While browsing the Dragon*Con group on LiveJournal, I came across a posting from Tablestar Games. Subsequently, I and my partner-in-crime, Claire Greiner, signed up for the beta testing of new tabletop game Wealth of Nations.
I’m not much of a gamer, my last serious experience being AD&D, second edition, more than a decade ago. As such, I was somewhat apprehensive, wondering if it would be worth the “couple of hours and free dinner” promised by the company.
Upon arriving at the booth in the dealers’ room, the three of us who responded were given a copy of the rules and led off to find a table in the gaming area. Our host, Peter Hansell, left us to our own devices as we got down to business.
Eventually, after a somewhat slow start and the addition of another three people to our gaming group, we began playing. Once the rules are mastered, play speeds up significantly, and to my surprise, the game itself, while somewhat difficult to start, was rife with strategies and tactical nuances.
Four hours later, we called it a night after only five rounds. The game’s structure is complex and engaging enough to easily lose track of time, and we got caught up in the planning and scheming. The subtleties of strategy, bargaining, and negotiations of trading turns are the key to success or failure as the players accumulate their Wealth of Nations. The only shortcoming is that the game play somewhat resembles chess, slowing the play speed.
Overall, I was impressed with both the game and the people who created and developed this simple, but highly entertaining game. I would recommend Wealth of Nations particularly to economics majors and business management students. I have never seen a better, more practical working example of the laws of supply and demand.