BUSINESS GAME (MINE A MILLION) - Reviewed by Mike
This 1960's Waddingtons game was hugely popular in its day and placed the players in the position of mine owners who had to generate production at their pitheads in the mountains, transport it to the warehouse on the coast and ultimately transport it across the ocean to the USA, where its worth was converted from pounds sterling into dollars. The game got its title from the objective, which was to make a million dollars.
Interaction was based around the 3 different types of transport available to move the stocks around. These were lorries, capable of carrying 2 items of stock; barges, capable of carrying 5 items; and ships, capable of carrying 10 items. There were a restricted number of each types of transport available at any one time and after use they were replaced in the 'pool'. It cost a fixed amount to hire a lorry, but the real fun came when players started to operate barges and ships as different rules applied.
Barges cost £7,500 to hire per turn and had to be full to its capacity of 5 when starting its journey from the pithead or the warehouse. The player hiring the barge had only to have a minimum of 1 item in the barge and could demand stock from other owners to complete his load, charging them for the privilege. This often depleted either stocks or cash from the other owners, the only benefit being that stocks at the warehouse increased 4-fold in value when at the warehouse, or were converted into dollars in the States.
Similarly, ships cost £15,000 per turn to hire and sailed from the warehouse to the States. Their capacity of 10 had to include 5 of the lessee but once again taking other players stock and charging them could make up the cargo.
Turns consisted of selling stock, either from the pithead or the warehouse, hiring transport and then throwing a dice for stock generation and movement. On certain numbers an incident card was taken from a face-down pack and these could be either a help or a hindrance, some of the effects being quite devastating, such as "Fire at the warehouse, all stocks belonging to all players are lost".
So players had the choice of either building up their own stock and money to run their own exclusive operation or by constantly pinching other peoples stock to fund their movement. Those with large stocks and/or money became an easy target for the other players to raid, but at least they were increasing the value of the stock. Barge or Ship owners could come unstuck as barge routes were capable of becoming jammed when more than one was operating but standing charges still had to be paid even if movement was not possible.
This was probably one of the first games to introduce the concept of "Business Strategy" to the family boardgame as players had to build up their operation through a series of managed phases, i.e. lorry phase, then barges, then ships. When using the latter 2 types one had to ensure that sufficient cash reserves were available to complete the trip, catering for an unlucky distribution of dice throws. There was perverse joy in taking someone's stock to complete your own barge, leaving them unable to fill their own, but often they got their revenge later.