Acquire is a
turn-based board game.
Game Pieces: The game board is a rectangular grid that
consists of 12 columns, labeled 1 through 12, and 9
rows, labeled A through I:
The game also comes with 12 × 9 tiles labeled with the coordinates
of the game board: 1A
. Here are some visual
The final physical ingredient is a collection of seven hotel chains, each of
which is represented by a color:
In addition, the game comes with hotel stock certificates and game-money
bills. For our purposes, it suffices to represent these entities with text
and numbers. There is an infinite amount of money available, but only a
finite number of stock certificates, namely, 25 per hotel chain.
Objective: The objective is to maximize your wealth. You
create wealth by buying and selling shares in hotel chains, which are
built, expanded, and merged over the course of the game.
Like all board games, a game of Acquire consists of three steps:
Each player receives $8,000 in cash and six randomly chosen tiles. The
order in which players draw tiles is chosen on a first-come, first-serve
A "banker" administrates the money, the remaining stock certificates, the
remaining tiles, and the available hotel chains. In the beginning, all
hotel chains are available.
Once the game is set up, each player gets a turn until the game is over;
see below for recognizing when the game is over.
Each turn consists of three steeps:
A player places one of his tiles on the board. This may have the
additional effect of growing an existing hotel chain, founding a new one,
or merging hotel chains:
- In order to found a hotel chain, a player places a
tile vertically or horizontally next to at least one
unassociated tile. Furthermore, the tile may not connect to any hotel
region. Assuming the pool of available chains contains
at least one hotel, the player must then remove a hotel chain from the
available ones and "paint" all connected tiles
with the hotel chain's color.
The founder receives one free stock certificate for the just-founded
chain, if available.
If there are no available hotel chains, the player can place the tile but
cannot found a new hotel and does not receive a free stock certificate.
- In order to grow a hotel chain, a player places a tile
next to (vertically or horizontally) a tile that belongs to an in-play
hotel chain. The player may not place a tile if the
spot is also (vertically or horizontally) connected to a region of
Growing a hotel chain may be (un)desirable as it affects its share price.
- In order to merge hotel chains, a player places a tile
next to (vertically or horizontally) tiles that belong to at least two
distinct hotels. The player may not place a tile if the
spot is also (vertically or horizontally) connected to a region of
If any of the hotels in a merger is safe---consists of at least 12
tiles---the player may not place the tile in this spot.
A merger proceeds in four steps:
The first step is to determine which of the hotels acquires the other
one. In principle, the larger hotel acquires the smaller one. If the two
are of the same size, it is the active player's decision to determine
which chain is the acquirer and which one is the acquired.
The second step is to rank the stock holders for the acquired hotel
before the merger takes place. The player with the largest number of
shares is the majority stock holder; the player with the second number of
shares is the minority stock holder.
The banker pays the majority owner a bonus of 10x of the current price for
a single stock certificate. The minority owner receives a bonus of 5x of
the current price. If there is a tie for majority owner, they all equally
share the sum of the two bonuses and all minority owners receive
nothing. If there is a single majority owner and a tie for minority owner,
the majority owner is paid out normally and the minority owners share the
minority bonus equally, rounded to the nearest full unit of dollars.
- The label of the acquired hotel chain is moved to the banker's pool of
A player may then buy up to two stock certificates of the
same kind. The price of a stock
certificate depends on how many tiles are associated with an in-play hotel
chain. Concretely, the following table defines the prices of stock
For example, it says that if the Continental hotel is in-play and consists
of eight tiles, a certificate costs $800. In general, if a hotel H consists
of N tiles, find the column for H and, starting from the bottom, find the
row with the first number smaller or equal to N. This row determines the
current price of the certificate for H.
|Price||Worldwide, Sackson||Festival, Imperial, American||Continental, Tower|
A player receives another tile from the banker.
- Ending the Game: The game can end in two
regular ways. First, the game is over when a
hotel chain consists of 40 tiles or more.
Second, the game is also over when all hotel chains are safe.
The game also ends in two additional, "irregular" ways. Third, the game
ends when a player cannot place any of his tiles. This player may still
request the purchase of some shares but the administrator does not need to
execute this request (which does not affect the final score). Finally, the
game ends if the administrator has no tile to hand back to the current
It is the game administrator's task to recognize these four conditions
A computer scientist recognizes a state machine in this
description. "Setup" creates the initial state; "play" is about
intermediate states and state transitions; and "ending the game" specifies
what the final states of the machine are. Depending on how you organize
this machine the state space and the transition space (alphabet) are
Scoring: At the end of the game, the majority and
minority stock holders of each hotel chain receive a bonus according to
the bonus rules for mergers. Once the bonus is distributed, the hotel
chains buy back their stock. The player with the most money wins.
Clarifications Here are some clarifications to the above
rules in response to the questions from the project 4 memos:
Can a player buy shares in hotels without presence on the board?
A player can buy shares if there is a price. As the table above shows, some
hotel shares have a price even if the hotel does not exist on the board and
others do not.
How are the prices of shares computed for a merger? The prices must
naturally be computed before the merger starts not as tiles are removed.
How are the prices of shares computed for the scoring phase at the end of a
game? The prices must naturally be computed before any tiles are removed.
How should 3-way and 4-way mergers be performed? The chosen acquirer merges
with the next largest hotel, then the second largest hotel, and so on,
until all mergers are executed.