FTW Staff Picks - Shop 'N Time
For The Win Board Game Cafe's Staff Picks is a weekly series where we take a quick look at some of the staff's favourite games, old and new.
Shop 'N Time
Genre: Card Drafting
Designer: Daryl Andrews
Player Size: 2 to 8 Players
Game Length: 20 minutes
For fans of: Sushi Go!
When I was a young lad in grade school, I would walk home for lunch everyday. As I enjoyed a home-cooked meal, I would watch episodes of The Price Is Right (and Days of Our Lives, but we'll save that for another blog). The show is still alive and kicking, and it's a staple in daytime television programming. I've always thought I would do well as a contestant on the show, and thanks to Shop 'N Time, I can live out all my daytime fantasies. Think of it as a marriage between The Price is Right and Sushi Go! with an element of the unknown. With support for up to 8 players, you can even make a party of it.
Shop 'N Time joins the company of the influx in mobile companion app games, such as Mansions of Madness: Second Edition and XCOM: The Board Game. It's a lighter fare here as the app is primarily used to scan the QR codes on the cards. There are a handful of different game modes you can choose from, but they all follow the same card-drafting mechanic. The general idea is that you want to draft items as close to the randomly designated price chosen by the app, without going over. The catch is, you don't know any of the actual prices. The only information given on the cards is what the items are, and the year the price was assigned. Once all players have closed-up shop, they'll scan their cards into the app and everyone's totals will be revealed. You never get to see the cost of each individual item, which helps the game maintain replayability.
There is a lot of guesswork that goes into building your way to the target price-point. But it's mostly educated guessing. There's also the element of speed, as the first 3 players to close shop will receive coupons of different values. These coupons will either add or subtract from your final total depending on whether you are over or under the target. The QR scanner works flawlessly when setup the way it's described in the instructions. Simply place your device atop the box of the game, with the camera pointed down and slide each card underneath it. The whole process is quick, and has a very satisfying feel.
Shop 'N Time is a gimmicky card-drafting game. It's not revolutionary, but it gives a new twist to the standard draft genre. It's tough to be confident in your price-guessing skills, because of the wide range of years the items are tagged in. But I have run into games where someone would wipe the floor with everyone all 3 rounds, so there's room to develop a bit of skill in the guesswork. If you like Sushi Go! I think you'll probably enjoy Shop 'N Time a lot. It's as strong a candidate as any other "opener"-type games. It's the type of game that feels better and better the more you play.