A to Z 2015 : VENTURE

Next up is a game about Big Business. It's not overly complicated, though the scoring kind of confused me, to be honest, but there is a lot of direct player interaction of a nature that may not be for everyone. Let's find out.

Ubongo has come and gone, and it's time to move on to our next...

Venture is a game designed by 3M and was a part of a series of games published at the time (1970), all card games, I believe. I only had a crash course into the game, much like Ubongo, but hopefully enough to give you an idea if it's something you would have interest in trying.

There are two decks for the game. A Venture/Corporation deck (a blue deck containing 6 types of color-coded industry cards) and a Profit/Resource deck (a green deck containing money, Proxy Fight, and Profit cards). Both are shuffled and placed in the center of the play area. The top five cards of the Corporation deck are revealed face up, forming a Marketplace, and may be bought on a players turn.

Each player receives 7 cards from the Resource deck. If someone draws a Profit card, in this first initial step, it's revealed. They draw a new card and shuffle the Profit card back into the Resource deck. Once everyone has their starting hands ready, the first player takes their turn.

In the Marketplace, each Corporation card is colored (representing its field in the industry), has a price listed (purchase cost), and marked randomly with the letters A-F. You buy Corporation cards with the millions dealt to you from the Resource deck! You will notice the lower quantity cards have different symbols (circles, squares, triangles). This means that you can turn them in together at vastly increased amounts. Two shared symbols is 16 Million, three is 32 Million, and four is 64 Million. So while you may get lower valued money cards, they can potentially be turned in together for much more! There is no limit to how many Corporation cards you buy on your turn.

NOTE: There is no getting change in the game, so if you go over the purchase price the rest is lost. So, for example, if a Corporation card cost 20 Million, but the only way you can pay for it would be turning in three money cards with a matching symbol (for 32 Million worth), you lose that extra. You can't even use the remainder to purchase other Corporation cards. It's brutal, but that's the cost of doing business!

Once you buy a Corporation card, it's placed face-up in front of you. If you already have a Corporation, and a new one you've bought has any matching letters displayed on it (and of a different industry), you may place the card on top of the first. This is called a Conglomerate. To build one, the cards involved must be of different colors and share at least one letter throughout all of the cards. If a card you've just bought doesn't meet these requirements, you can start a new one, by essentially just placing the cards face-up next to the other Corporation cards you control.

Conglomerates are important, because they are how you score in the game. There are strategic plays, which involves reorganizing the cards if your Conglomerates, at the cost of 1 Million per card, to better score when a Profit card is drawn and/or the end of the game. But those details will be explained in the full review (as well as scoring in general).

Another benefit of rearranging your cards, would be because players can actually buy Corporation cards other players control. This is done via Proxy Fight cards. Each Proxy Fight card is marked with a 1/2 X, 1 X, or 1 1/2 X. This means that on your turn you can play that card, and buy another player's Corporation card by paying its cost, adjusted by the Proxy Fight card's modifier. So if an opponent's Corporation card cost 16 Million for example, but you had the 1/2 X Proxy Fight card, you could purchase and steal the card away for only 8 Million.

NOTE: Only the top card of each Conglomerate may be bought at any given time. This is why there are strategic advantages to rearranging your Conglomerates, so that you can bury and protect better, higher costing cards! Money paid for a Proxy Fight is discarded, not given to the player having their Corporation card stolen.

After a player is done with buying Corporation cards, Proxy Fighting opponents, and rearranging their Conglomerates, the Marketplace is refilled and the player draws two cards from the Resource deck. If a Profit card is drawn, it is revealed immediately! That player draws a replacement card, and an automatic scoring round is triggered.

Sorry about the blurriness. Attempting to show the Profit card revealed in the discard pile after being drawn! I wasn't very clear on how scoring worked (aside from the number of Corporation cards in your Conglomerate — if you can see I have all 6 types in mine!). I just sat there and scored big money with my single Conglomerate, winning the game at the end!

Sorry about the blurriness. Attempting to show the Profit card revealed in the discard pile after being drawn! I wasn't very clear on how scoring worked (aside from the number of Corporation cards in your Conglomerate — if you can see I have all 6 types in mine!). I just sat there and scored big money with my single Conglomerate, winning the game at the end!

As mentioned above, I plan to go over scoring more fully elsewhere. Basically, the more Corporation cards in each Conglomerate combined with how many sets of letters those Corporation cards share with one another make up the formula for scoring (both during Profit card draws and at the end of the game).

Play continues clockwise until the last Corporation card is purchased. At that time there is one final scoring round and the player with the highest score wins!

Have you ever played Venture? If so, what do you like about it and what do you dislike about it? If not, does it seem like a game you would like to play?