Money is power… Seek it out by anticipating market changes and weather economic storms and other CEOs’ gambits to come out on top!
Publisher: Capital Gains Studios
Designer: Xeo Lye
Artist: Andy Choo
Artist: Wong Chun Xi
Artist: Made Lidya
Game Type: Marketplace
Initial Year of Release: 2019
Age Range: 10+
Expected Playtime: 30-60 min
Number of Players: 2-5
Theme and What is it?
In Wongamania, you’re one of the movers and shakers in this banana economy, buying and selling assets, and riding the wave of the economic cycle. Money is power… Seek it out by anticipating market changes and weather economic storms and other CEOs’ gambits to come out on top!
The goal of Wongamania is to have the most points at the end of the round when one player buys their third Trust Fund.
The person who ate a banana most recently is the Chairperson and the player to his right is the last player in a round. Place the Economic Cycle Board between the players and the last player determines which location on the Economic Cycle to place the Economic Token. Place the deck of Trust Fund and Insurance cards next to the Economic Cycle Board.
Shuffle the Market Cards and place four on the table next to the Economic Cycle Board representing Breaking News. The remaining Market Cards face down as a draw pile near the play area. Give each player a Bank card and deal three Market Cards to each player face down and, without looking, place them under the Bank card; cards placed under the Bank card represent the player’s money, Wonga. Each player then draws four cards to their hand, each replacing up to four Market cards by drawing them from the draw pile.
You play the game in a series of rounds, starting with the Chairperson who rolls the Productivity Die and moves the Economic Token to a new location on the Economic Board. Each player takes their turn. A turn consists of two phases: Payday and Take Action.
During the Payday Phase, the player earns his salary plus any income generated from his assets.
During the Take Action Phase, the player may perform up to three actions to spend on any of the following (in any combination): Draw, Trade, Play, Sell, Buy Insurance, Buy Trust Fund.
Draw allows you to take a card from under your Bank to your hand.
Trade is where you discard a card from your hand and take a card from the Breaking News.
To Play a card, pay the cost in Wonga (cards) from your Bank, read and implement the card’s effects, and discard it.
You may Sell assets for Wonga.
Buy Insurance to protect yourself from Incidents played against you.
Buy a Trust Fund for points and to trigger the last round of the game.
I thought the organization of the rules was a bit haphazard but it didn’t take more than a round to understand. Game play goes fast but you can easily agonize over what to do.
Game Build Quality
The game components are playing cards, cardboard pieces, an overlarge die, and a wooden token. All components are made to stand up against multiple plays and have a decent quality.
The art has a manga-like flair to it, all in great fun. Many of the cards are satirical in nature, poking fun at Americans and how the world views us. It’s all in good fun.
Part of the game is fun and the other part is educational. Like Cryptocurrency, the designer seeks to teach the players about macroeconomics while having a bit of fun along the way. It is very easy to get wrapped up in the game without even noticing that you are learning about different forces impacting the economy and how they might do it.
Age Range & Weight
The age range is 10+ and the complexity matches perfect with it, though someone that young might not get the humor of the game or understand all of the elements used. Yet as I mentioned before, this is a pretty good tool to teach them and those who older about economics.
This is the second edition of Wongamania: Banana Economy. I don’t have experience of the first edition so I don’t know how this compares to that, but I can say I really liked this game. The game isn’t over designed or overly complicated. It doesn’t use esoteric terminology for the economics and makes the subject straightforward. Also, as an insert to the game, there is an explanation of what Banana Republics are/were and other insights on bits of world economy. Come for the quick action and wacky art, stay for the learning and the fun of using economic forces against your opponents. Make it rain!!
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