Reviewed by Dave Farquhar
Entrepreneur is an Australian business game that I was recently sent as a present by my brother-in-law, who is working over there. It is not, as far as I am aware, available in Britain, but probably should be. The purpose of this review is therefore either to make you jealous that you haven't got it, persuade you to order the game direct, or encourage one of the game shops to import it. I shall take my copy to Esdevium, and if I meet with any success, will let Mike know.
The game comes in a rectangular box, about 7"x4", containing a pack of cards, and score pad. These components are of high quality, with the cards humorously illustrated in colour. The degree of thought taken in the design is shown by the use of different pictures on the same type of card, thus for example, every 'scam' card does not appear with identical artwork. Another nice touch is that several spare cards are included, showing a character sat on a park bench, reading a newspaper, looking up and saying 'alright, who lost the card?'.
The game is for two to six players, and may be played singly, or in pairs. Each player receives five cards, and a turn consists of first drawing a card, then either playing or discarding one. The basic idea is to open a business, and play asset cards into it, thus increasing its value, while at the same time attacking those of other players. Cards cannot usually be played until a player is 'open for business', by playing said card down in front of him or her. This represents one business, and a player may only keep one open at a time.
Interaction is catered for by the play of cards into others' businesses. These include Fraud Investigations, problems with Trade Unions, or Bankruptcy. Their normal effect is to freeze the company, and thus the player, until discharged. Tax liability, when drawn, has to be played into one's own business. Other types of card include the ever popular 'nick $100,000 from somebody else's business', and the Entrepreneur Extraordinaire. When he appears, the owning player can do all sorts of exciting things, much to the other players' disgust. In order to protect the assets of a business from the other players, an incorporation card may be played. The business is then put to one side and is safe...except from other corporations, which may take it over lock, stock and assets.
The hand ends when the pack is depleted, or a 'take the money and run' card is played. Businesses are then totalled, and entered on a score sheet. The winner is the first to $1,000,000. This usually takes about one to one and a half hours.
There are few problems with this game. A hand may occasionally be boring for a player, especially if unable to open for business. Trading of cards is allowed, so this can usually be avoided, given the right offer. One or two rules are not totally clear, as is common to games with short rules, as not all eventualities are covered. Small problems aside, the strategies make up for any shortfall. The need to balance increasing the value of one's own business, while defending it from the opposition and attacking theirs makes play challenging. Most cards are valuable, and choices of which to play or discard can be difficult.
This is a very enjoyable, light game, suitable for families or gamers. Players often appear to have a thriving business, only to see it asset stripped, and under investigation for fraud. To give an idea of the flavour of play, comments made while the game was in progress included, 'its a high sighing, high swearing game'; 'I can't concentrate, I'm too annoyed' and my personal favourite from my wife...'what this game really needs is an 'F off!' card'.
The details of the game are: The Entrepreneur, A Kellerman Greene Production, PO Box 229, Pyrmont NSW 2009, Australia
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