The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Serious comments about Greed

Now that I’ve thought about it a bit more, I can put my finger on some of my qualms about Greed:

  • The number of turns doesn’t vary, and the first/last turn (and, to a lesser extant, the 2nd/penultimate) are limited. Glancing through the rulebook and components, I don’t think you gain any turns with fewer number of players. I think this is a flaw … economic games should have uncertainty about timing.
  • Like Wabash Cannonball, there’s a huge chunk of Greed strategy that deals with implicit collusion. That’s a great mechanic, but you don’t have too much control over it in Greed … the corporate board of directors is determined by whose asset each corporation takes. In Wabash, you determine this via auction. In Greed, the CEO determines which asset to take. So a player can get frozen out or on the board without having much (if any) control. (You offer one of your two assets each turn). I won my first game partially because I had a slightly better asset, so I got in on one of the company’s board. So … less control, but four times as long.
  • There weren’t enough banknotes, particularly 100s.
  • The end game was terribly anti-climactic, as you have to figure out how much each company is worth, divy up the proceeds, pay out, and then the person with the most money wins the big auction, and the person with the second most money wins the small auction. It took 20 minutes with no decisions.
  • If you don’t know (or guess) that the cards will force the market to crash at the end of the game, you are handicapped.
  • On the plus side, we made mundane deals, and I can imagine complicated deals. At it’s heart, Greed is a wheeling dealing accounting game, and we just scratched the surface. But (echoing my complaint from last night), you are seriously limited in what you can deal. What if you could trade assets? Then a company could offer another company money to take a useless asset of it’s hands. Hell, modern day sports teams do that.
  • More importantly, the most complicated deals involve deals across time, which can’t be enforced. However, imagine if public deals were enforceable. This opens up a huge range of deals. Actually, I think the most interesting idea would be that future deals are enforceable IF the CEO doesn’t change. So you could deal with a company, but have some worry if you think the CEO is about to jump.

Anyway, I’d still play again, but no way is this a purchase, even if it were $50.


Written by taogaming

May 30, 2010 at 9:02 pm

Posted in Strategy

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2 Responses

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  1. Three-player game has more rounds. We didn’t bother with the banknotes and went immediately for poker chips. The general flow of the markets needs to be disclosed to the new players.

    Other than that, I don’t know yet – I’ve played once, it was great fun, but I have some doubts about how the game stands play.


    May 30, 2010 at 9:40 pm

  2. I finally got to play this yesterday and I’m not sure what I think of it. My biggest disappointment is that it really wasn’t a negotiation game; at least, not the way we played it. That’s because the value of everything you trade is completely calculable, so everyone just determined the worth of the trade items and split the value between the two players. This not only sucked all the creativity out of the trading, but it was time consuming and annoying. Sure, you could try for more imaginative trades, but the game makes this tough because agreements can’t be enforced. You could do them, but it seems like the hoops you’d have to jump through to make everyone feel secure is way too much trouble. So all our deals were mundane, to use your word, and not particularly enjoyable.

    The other parts of the game–running companies and figuring out when to shut them down–are fun. But we also noted the capriciousness of who gets the big payoffs from opponents’ companies and the strangeness of the last turn. There was enough that was new and innovative that it was worth the three hours play time and will be played again, but I’m not at all sure it’s a keeper.

    Larry Levy

    June 6, 2010 at 11:49 pm

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