Publisher: Queen Games
Game Designer: Donald X. Vaccarino
Artwork: Patrick Rennwanz and Claus Stephan
Players: 2-5 players
Ages: 10 and up (I recommend high school age at least)
Playing Time: 30 minutes
Suggested Retail Price: $35.00
You cruise down the boulevard in your groovy new Caddy Eldorado, diggin’ the sounds of Janis Joplin howling on the radio as you check out your turf. The girls are working hard, drumming up business and your boys are in the backseat watching your back because life ain’t easy on the streets if you want to earn a livin’. A quick turn down Racine to scout the competition, you can never rest if you want to be the top dog and who doesn’t? It’s all about making the Benjamin’s… it’s all about greed!
Greed is the latest offering from Donald X. Vaccarino and if you’re a card gamer you’ve most likely played and loved his extremely popular Dominion series or you may know him from the Kingdom Builder series that he also designed. The game is for 2-5 players and is set in the late 1960’s as gangs are re-emerging in a powerful way, prior to the Gun Control Act of 1968.
This was a Kickstarter project that funded this past March and arrived to backers over the summer, I received my copy in early July which is very much on time for a June released Kickstarter.
The goal of Greed is to own as much share of the city’s wealth by any means, legal or otherwise, by the end of the 12th round. The game seats 2-5 players equally well and uses 12 card draw piles from which to draft, these piles are then passed clockwise after each draw until they are exhausted in the final round. With 80 cards in the box even a full 5 player game will not see all of the cards provided in play and this helps keep things fresh even after multiple games.
The 80 cards break down into three different card types, action cards, thug cards and holding cards. You will need to make decisions every round as to what cards will yield the best results for you with both a short term and long term vision in mind. You’ll want to weigh carefully grabbing an action card for example, that may be dependent on another thug or holding card that you’ve yet to grab because what you see in your draw pile now may not be in there the next time it passes over to you!
Thug cards allow you to gain money, perform additional actions and earn development markers for your holdings. Thugs are vital as they give you commodity icons, these are prerequisites for some holdings and action cards to be used to their most valuable extent.
These thug cards stay in play during the whole game unless you are forced to discard them and in some cases, you’ll want to because some of them incur a penalty if you still own them at the end of the game. Just like a street crime hood boss, you may need to cull some of your crew.
Holding cards represent your ‘legitimate’ businesses; this is where you make the most money in the game. Action and thug cards will make you a quick buck but you’ll need to invest that money into holdings and develop those over the course of the game to make lots of coin if you want to have the most cash in your stash in the final round. As you develop these holdings, marker tokens are placed on your holdings and these are each worth $10,000 at the end of the game. So you’ll want a well-developed business that will bring you maximum profit by the final round.
Action cards are generally one time use cards that are discarded after their action is carried out, some do have carryover actions for the next turn or return to your hand to be used again in a future round. These action cards are really useful at all times but can be especially handy in the early rounds when you need easy money; some action cards just give you free money. Who doesn’t like free cash right?
While the game is 12 rounds, only 10 of them are actual rounds of play with the first two being solely for drafting. Each player is dealt a 12 card hand from which they take a card and pass the deck clockwise every round, on the third round the players continue their one card per round draft and will now play a single card and any actions associated with that card. After those are complete, players resolve any carryover effects from cards in previous rounds before beginning the next round.
When you play your cards, everyone places them on the table at the same time face down. Then all of the cards are revealed simultaneously, the resolution order is determined by the small number on the bottom right of each card in ascending order.
As with all card drafting games, you want to choose cards that complement each other by stacking bonuses and benefits. Using your thug and action cards can make you some cold, hard cash, sometimes you’ll get to steal from other players and even directly hurt their holdings by removing markers. There’s a decent amount of “take that” card play in the game with some direct and indirect ways to hurt your opponents, the more players in the game the more chaotic it can get as players gang up on each other.
Some actions for example, allow you to cause all opponents to lose holdings and money or remove markers from their holdings, while others allow you to gain money based on how many holdings another player has or you automatically earn the same amount of holdings the player with the most has.
The components are pretty slick with some excellent and resilient cards that should hold up to most use without the need to sleeve but you can easily do that with your favorite brand of standard size card sleeves. The art is gritty, just not enough to make me super excited but it gets the job done. The money cards are made of the same high quality stock but won’t see the same amount of use and abuse the playing cards will, so there’s no need to sleeve these unless you really want to.
The holding markers are functional but after seeing the nice, beefy wood markers that came with the Kickstarter version, you’ll feel kind of cheated by the cardboard ones as they’re underwhelming by comparison but they get the job done.
Greed plays very easily and is explained well in a concise rulebook that has you up and playing in minutes. It won’t take much referencing once you’ve played a couple of games since the flow and effects of the cards are straightforward and easy to understand. This makes Greed a good starting point for beginning card drafters as the game is fairly light weight but with a good amount of strategy to keep you coming back for more. After delivering the game to Kickstarter backers, the retail version has finally made its way to store and online shelves in recent weeks.
A word of caution about Greed, the game box states the game is for ages 10 and up which implies the game is family friendly. Given the games adult theme and how it is evident in the art on several of the cards, I would not recommend this for younger children as the box states. With its mature theme and art, I wouldn’t recommend this to be played by children under high school age.
Greed is a solid, quick filler game that’s not difficult to learn or teach and the theme is handled very well. You definitely feel like you’re working several angles at one time to make your way on the street and the games run about 30 minutes or less. It’s not too light and not too heavy which makes it a solid filler for game night and plays well with two players but it does get better with a full house of five as more cards are out there to be used.
If you’re just starting out in the card drafting arena, Greed is a good title to check out. Multiple plays have yet to get stale for me. In fact, with the amount of cards in the game and the variety of combinations you can come up with to use them, I’ve had great fun trying different strategies with each game.
Company Website: Queen Games
Note: A review copy of this game was purchased by me.