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 $6,000 in cash and six randomly chosen tiles. The
order in which players draw tiles is chosen on a first-come, first-serve
basis. Players keep the identity of their tiles secret.
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 a single
unconnected tile without neighbors on the
board. 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" the two 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
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, as discussed in class on 29 Jan
2013) two distinct hotels. 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
acquirer 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
If any of the hotels in a merger is safe---consists of at least 11
tiles---the player may not place the tile in this spot.
A player may then buy up to three stock certificates. 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 random tile from the banker.
- Ending the Game: The game can end in two
ways. First, the game is over when a hotel chain consists of 41 tiles or
more. A player may make such an announcement during his turn, right after
placing a tile. Second, the game is also over when all hotel chains are
safe. In either case, a player must announce this fact publicly. A player
may make such an announcement during his turn, right after placing a tile
on the board. The current player must then complete his turn.
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.
Note The description above is intentionally vague though
it will serve as the basis for running a game. Part of the "software
development" learning process is to turn vague descriptions into
interfaces, components, and complete, running systems. The project will
refine the above description over the course of the semester.
The rules also differ a bit from the original game. The projects may add
additional small wrinkles. Be prepared for changes.
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?
No.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.
Can a player sell shares during a turn? The rules do not mention this
possibility at the moment.