Markets and Mayhem: A Preview of CASH

CASH

Wheel, deal, and out-strategize your opponents on the way to one million dollars, in this card game for two to eight players now on Kickstarter.

Gameplay

Each player is trying to open a trading firm and earn a million dollars over a series of rounds. At the start of each round, you draw seven cards. On your turn you draw an eighth card and must either play or discard something.

You need to play a trading license before you can start to play cash cards. Cash cards are worth various amounts of money from $5,000 to $150,000. Other cards that can be played are criminal allegation cards, which will temporarily stop your opponents from playing cash cards, insurance cards which can protect your money, commission cards which earn you a portion of an opponent’s wealth, and various other cards with special abilities to force players to miss turns or pass cards.

Once a player uses a trading stopped card, the round ends and the score (cash) is totaled. Having some cards still in hand will hurt your score, such as unused cash. So you have to keep an eye on what cards you have in front of you, as well as what you’re holding.

CASH the card game

Review

CASH is unique in its setting. There aren’t a lot of card games that put you in the shoes of a modern day businessman. The game certainly makes the most of its theme and the various cards you can play — from placing other players’ trading firms under investigation to having to acquire a trading license to begin playing cash cards, this really helps to set the mood.

The gameplay is quite easy to pick up when it’s being taught to you but the rulebook is written in a daunting format and can be confusing. But once you start playing you start to understand the game and realize it is pretty straight forward but with enough player interaction that nothing is ever predictable. You really have to keep an eye on other players. This, paired with the number of cards, means that each game is going to be different. We played several times, and no game ever played out quite the same way.

A couple of cards are a little difficult to play with. The Taxman card, for instance, requires you to calculate what is 10% of each player’s winnings at the end of a round. In general, it would be nice if there were some kind of player guide for the special cards, as we had to consult the rulebook several times during our first couple of games. (Note: the publisher has informed us that the graphic design has been updated to address these issues.)

You have to make a lot of strategic decisions, choosing when to play certain cards, trying to predict what other players are about to do, and planning several moves ahead. The fact that unplayed cash cards will count against you during the scoring also forces you to make some interesting choices. If you’re looking for a new card game that has a little more depth and strategy while still being a good fit for casual players, check out CASH on Kickstarter.

Update: since the time of writing, the publisher has made the following improvements to the game: each player starts the game with a trading license card in play, the rulebook is considerably updated and much clearer, the graphic design on the cards has been improved and now includes information on how each card is used, and if properly funded the game will include an app to help calculate each player's cash and deal with the taxman. 

Disclosure: this preview is based on our evaluation of an unpublished prototype of the game, which is subject to change prior to publication. While a modest payment was received to expedite the review process, our thoughts and opinions expressed here are honest and accurate.