QE takes place during the 2008 recession. Each player acts as a central bank. You are enacting "Quantitative Easing" (QE) measures to stimulate the economy. That just means you'll be spending money to bail out companies. Since you represent a nation, there is no limit to what you can spend. You get a marker and a blank check. Write any number you want.
But there is a catch. At the end of the game, you will total up all your winning bids. Whoever paid the most total during the game loses. They are out. Then, the rest of the players score points based on collecting sets of companies, and the player with the most points wins. (Scoring is actually just a hair more complicated than that, and it is explained in detail all the way at the end.)
You'll complete 16 auctions over the course of the game. The role of the auctioneer passes to the left after each turn. After the last auction, eliminate the player who paid the most and then tally up your scores using your dry erase player score board.
To win the game, you'll need to play the table.
You thought your bid of 85 was going to win for sure, but it didn't. Should you go even higher? The auctioneer put out a face up of 20,000, is that an attempt to bait you into bidding too high, or have other people been making similar bids? There is tension because you don't want to overbid. But you can't play scared or you won't score any points.
Often times the game will have runaway inflation until the end. I saw a game where the final bid was for $10 quadrillion. But sometimes an inflationary run will start, and then the group will pull it back in because it looks like one player went too far. Other times the bids will dance around in range for the whole game as players can get a good read on how much people have spent and no one wants to risk bidding too high. It's all about the players ... and a little about the companies you are bidding on.
QE can play like a classic euro-style auction game with players evaluating the value of each company. Or it can play like a social deduction game with big bluffs, stare downs, and unexpected twists where players hardly concern themselves with the assets they are bidding on. Normally it is somewhere between those extremes.
How will it play in your group? Will it change over time?
Each player is given one face-down industry tile at the start of the game. This counts toward your set collection at the end of the game and gives you a little direction at the start.
Each turn, players bid on one of these tiles, representing companies they are "bailing out". At the end of the game, you will score points for companies that match your country, and for collecting sets of same/different industries.
Each player is given one bid tile at the start of the game, representing the country or economic zone you will play. 2mm thick dry erasable cardboard. 6 3/4" x 2 7/8". A little bigger than a US dollar bill.
Mark off tiles as you collect them to track your sets. The dry erase board makes it easy to remember what is worth points and makes it easy to tally them at the end of the game.
Gavin Birnbaum combos his two hobbies, woodworking and game design. He designs games, and then makes them himself in his wood shop.
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