Game Length: 90 minutes
Best enjoyed: With 3 to 5 economically-minded players who won’t be put off by something a little dry.
Acquire is a classic game that was first published in 1964. That’s right – this venerable game is over 50 years old! Despite its age, Acquire is an excellent game, though its visual presentation leaves a lot to be desired – the current Avalon Hill edition’s drab grey-on-black colour scheme doesn’t help an already bone-dry game.
In Acquire, players must accrue as much net worth as possible. They do this by two means – buying stock in companies that gradually grow in size and become more valuable, and by getting cash payouts through having stock in a company when that company is ‘acquired’ by a larger company.
Companies grow when players place a tile on the board next to an existing tile. As they grow, their stocks increase in value. If two companies grow such that they meet, a merger occurs, and the smaller company of the two disappears. This may sound bad for the investors of the smaller company, but it’s actually excellent news, as the only way to regain money in Acquire is to have a company you own stock in bought out in this way! Without extra cash, you won’t be able to keep buying stocks and even if you invested heavily in the largest company on the board, you will end up losing the game in the long run.
There are two ways to play this game – with each player’s stocks hidden or revealed. I prefer to play with hidden stocks, as the suspense of finding out whether you are the majority shareholder when a merger occurs (and are thus entitled to a hefty payout) is one of the most exciting parts of Acquire, but some may prefer to play with stocks revealed – especially since if you wrote everyone’s moves down, you would know exactly how much stock each player had.
Acquire has definitely stood the test of time and is recommended not only for being a very enjoyable game, but also a demonstration of how even a dull-looking game can prove exciting when you actually get down to playing it.