VENTURE (Click to buy it from Funagain) VENTURE

VENTURE is a card game that's ostensibly about "high adventure in the world of finance and big business," but this is just an arbitrary theme. It's simply a great card game that has industries and corporations instead of suits and colors, etc. But it's unlike any other card game I can think of. (VENTURE is not as total a makeover of the idea of a card game as MONAD would be a bit later, but I'm getting ahead of myself here.)

Again, it's played with two special decks, the Corporations and the Resources. The corporations represent companies in six different industries (suits): Aerospace, Automotive, Chemical, Electronics, Petroleum and Steel. Across the top of each card are various combinations of the letters from A through F. Cards with one of the letters cost 8 million. Cards with two of the letters cost 12 million. Cards with three of the letters cost 16 million. Cards with four of the letters cost 20 million. Cards with five of the letters cost 24 million.

The Resource deck is basically money. These cards come in denominations of 1, 3, 5, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, and 20 million. There are also symbols (circles and squares) on the single-digit denomination cards that permit them to be combined with others of the same symbol for greater value. Mixed in with the Resource cards are Proxy Fight cards and Profit Cards, which I'll get to in a little bit.

The corporations are shuffled and five of them are placed face up on the table. The resource deck is shuffled and seven cards are dealt face down to each player.

On his turn, a player first can take over corporations from the center and put them in "Conglomerates" with other corporations in front of him. (A conglomerate is a stack of cards in different industries with at least one letter in common.) He does this by spending the resource cards in his hand, which are put in a discard pile. He can take any or all of the five corporations that are available, if he's got the resources to pay for them. At the end of every turn, the player draws two Resource cards.

So far, so good. Pretty simple. However, the point of the game is to get the most profit from these conglomerates, and that is tallied whenever a player draws a Profit Card. When this happens, it is exposed at once, and everyone calculates their profits. Each Conglomerate consisting of three or more corporations with one letter in common earns 1 million if it's 3 corporations, 3 million if it's 4 corporations, 8 million if it's five corporations, and a whopping 20 million if the conglomerate has 6 corporations. If the Conglomerate has two letters in common, those profits double. If it has three common letters, they triple, etc.

It gets pretty tense waiting for that Profit card to come up in the deck, let me tell you. There are other aspects to this game, such as reorganization (which costs one million per corporation a player has in front of him at the time or the reorganization, regardless of how many he moves), and Proxy Fights Cards, which enable a player to steal only the top card from a conglomerate of an opponent.

Click to see if Funagain Games has a copy of VENTURE for sale, or perhaps the German edition, called WIRTSCHAFTSWUNDER.

On to "Monad"...