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Buy low, sell high in Flea Market

By James Jester
Published: August 14, 2015
MOD-PS0915_FleaMarket
Product: Flea Market is the latest game released by Mayfair Games under its FunFair line, which focuses on quick, simple, family-friendly games. Accordingly, the game supports 3 to 5 players and comes with 13 dice, a small game board and a fair amount of cardboard counters.

The cardboard components are of reasonable quality. However, the money tokens included are difficult to use, being both too small and too similar in color to easily distinguish their values. Artwork in the game is for the most part fair, with items resembling those from both myth and popular culture, from the Ark of the Covenant to a Flux Capacitor.

Gameplay: In Flea Market, players start with $24 and attempt to buy and sell items to make a tidy profit. They do so by bidding on items determined by rolling three dice and adding their values. If, as the game continues, an item that has already been bought is selected by the dice, the owner places that item up for auction and gets the amount paid, plus a little extra depending on how many items have been bought up. This cycle continues until either all of the items have been purchased or a player collects $45. In either case, the player who has the most money wins, with the number of items owned being the tiebreaker.

Unlike more traditional bidding games, which can be a bit boring and predictable, bidding in this game is streamlined by each player rolling two dice and optionally rerolling one of them. Then the player who rolls the highest total gets the option to buy the item by paying money equal to the total of their roll. This continues down the line until the item is bought or everyone passes, in which case the auctioneer (whoever rolled the dice to determine the item up for bid) gets the item for free.

Therefore, the player’s main concern is trying to buy items at a price that will get them a decent profit if and when they are sold later, taking into account how many items have been bought up, the odds the item will go on sale again and, of course, how well the other players are doing. Add to that the fact that random chance can always confound even the most sound of strategies, and you have a simple yet dynamic system that, given the right group, can be a pretty fun experience. However, with the reliance on knowledge of odds needed to be successful, it might not be the best fit for every family.

Marketing: It would make the most sense to display this game along with prior titles in the FunFair line such as Zen Garden, or with other simple family-friendly games like Hey, That’s My Fish!, Can’t Stop or Tsuro. The whimsical box art should do well to draw the eye no matter how it is displayed, whether via the front or side of the box. Since it’s a family game, you’ll want to display it close to eye level for younger customers. The small form factor of the box also makes it a good candidate for a point-of-sale item in smaller numbers.

Be prepared to offer your customers some alternatives to the money tokens in the box, whether that be poker chips, money from another game or after-market coinage, which has seen a bit of a resurgence lately.

VITAL STATS
Product: Flea Market
Maker: Mayfair Games
Stock No.: 4406
MSRP: $21
Availability: Multiple distributors

BOTTOM LINE
• Simple, streamlined bidding game
• Hard-to-use money tokens; other components of reasonable quality
• Better for odds players

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