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Cryptocurrency Review

Quick Look:

Designer: Steve Ng Wen Xi
Artists: Wong Chun Xi
Publisher: Capital Gains Studio
Year Published: 2018
No. of Players: 2-4
Ages: 14+
Playing Time: 45-60

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

“Bitcoin is the most stellar and most useful system of mutual trust ever devised.”
Santosh Kalwar

From the publisher:
Cryptocurrency, the digital currency of the new economy, has helped many early investors become overnight millionaires. As news of these overnight millionaires spread, it sparked off a gold rush and ordinary citizens rushed into the new frontier of cryptocurrency, trying to strike gold.
You will take on the role of the CEO of a fintech startup, leading a specialized team of technological experts who will help you to evaluate, trade and mine various cryptocurrencies. However, some of the cryptocurrencies are scams, designed to rob the unwary investors of their money and it is up to the player to sift through many layers of information to avoid being tricked. You must make strategic decisions in hiring technological experts, solve cryptocurrency mining algorithms and manipulate the information network, all while engaging in tactical coin trading and getting rid of the questionable coins before the game ends.

Will you have the wit to avoid the pitfalls and thrive in the volatile world of Cryptocurrency?
Eight years ago, on May 22, 2010, a programmer purchased two large Papa John’s pizzas for 10,000 bitcoins, worth about $30 at the time. It’s widely believed to be the first purchase of a product with bitcoin, proving the then-nascent cryptocurrency’s potential as a means of payment.

Bitcoin was less than two years old when Laszlo Hanyecz decided to spend some of the coins he had mined on some real-world goods. The coins were worth just a fraction of a cent at the time, and no merchant accepted them as a means of payment. So he posted on the main gathering place for bitcoiners at the time, the Bitcointalk forum:
"I’ll pay 10,000 bitcoins for a couple of pizzas.. like maybe 2 large ones so I have some left over for the next day. I like having left over pizza to nibble on later. You can make the pizza yourself and bring it to my house or order it for me from a delivery place, but what I’m aiming for is getting food delivered in exchange for bitcoins where I don’t have to order or prepare it myself, kind of like ordering a ‘breakfast platter’ at a hotel or something, they just bring you something to eat and you’re happy!"
Another user, who went by “jercos” on the forum, took Hanyecz up on his offer. Hanyecz sent the bitcoin to jercos, who then placed the pizza order. The transaction had to be finalized over internet relay chat, according to the Bitcoin Wiki. Since then, the price of bitcoin has taken off, and those two pizzas would be worth a lot more at the going rate for 10,000 bitcoins. How much more? Roughly $82 million for the order, or more than $4 million per slice:


Rules and Setup:
To start, arrange the four Info Boards in the middle of the table, placing one of the Mining tokens onto the first space of each progress track. These Info Boards are how you can tell how difficult it will be to “mine” coins, the rewards for successful mining attempts, as well as the fees collected for “validating transactions”. These boards are also where players will be placing the Rumor cards that will cause the prices of the various cryptocurrencies to fluctuate. Next to these Info Boards is placed the Market board with the requisite amount of each coin placed into the Market Supply area and the price trackers for each coin set to their starting prices. The remaining coins are set off to the side into an “unmined coins” area. Once these boards have been arranged, deal the various cards. First, the Rumor cards are shuffled and two cards are dealt with each coin type. One card is placed face up and one is placed face down without looking at it. The remaining Rumor cards are set to the side in a deck. This initial placement of Rumor cards will cause the price of the coins on the Market board to adjust either up or down.

The Expert card deck is shuffled and five of these are turned face up next to the deck. Next, the Transaction cards are shuffled. Three of these are placed face down next to the deck so that only the images on their backs are showing. These images correspond to different cryptocurrencies.
All of the other cards are placed close by. Finally, each player receives 3 Intern cards (which form your Team) and 6 Wonga to begin the game.

The theme is based upon cryptocurrency, a digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank

There are four main mechanics:

In the Action Point (AP) Allowance System games, each player is allotted a certain amount of points per round. These points can be spent on available actions until the player does not have enough remaining to "purchase" any more actions. This method grants the player greater freedom over how to execute his or her options.

In games with a trading mechanic, the players can exchange game items with each other. For instance, players trade for different types of beans in Bohnanza, while they trade resources in Catan.
Games where you repeat an action (or part of an action) until you decide to stop due to increased (or not) risk of losing points or your turn. Press Your Luck games include both Risk Management and Risk Valuation games, in which risk is driven by the game mechanisms and valuing how much other players value what you also want, respectively. This mechanic is also called push your luck.

As Bruno Faidutti has said: "Double or Quits, Keep going or stop, cash your gains or bet them. The idea is not new. Many gambling games, such as Black Jack, make an intensive use of it, as well as some traditional dice game – and Pass the Pigs is only a modern version of those. This system is also used in many TV games, where the winner can either leave with his gains, either answer one more question at the risk of losing everything he won so far."

Game Play:
The game is divided into 3 Phases and the following is a very rough idea of what happens per round. The game ends at the end of the 5th round where calculations are made to determine the valuation of each Cryptocurrency, with the lowest being declared a scam and rendering its coins worthless. The player with the most money wins.

The first phase allows players to recruit new members to replace a member on their team as well as take out loans from the bank. They also receive one rumor card that will affect the final value of the Cryptocurrencies.

The second is where the main action takes place as players tap cards to use their team abilities and energy to either Trade, Mine or perform other actions that may affect the prices and availability of the 4 different Cryptocurrencies.

The final phase allows players to play the rumored card they were dealt in the first phase. These can only be placed on the track of currency that did not have one placed on it yet in that round. Players also repay their loans and/or the interest on it in this phase. Finally, all their cards are refreshed and the 1st player token is passed to the next player.

Artwork and Components:
Components from this company are always solid, but what makes their games is the artwork. I love the cartoonish style and they have many reoccurring characters within their game universe, and I love that.

The Good:
Probably the strongest themed game I've played.

The Bad:
Older players might not care about the topic and therefore be out early.

Final Thoughts:
As with Debtzilla the thing that Capital Gains Studio does better than any other game company is "Edutainment". Before I played any of their games this was slang for a game that tried to teach something but was not very good. Again they have proven that you can make a game that not only teaches you about the topic but is fun and strategic to play.

Players Who Like:
Stock market games, risk-taking, seeing what the future of money will look like.

Check out Cryptocurrency on:

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/243694/cryptocurrency   https://www.capitalgainsgroup.com/product-page/cryptocurrenc   https://www.facebook.com/capitalgainsstudio/            

About the Author
James is a child of the 80's he grew playing D&D and Stratego. He currently owns more games than his understanding wife of 20+ years thinks he should. James lives in Buffalo, New York with his previously mentioned wife, 2 teenage kids and one Havanese dog. Also, if someone outside of Buffalo says they serve buffalo wings, they are lying.
Cryptocurrency Review Cryptocurrency Review Reviewed by James Freeman on May 07, 2020 Rating: 5

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