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Ratrace is, according to the box, "a madcap game of social climbing" and I couldn't describe it better myself.
Despite the name, this game has nothing to do with rats...unless you are a bit weird and decide to play this with your pet rat. However, it does have a lot to do with racing as not only do you race around the levels, but you race to be the first to get to each level and race to be the first to win the whole game.
It states the game is for 2-6 players, age 9 to 90. I think children could easily understand this game, but it might not be exciting enough to hold the attention of children under 9. I don't know what they have against people over 90 playing the game though.
In the box:
Club Membership Cards
6 playing pieces (blue, red, green, olive green, black and brown)
6 coloured sets of cards (blue, red, green, olive green, black and brown)
The box I have is blue with the word Ratrace in yellow with images of people being social on the front, although there are other versions of it.
When you open the box the board is lying on top and underneath that the box is split into different sections which contain the playing pieces, money and cards needed to play.
The cards, playing pieces and money are all very simple. The playing pieces are the same colour as the coloured cards as each player has their own set of cards. These colours are blue, red, green, olive green, black and brown. Each one has black writing on it and so you can see it on the black cards they are more of a grey colour. Each card states the colour at the top and the business it is for. Below that it says an item, then a price and, under that, which social class that card is for as there are 3 versions (working class, middle class and high society). The text is all easy to read and set out well so it is obvious what each one is for.
The money all has the same swirly style design on it and each note is a different colour.
*10 is light green
*50 is purple
*100 is very light green
*500 is white
*1000 is yellow/gold
*5000 is light pink
*10000 is light yellow
The club membership, diploma and credit cards are all white with simple black and white images on to go with the text.
The designs are good if a child or someone old is playing (perhaps the 92 year old who dared to play despite the age range) who can't read small text or understand more complicated things. All text is in a readable, bold font that is quite big and states exactly what it is (e.g. club membership or 1000 in money). On the other hand the designs probably won't really appeal much to children, even though the cards and money are quite colourful.
The board is rather colourful and has three levels on it. The outer level is working class, the middle level is middle class and the centre level in high society. Each level, or class, is smaller and takes less time to go around, but they all contain the same squares. For example, every level has squares that are coloured the same as the cards and if you land on one you can buy the card. The high society level is the last level you reach, unless you get divorced but I'll explain that later, and so has the least amount of squares. It has a payday, much like Monopoly, and the coloured squares for the cards, but unlike the previous two levels doesn't have any diploma squares or bonus squares to get extra money. The levels are designed well and set out clearly so when you are playing the game it is obvious what level you are on.
In the centre of the board there is a table for the stock exchange and racetrack where it gives you the information you need for when you land on the stock exchange or racetrack squares.
Setting it up:
Each player has 200 in money (one 100 and two 50), a credit card and their own set of cards for the colour of the playing piece they choose, which you will later sell to other players as these are business cards. Any remaining cards for the playing pieces that aren't being used go to the bank so if you want them you will be paying the bank.
If you are playing 2 player then it might be better to have two sets of cards each. This makes the money flow more and, obviously, gets you more money to play with.
How to play:
This game is easy to play and the rules are not complicated at.
There are three levels in the game; working class, middle class and high society. The main aim of the game is to get to high society and gain 10 of the 10000 notes and 3 different coloured cards worth 3000 each. However, for each level you have to get certain things to be able to move up to the next level/class.
If you want the game to be either shorter or longer you can always change the amount of money you must have to win the game, although 100,000 is usually a good amount. If you do decide to change it make sure you change it before you begin the game.
You start off in working class. You go around the board, landing on various squares which I will go through in a minute. As with Monopoly there is a square where you collect money as you pass. In working class you collect 200, at middle class it is 1000 and at high society you collect 10000. There is also a tax square where you must pay either 10, 100 or 1000 times roll of both dice, depending on which class you are.
Each player owns a business and when people land on your business they may buy a card. Cards have different values depending on the class, although you can always buy one for a higher class.
To get to middle class you must have a diploma or club membership, 500 in money and 3 different coloured cards (or two different values of the same coloured card). These must be other people's cards and not your own. To get to high society you just need the 3 coloured cards and the diploma. If you have everything but the diploma you can get this on the black market for 200. Once you have these things it is up to you when you move up. However, when you do move up you lose any cards at the lower value to the class you are on and you will lose the diploma.
This, of course, makes the game last longer as you have to regain all the items again. It can be annoying though if you move up, give them back and then go and get divorced.
Getting divorced is, without a doubt, the most frustrating thing in this game. This isn't a bad thing, it adds more to the game, but when you move up to the next level you can't help worrying about the divorce square nearby and the chances are you'll land on it at least once in a game. Getting divorced not only costs a lot, but sends you back down to the previous level. If you have the cards and money you can always pay for a diploma on the black market and go right back up on your next turn, but don't be surprised it you end up landing on that divorce square again.
It happens more on the middle class than high society. If you score seven and you are on the starting square on middle class you will be getting divorced. Seven is a very popular number to roll.
Working class doesn't have the divorce square for obvious reasons. Instead it has the lottery. Here the first player places an amount down and the other players can match it or not play if they either don't have the money or think it is too much to risk. You then take it in turns to roll both the dice and the player who scores the highest wins all the money that was put in. This is a nice feature to the game, although it isn't often you land on that square in my experience.
As well as getting divorced you can also get married! There is a wedding square on the working class and middle class. When you get married you automatically move up to the next class/level. Sometimes this can be good and other times it makes it harder as you don't have the money to buy what you need. Of course sometimes you get married and get divorced right away.
There are a few squares where you get the chance to get extra money like "a gift from Dad", but there are two squares that make this game much more interesting. The stock exchange and racetrack.
The stock exchange is a square which allows the player who landed on it to make some money. You place down however much you wish and pass the dice on to the next player. They then roll the dice. In the centre of the board is a table for the stock exchange and here you can see what you have either won or lost. If you have lost money and wish for the next person to roll the dice (assuming more than two of you are playing) then you can ask them to roll and see if they do better. The stock exchange is all about luck.
The racetrack is another risk, but this time all players can join in. The racetrack is probably the best square as it is most fun to play, but it can also be a way to lose a lot of money fast. On this square the player picks a horse number. Each player then bets however much they wish and the player then has to roll the dice and try and score this number. You get three chances, but with each roll the amount you can win goes down. Some numbers are worth more than others, but it doesn't always pay to aim for the number worth the most.
The rules are all clearly explained and the main information you need is on the board.
This game has been around for many years. This is a game my Mum had when she was a kid and it is still in great condition now so, as long as it is looked after, this game has a very long life span.
It's not a game I play often, but it's nice for a change. Games can last various lengths of time. Last time I played it it was over in less than an hour, but it can last quite a while. It all depends on whether you get the cards and money you need and race through the levels or whether you either struggle to get what you want or just keep getting divorced.
You can buy this game from about £20 on Amazon. You can also find the game on ebay which is probably the cheaper option.
This isn't one of my favourite board games, but it is a good game and one I do play from time to time. It probably won't appeal much to children, but it is a pretty simple game to understand and one that I recommend playing.