SHARK - Reviewed by Mike

Category/Format: Business/Board

Stock and shares game which employs a system similar to Acquire but with some subtle changes, the first of which is that there are no stocks or money given out at the start. The board consists of the obligatory share index track, numbered 1-15 in 4 columns of the coloured shares, which all start at a value of zero, and a grid of 10 x 12 squares divided into 6 zones of 20 squares, zones being numbered 1-6. There are also spaces for the share certificates in their 4 colours.

A turn consists of 4 actions, 2 of which are compulsory. The players may buy up to a maximum of 5 shares or sell an unlimited number. They must then throw 2 D6, one a conventional one, the other containing one of the 4 colours and 2 white ones. The numbered die indicates into which zone a counter of the colour indicated on the other die must be placed. Placement is compulsory, unless the situation makes this impossible. Finally, the player may buy and sell again, subject to same restriction mentioned above.

An initial placement makes the share worth 1 and the player receives money for this, 1,000 Flying Turtles(aka FT). If the coloured die is indicating a white spot the player may choose which colour of counter to place.

In subsequent rounds if a player extends the chain of a certain colour the share price increases by 1 and they get FT equivalent to the new share price. So adding a red counter to a group of 3 red counters puts the price up to 4 and the player receives 4,000 FT for his trouble. However, and this is the crux of the game, all shareholders of the red share receive dividends calculated by multiplying the increase in share price by the number of shares held. It follows therefore that you may be assisting the other players with your action but as you have no choice, that's tough. There is also a restriction that once a share group reaches 7 its value does not increase with the addition of counters of the same colour. It can exist in other zones however and it is the combined total of these groups that dictate a share price. So a group of 7 reds in zone 1 and a group of 7 reds in zone 6 means that reds are valued at 14.

Several colours can exist in a zone but eventually there's going to be a battle with the larger force taking over the smaller one. Wise investors will sell their shares in the smaller force before this happens as the share price will tumble, or perhaps they will invest in the larger force, in anticipation of their worth growing. It should be noted that take-overs could also be actioned by counters from adjacent zones so the placement of the counters is all-important in this game.

All this makes for an interesting game which lasts about 90 minutes, the game having 2 possible end conditions, these being when either one share reaches 15 or, more likely, all the counters of one colour have been placed.

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