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Acquire is a classic business strategy board game that has been going strong since 1962. Using nothing but your wealth and wits, you must vie against other business magnates in this game of mergers and acquisitions – buying, trading, and selling stocks in the world's biggest hotel chains in order to get the greatest return on your investments.

Acquire was designed by Sid Sackson in 1962, and has been among the most popular board games in its many versions since those days. Part of its long-lasting appeal is its simplicity and the ease in learning how to play it. The game comes with just a board, tiles, company counters, stock cards and cash. And the gameplay all boils down to just two actions: placing tiles and buying shares.

Although the basics of Acquire are pretty simple, there is a fair amount of challenge in deciding where you place your tiles and which shares you buy. Since there are other players trying to make their millions as well, you have to be very strategic in your decisions to ensure you profit from them much more than your competitors do. It wouldn't be in your best interests to hand another player a cool grand!

Game Play

Placing tiles is how you start, grow and merge hotel companies in Acquire. And the board is a representation of the "business playing field", where you can see how each hotel chain can grow and merge. When you create a group of 2 or more adjacent tiles, you are in essence starting a new company. When you place a new tile next to an existing company, you are growing that company. When the tile you place connects 2 separate companies, you have merged those 2 companies.

The other part of the game is buying shares. Having shares in a company means you have partial ownership of it and can profit if it grows or merges. When a company grows, its share value grows as well, benefiting its owners. And when a company is acquired by a bigger company, its owners get bonuses and can trade in their stock in the defunct company for shares in the larger company.

The last 2 paragraphs describe pretty much all the mechanics in the game, but what makes Acquire so interesting is the amount of strategy required to be able to use those simple mechanics effectively. You'll have to worry about liquidity; buying lots of shares early is good, but if your company doesn't get merged, you end up with not enough cash to use later on. You'll also have to worry about majority shareholders; the player with the most shares in a company gets a huge bonus when that company gets merged.

There will be a lot of maneuvering in each game. Players will be jockeying to be the majority shareholder in companies that are about to get merged. You can even withhold the crucial tile that would merge two companies until you are in a position to take advantage of that merge. The amount of strategy involved is surprising considering the simplicity of the game rules and objectives.

There are a couple of issues with the game though that might detract from the enjoyment of playing it. Unfortunately, ingame cash is both the main method of buying shares, and the main form of scoring. Therefore, the player who is lucky enough to profit from the first few merges may turn out to be a runaway leader because he can use that cash advantage to generate an even bigger lead in both cash and endgame scoring. That dependence on initial luck and the crucial first merges might not be attractive to some players.

A major part of the appeal of Acquire is the fact that it can be taught to new players in less than 10 minutes, since the basic rules are so simple. This easy learning curve, together with all the advanced business strategy that can be used by experienced players, makes this an enduring game that has unsurprisingly remained strong for nearly 50 years! The game can be played by between 3 and 6 players, and games typically last between 1 and 1.5 hours.