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High Society

High Society by FRED Distribution
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Manufacturer: FRED Distribution  Visit their site
Designer: Reiner Knizia
Players: 3 to 5
Time: 30 to 45 Minutes
Categories: Card Game
Mechanics: Auction/Bidding
Ages: 10 and up
Availability: Unavailable 
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Our Price:  $17.95
Reward Points: 1,795
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From the Publisher...

It is one thing to be the richest family on the block… it's quite another to flaunt it successfully. High Society pits you against your neighbors in a race to reveal the most blue-blooded family in your midst. To win, you must acquire all the trappings of great wealth, avoid as many of the pitfalls as you can and still walk away with a huge pile of cash at the end of it all. This Reiner Knizia classic makes a great travel game and an easy one to introduce to friends and family.

Originally published in 1995, High Society gained sufficient popularity to see it through 3 re-prints… none of them as beautiful as the latest FRED Edition. Artist Paul Niemeyer has done an outstanding job creating a theme to reflect the most elite fineries of the Gilded Age, and combined with FRED's commitment to quality components and card stocks, this edition of High Society will stand as the pinnacle of its production.

For 3-5 players over 10 years old, this 30-45 minute game can be played as a light filler between longer games, but we'll be honest with you: this one is very hard to put back in the box! The cards tells an exciting story and feature beautiful artwork from well-known Eagle Games artist Paul Niemeyer.

Game Summary:

Players bid against each other to acquire the various trappings of wealth, namely the ten luxury possession (positive-number) and three 2X multiplier cards; while avoiding its pitfalls represented by three cards altogether, including the gambling (-5) card; the thief (lose a possession) card; and the calamitous fire (lose ½ the value of all your possession cards) card. While bidding, though, players must keep an eye on their remaining cash – at the end of the game, even though all those positive-number cards might add up to a win, the player with the least money isn't even considered for victory. This dual-objective creates a nail-biting auction experience, and one that will surely become a favorite edition for a generation of gamers to come.

Game Contents:
55 Money Cards
10 Luxury Possession Cards
3 Recognition Cards
Instruction Booklet

Our Comments...

This Mini-Review by Mike Petty originally appeared in the May 9, 2004 newsletter:

High Society is a great bidding game from Reiner Knizia. It's simple enough to appeal to non-gamers, but there's enough to think about to keep a regular gamer engaged from start to finish.

Each player gets an identical hand of money cards (in various increments of $1,000,000) at the start of the game. A stack of tiles will be auctioned off, one per round, until the fourth red-bordered card comes up signaling the end of the game. Most cards are luxury items valued in points from 1-10. There are three misfortune tiles and three prestige tiles that double a player's score. What really makes the game, though, are a few twists in bidding and scoring.

Bidding on a prestige tile or a luxury item is fairly straightforward. The start player places a bid face up on the table made up of any of his money cards. Each player in turn will raise the bid or pass. The catch is you can't make change or take back any cards you've committed if you want to stay in the bid. Once you've used your lower valued money cards you find you have to jump the bid up to painful amounts just to stay in an auction. The last player to still be in the bidding pays his money and takes the tile. Any player who passes gets his money back to his hand.

Bidding for a misfortune card is very tense. Actually, it's best to consider it as you're bidding to avoid the misfortune card. Bidding starts as usual, but it's the first person to pass who takes the tile. At that point, all players who didn't pass in the bidding pay all the money they've placed out. One of these misfortunes cut your points in half. One is worth -5 points and the third one makes you lose one luxury tile you purchase. They all hurt the score, but it's sure hard to pay several million just to avoid taking one!

Money left in the hand doesn't add to your score at the end, but Knizia's best twist in the game is that the player with the least money left can't win! Other players add the points of their remaining luxury items and they figure in the effects of prestige and misfortune tiles. The highest score wins.

Once everyone knows the game, it can be done in 20 minutes. Due to order of the tiles, some games are even shorter (we actually had one end so soon that no one had any points at the end!). If you're looking for something to play at a family gathering with family members who aren't regular gamers, you can't go wrong with this one.

Read more information at the Board Game Geek website

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Customer Raves - Write your own Rave about this game!
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An excellent multi-player-bidding card game, a Knizia classic. It’s very easy to learn and will be well received by everyone, both gamers and non-gamers alike. If you enjoy a laugh when you’re playing games, you will have to check this one out. It’s well worth the investment, so I definitely recommend this game to anyone! You won’t be disappointed!

This is a great card game. In classic Knizia fashion, the person who spent the most money is automatically out. This means you have to be conservative and bid for enough to win but not so much that you go broke. Another fun twist is that when the bad cards come out you have to bid to not take it. Fun bidding game with a fair amount of strategy to it.

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