RETRO: A Dire Desire to Acquire ‘Acquire’ Will Require an Entire Buyer Choir
Well, maybe not. But there are only so many words that rhyme with the title to this classic economic tile-placement board game.
Originally released in 1963 by 3M (yes, the people who make Scotch tape), Acquire is an economic game the likes of which Monopoly wishes it could achieve. While it still has the buying and selling mechanics you’d expect from an economic game, Acquire is almost primarily a tile-placement game.
The main goal of each player is to have the most money when the game ends. Rather than rolling dice to move around a board and buy up properties, players will take their turn placing a tile on the board from their hand of 6 tiles. These tiles are labeled with a letter and number, which will dictate on which space that tile will be placed. Players also start with a few fat stacks o’ cash.
On each player’s turn, they will place 1 of their tiles on the board in the noted space. If the placed tile is adjacent to another tile, a corporation is formed! The player who formed the corporation gets to choose which corporation is formed. Any further tiles placed adjacent to a corporation become part of that corporation.
If a tile is placed that would combine two already existing corporations, a merger occurs, where the larger corporation absorbs the smaller one. During these mergers, players with stocks in these companies stand to benefit. Whichever players have the most and second most stocks in bought out company will gain a bonus based on the size of the company.
Throughout the game, players will be using their money to buy shares of each of the companies. The cost of these stocks will increase as the corporations grow, but so does the potential bonus of getting bought out. Knowing when to buy stocks in a company and being able to anticipate (or even force) a merger is a great way to earn the big bucks.
Any other players with stock in that company have the option of immediately trading the stocks for shares in the enveloping corporation, cashing out, or holding onto them later in case the corporation gets refounded.
The game ends once each corporation is at least size 11 or larger, meaning no additional mergers could occur, or if one corporation reaches size 41. Once the game ends, all companies are bought out and players sell their stocks at cost. The player with the most money wins the game!
While Acquire is certainly a tile-placement game first and foremost, it still does a great job of getting that sense of economic growth and conflict. The tile-placement is a solid representation of individual businesses getting bought up by bigger companies and the merger mechanic is something I really love.
Like any good retro game, Acquire has been reprinted multiple times over.
Imagine seeing two corporations on the verge of a merge, and you don’t know who holds the 1 tile which will force the merger. But, you start seeing your opponent buying up tons of stock in the smaller of the two companies. Taking the hint, you follow suit and when they finally lay that tile to gobble up the defenseless business you both start planning which tropical islands you’ll be buying.
Overall, Acquire is a great introduction to the bloodthirsty world of business and finance.
And because I know you didn’t believe me about being made by 3M…
You really need to stop being so cynical…geez.
Thanks for reading!