Ka-Ching! Review
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Players: 2 (ages 10+)
Playing Time: 15-20 minutes


This stock-trading game is much easier to understand than the New York Stock Exchange—and it’s definitely a lot less risky than playing the market—but Ka-Ching! offers a unique challenge nonetheless.

Before the game begins, the 35 stock cards (in 5 different colors, numbered 2-6) are placed face-up in the center of the table—in 5 columns of 7 cards each, one card on top of the other—and each player is given $20 in cash and a wild card. Players then take turns either buying one stock card or selling two stock cards of the same color. Each player must do one or the other on each turn.

When buying, you pay the face value of the card (for example, you can buy a red 2 for $2 or a red 4 for $4). But when selling two cards, you multiply their face values to determine the selling price (so when you sell your red 2 and your red 4, the selling price is 2x4, or $8). If you choose, you can also use your wild card once during the game, using it as a 2 of any color.

  
 
Once there are only two columns of cards left, each player gets one last chance to sell cards before the game ends. Then both players add up the money in their hands, and the player with the most money wins.

Though it requires a few different kinds of cards—and it may seem a little overwhelming once you first get it all set up—Ka-Ching! is surprisingly easy to learn and simple to play. In fact, once you read through the instructions, you might think it’s ridiculously simple. But you’ll be surprised by how challenging it can be—because of the number of different strategies involved. You need to pick up the best cards for yourself—while also trying to prevent your opponent from getting any good cards. You also need to know when to sell and when to buy. And you need to keep enough money in your hand—so you don’t end up a dollar short when the perfect card becomes available (that’s one lesson I learned the hard way). So although it’s an easy game to play, it’s not always an easy game to win.

While it hasn’t quite earned a spot on my shelf of all-time-favorite games, this unique buying-and-selling game is a keeper. It’s a fun game to pull out from time to time, when you’re looking for a quick one-on-one challenge.

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