Cryptocurrency – Capital Gains Studio – Review

"We laughed at the cards, relished our little victories and others’ little defeats, and came away satisfied from the first turn to the last."

Theme and What is it?

In the real world, you’ve heard of Bitcoin, you may have heard of Litecoin or Ethereum – all are cryptocurrencies, digital currencies not tied to governments or central banks. Are they real or are they a scam? This is Cryptocurrency, a game centered around acquiring, trading, and influencing the markets for virtual monies. Will you strike it rich mining the blockchain or will all those digital coins found to be a worthless scam intended to grab all your money? You’re the CEO of a startup and build the right team to navigate the ether and rule the world!

Gameplay Mechanics

Goal

The goal of this game is to accumulate the most money (Wonga) after cashing in your valuable virtual coins and other sources.

Setup

Each player is given 3 Interns and 6 Wonga (money).

Arrange the 4 cryptocurrency Info boards and Rumor cards are arranged around them.

You place the value markers and assigned number of currency tokens for each cryptocurrency on the Market board to initially seed the virtual marketplace.

Shuffle the deck of Experts and draw the top 5 and place face up on the table.

Determine who is the first player and give him the First marker and give the player to his right the Last Player marker.

Turns

Actions in a given phase start with the first player, except the Rumor Phase.

In the Prep Phase, Rumor cards are drawn, loans may be taken (max 2 at any given time), and each player has a chance to acquire a new employee to help build your virtual empire.

In the Action Phase, players can either Mine or Trade.  When performing the Mine action, a player exhausts their employees to attempt to gain coins of select cryptocurrency by drawing a Success card from the Hash deck. Success means acquires coins while failure gains you nothing.  When performing a Trade action, a player exhausts their employees to buy or sell coins available on the market card. Either of these actions affect the value of the currency (buying increases value, selling decreases value). This phase ends when all employees of all players are exhausted.

In the Upkeep phase, players refresh their Expert employees, pay interest on loans, and may also pay off loans as well.

Finally, in the Rumor phase, players place the rumor cards on the Info boards, either face up or face down, depending on the Rumor card to the left of it.  When there are fewer than 4 players, the other Info boards can cards pulled directly from the Rumor deck and placed on them. Effects of newly placed face up Rumor cards are applied immediately for the cryptocurrency.

Once all of the of Rumor card slots on the Info boards are filled, the end of game events are triggered and players cash in their coins to see who has the most money.

Additional Info

The Expert employees have different costs in Wonga and abilities to help a CEO achieve dominance in the world of virtual finance.  Abilities range from increasing the size of your team to acquiring more coins when you mine for them.

Whenever a Rumor card is turned face up, its effects are applied immediately.  If any face up Rumor card is turned face down, no additional effects occur.

The game flow for the Basic game is described above.  There is also an Advanced version played by flipping the Info boards over and using the Event cards.  These cards are played at the beginning of the Action phase, causing immediate or continuous effects for the players.

Initial Impressions

I really liked this game. My boys (teens) and I really got into how the mechanics worked for the marketplace and taking on the role of investors in the dog-eat-dog world of finance (we’re just competitive like that).

Game Build Quality

Though there is a lot going on in that relatively small box, there are only a few types of components: cards, boards, and tokens/markers.

There are a variety of cards, material weight and size, but they make sense and are sturdy, ready for lots of play.

The boards are thick, heavy cardboard with quality finishes.

The heavy card stock tokens and light cardboard stock markers are on the lighter side because the number of items needed for playing the game.  I wish they could’ve been a little heavier like the other components but that’s a trade-off in weight, box size, and cost.

Artistic Direction

We all loved the art. Characters are great, plenty of humor with their cards.

One of the boys’ favorites is Black Dr. Phil-Thanos (Diversifier) whereas I’m more partial to the Tech Whiz or Replicator. The Info boards and coins matched up well with their currency theme. The Rumor and Event cards though were kinda bland compared to the rest of the game’s pieces; I think they could’ve been tied in with the theme a bit better.

Fun Factor

Fun was had by all for a variety of reasons.

The suspense of drawing cards from the Hash deck without exhausting enough employees for a guaranteed Success. Seeing where the different currencies would go just turn to turn. Doing whatever we could screw over the others by manipulating the market.

Age Range & Weight

I believe 14+ is right for this game.

It could be picked up by younger players just for learning the rules and such, but I put it higher because the advanced nature of the game’s topic and theme. The rules are straightforward and complexity of performing turns/actions is low. The game went slow for us only because we all took time trying to plan ahead.

Conclusions

We can’t wait to play the game again. Aside from having a little difficulty understanding the game setup, this game was easy to pick up and play. We only referenced back to the rulebook a couple of times for clarification, otherwise we chugged right through to the end. We laughed at the cards, relished our little victories and others’ little defeats, and came away satisfied from the first turn to the last.

A bonus to this game was that I was able to talk with them about financial markets and how they worked, along with things like cryptocurrencies as well. This game certainly could be used an easy tool to introduce financial market concepts to kids and adults alike.