|Equipment Required||standard piecepack, pawn saucers, 3 nickels, 25 pennies, paper & pencil for each player|
|Designer||MichaelSchoessow? and StephenSchoessow?|
You are a business executive and speculator interested in buying shops in a new and attractive city center shopping mall. Your goal is to maximize profit by owning the most lucrative shops in the best locations, staffed with your brightest managers.
Shops earn money for their owners whenever customers enter them. Various visitors to the mall have differing preferences. Visitors only enter shops that are the same color they are. When the game starts, all the mall visitors are still outside the mall, waiting to come in. During the course of the game they enter in groups, called crowds, and move throughout the mall, from entrance to fountain or fountain to fountain, or fountain to entrance, entering all shops of their color as they pass by. Players have the options of auctioning shops, moving crowds, and swapping managers during their turns in order to maximize their profits.
Shopping Mall, a port of MarraCash?, by Michael and Stephen Schoessow. Although we had some rules questions for the author, this is another game that pretty much "just works" as presented. Everyone who played it enjoyed it, and most of us agreed it was an improvement on the original. Indeed, I tend to think of it as Fischer Random MarraCash?, because the random setup fixes a problem with the static layout of the original game's board in the same way that Bobby Fischer has tried to overcome the modern dependence on book openings with Fischer Random Chess. Nor is that the only improvement to the game; there are many. There is an "improvement" we never used, and that's the one in which you can exchange managers between different stores you own in the mall. After some analysis, we agreed that this was probably because the game is a little too short, so tempo is everything, and you can't waste a turn action not making money. Pretty easily fixed by adding a few more customers (pennies), we thought. Finally, Shopping Mall could use a bit of zazz. The theme is a little drab. It makes perfect sense, but the game could have taken a tip from Take Off, Eh! and added some funny colour text. Even renaming it "Regional Manager" would lend a bit of humour. But overall, a splendid game.