Q.E. is a game that will provide an excellent filler for any game group with a whimsical side.
Designer: Gavin Birnbaum
Artist: Anca Gavril
Artist: Gavin Birnbaum
Game Type: Auction
Game Type: Push your luck
Game Type: Blind Bidding
Initial Year of Release: 2019
Age Range: 8+
Expected Playtime: 45
Number of Players: 3-5
Theme and What is it?
Q.E. stands for quantitative easing. Players take the role of a country that has a printing press and can make their own money. They can pay any amount to bail out the companies floundering in the financial crisis. The game has a single bid opportunity on each company. Whoever has the best portfolio of companies at the end of 16 companies is the winner. But whoever prints the most money in the process has caused too much inflation and undermined their entire economy (they lose instantly).
Each country has an incentive to gobble up companies that operate in their own territory. If a single country can grab enough companies with a single industry type, they will get a monopoly bonus. But there is also a nice bonus for gaining a diversified portfolio.
Each round the active player sets an opening visible bid for the company tile for sale. All other players secretly bid what they are willing to pay to acquire the company and whoever wins gets the tile. The amount paid stays secret unless the opening bid wins. But the auctioneer knows how much the other players were willing to pay.
Q.E. is 100% what the players make it. With a group of hesitant players that want to make rational, mathematical choices it could fall a little flat. But as long as those players catch on as the rounds progress, it is a real blast of a game. There are good rational choices to be made towards the end trying to acquire as much as you can without being the player to spend the most and go bust.
Game Build Quality
Q.E. is a solid production of a game. There are slicked tiles for the companies, player scoring boards, and bidding tiles. It includes a set of dry erase markers so that players can draw directly on the components and wipe them clean when done. The components are simple, but there is not a single thing that could be done better for the game experience.
Q.E. has simple industry imagery and country artwork. For example, the China board has the great wall on it. Unlike a card driven game, there are not dozens of unique artworks available to rave over. There are just the 5 industry types and 5 country types available and the box cover. You can see all the components in this review and judge for yourself if you like how the artwork matches the theme.
Q.E. is all about the players adjusting to each other. In the first round of bidding, a player might start things off at 100 and the winner get it for 200. By the 10th company being purchased some enthusiastic upbidding might bring the cost of a single tile up to 1500. And by the final company of 16, the opening bid might be 7000! Or 20,000,000! Inflation is real. And Q.E. brings as much inflation as the players are willing to throw at it.
On the flip side, a funny prank we pulled on a friend was letting him open the bidding on the first company at 100. Then we all refused to pay more than 5-20 per tile for the rest of the game. And he was the one who paid the most going bust even by the opening bid!
This style of play wont happen without planning as you cannot be sure you are the winner without being willing to pay more and more as you know someone has spent more than you in total. Inflation happens naturally. But it was really funny to see his face as he figured out what we were doing.
Age Range & Weight
8+is totally fair. The set collection scoring is simple to learn and easily displayed on the player board. The bidding mechanism is really easy to understand and all ages will engage enthusiastically. The difficulty to learn how to play Q.E. is negligible. Very quick and easy.
Q.E. is a game that will provide an excellent filler for any game group with a whimsical side. The super serious and dry strategy gamers will want to give this a pass unless catering to a different audience. The game evolves as you play it and is purely group dependent. I highly recommend giving it a shot and seeing how cool it is to play a game that evolves as you play it.
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