rules are easy to understand and dont take long to master. There are also optional rules to add more flavor to the game such as playing as a special-powered character from the world of finance. The coolest part, however, is the unique core mechanic where players form piles of cards (stockpiles) from a market deck. The market deck consists of cards showing shares of stock, fees and ways to manipulate the market.

One stockpile is created for each player, and players bid against each other for the best piles. However, cards are added at random from the market deck as well as from players. Some of the stockpile cards are face up and face down so players never know what they will get. Players can strategically place negative cards face down in a pile full of stocks or positive cards that appear face up. This part of the game is filled with bluffing, excitement, disappointment and strategy.

The rest of the game requires making plenty of critical decisions. Should a player buy, hold or sell? If a stock goes bankrupt, players lose all of their stock certificates in that company. But stocks can also go up and split, doubling their value. At the end of the game the majority stockholders in each company get a hefty bonus so even if a player knows a stock is going down, he or she may want to hold on to it. An additional factor to consider is cash flow. Players must have a steady flow of cash to take advantage of buying opportunities.

The thing that most impressed me about the game was the absolutely stellar components. The money and stock certificates are not paper. They are durable glossy cardboard and look fantastic. The same goes for the market cards. Round everything off with hefty cardboard player boards, a double-sided game board and wooden meeples for an impressive presentation.

If the world of finance and economics sounds exciting, Stockpile is a solid choice. It is family friendly and well-designed.

For additional information about the game go to