Stockpile: Unnamed Action Card Expansion
Players: 2 – 5
Time: ~40 minutes
Times Played: 1
Stockpile is a game that has been on my list to play/to purchase for quite some time. For whatever reason, I have never pulled the trigger on it and it has sat on the fringes of my want list, where I was hoping someone would offer me it for a trade. As with other games under the First Look banner, images below might contain prototypes that are subject to change.
At Unpub 8, I was able to sit with one of the designers of Stockpile, Brett Sobol, and play the next expansion of their game. This unnamed addition, currently titled “Action Card Expansion”, adds action cards to the base game and is compatible with the previous expansion, Continuing Corruption.
I played a two-player game against Brett and have no shame in admitting that he crushed me. I believe the final tabulation was something like $370,000 to my $153,000. I had a rough first two turns to start the game. We did utilize the dice from Continuing Corruption for some more randomness regarding the stock fluctuation and we had investor powers but the other variants were not in play. But you don’t want to hear about all that. You’re interested in the new cards.
The cards are an addition to the action phase of the game. If you’ve played Stockpile before, you know the only real action that is occurring during this phase is a positive or negative variation in stock…if that type of card(s) was available during the Supply and Demand phases. These cards will make that phase have a little more action. If you haven’t played Stockpile before, I recommend searching out another review. I could easily tell you about the game but with only one two-player play under my belt, I feel less than qualified.
At the beginning of the game, after you have drawn your Investor (if playing with the special powers), players will be randomly dealt one card for each round that the game lasts. Following dispersal of the cards, a draft will commence where players keep one of their allotted cards and past the rest, continuing the draft an equal amount of times compared to the card distribution.
Every card has a price to be paid. Some are free and I think the most expensive I saw had a price of six dollars (or six thousand dollars technically). Some cards have an immediate playing condition, some have an end-game condition, and some have a condition that can be carried out each round. However, only one card could be played each round so there was some strategy about when to utilize them best.
We played a game of six rounds and I used four of my six cards and Brett used five of six. Some of the notable cards included gaining additional money every time you sold two or more different companies shares in the same round, discarding a split stock for an immediate fifteen thousand dollars, increasing or decreasing the value of a stock, and being able to look at every piece of hidden information for that round.
As this was my first time playing Stockpile, my understanding of the outcomes of the different cards could have been better but nothing appeared too confusing or overpowering on first glance. Some cards do align better with certain unique abilities offered by the Investors however. As Mayknow Martha, I didn’t really have any interest in learning the hidden information behind every card since my special power already let me look at one set of information.
I do feel that this expansion will add some time to the game; primarily through the drafting aspect as players try to fine tune their hands for the future rounds. The playing and carrying out of the actions is relatively fast and is just a matter of “I want to do this”.
My fianceé and a few friends were able to play a full five-player game the day before I played and they harped that the game really shined at five but felt overly long as players decided on what drafting of cards they wanted and the analysis of what information they knew, what information had been previously known, and what information they could gather from players on the current round. The game lasted about an hour and a half but they did mention with players aware of the rules of the game and the cards (and less meticulous analysis), the game would last under an hour at the full player count.
My initial thoughts on everything Stockpile has to offer? I really liked it. If (actually, more than likely when) I buy this game, I will pick up Continuing Corruption immediately as the dice rolls taking the place of the standard set of inflation’s for the stocks adds some much needed replayability due to the randomness aspect.
I am uncertain on what I think of the action cards though. If you’ve played this game fifty or a hundred times, I could see the desire for something to change things up and the action cards most certainly would add a new twist to a phase of the game where sometimes little or nothing happens. The cards could also add a bit of depth regarding strategy when it comes to the initial draft but I feel as if the cards are overall unnecessary. My friends that were able to play in a separate group thought the same thing but like me, they also did not have any initial plays under their belt.
There was also some discussion about producing a deluxe upgrade kit for Stockpile when this expansion is ready for launch but that has not been formalized.