Decadence has finally arrived in the board game sector too. In the board game Market by Rüdiger Dorn, players slip into the roles of rich citizens who earn their time in markets. If you have ever asked yourself what you would do with your money if you had tons of it, you will get an answer here.

Donate? Nothing. Support social projects? Nothing. Acquire art objects to enjoy them? Yes, that is much closer to the point. Board game is for Market the ideal term, because in a certain way an important basic social issue is touched upon: waste. Splurging with what you have - or what you are willing to afford - is one of the core elements of the KOSMOS investment game. Because you have to buy your clutter first in order to be able to show it off, players stroll leisurely across the market at Mercado, toss coins and buy all sorts of useless stuff. Don't get it wrong: the game idea of Market is exciting.

Anyone who has always wanted to know what the stressful life of wealth and decadence feels like should read the following review of the board game Market definitely not to be missed.

Upper class shopping queens

Bags are currently the "hot shit" of the board game scene. At Mercado, too, players are initially provided with their personal coin sack, which continuously functions as a resource donor. There are coins of different colors in the bags so that you can buy the merchants' goods on the market. The problem: at the different market stalls, the idiosyncratic traders demand certain combinations of the coins. Fortunately, every retailer only sells their goods for individual combinations of resources: it makes the shopping tour much more exciting for players.

That can drive many a moneybag crazy, because things are anything but neat in a coin pouch. Silver, gold, turquoise and reddish coins fly around in the coin sack at will - just as if you as a rich citizen did not need to sort your money. Where so much money can be found, counterfeit money is not far either. And so, in addition to the various types of coins, there are worthless counterfeit coins that players cannot use to buy anything.

Finally it is their turn, active players draw a total of three coins from their bag. Blind, of course, so that the luck factor really comes into play. If counterfeit money falls into the hands of a player, it is immediately placed on the player board and reduces the available resources by a part. The remaining coins can be deposited with the dealers as down payments for the desired goods. Unlike in real life, nobody buys on credit at Mercado: the goods only become property of the players when they have given the retailer the full - and therefore appropriate - amount. In order not to simplify the shopping tour too much, unused coins, with the exception of the counterfeit money, have to be put back in the bag at the end of the turn. So far, so easy.

The strategic component is felt when players run out of coins. Anyone who was able to successfully acquire one of the items places the coins used for it on their gamer picture - and thus outside of the direct access area. Coins that are on the portrait cannot be used for shopping in the next round. However, all other bidders will get back the coins they have invested up to the point of purchase. In this way, the resource relationships are constantly shifting. This is exciting. That has a balancing effect.

The fewer coins are available, the more it becomes necessary to decide whether to skip a round in order to get the coins back. If a participant renounces his round activity, he may put the coins from his player picture back into his bag. Anyone who has read the review carefully so far will immediately notice what that means: in this way, the counterfeit money also finds its way back into the coin pouch.

Anyone who tries so hard to manage their resources as efficiently as possible must of course be rewarded in a special way. Mercado's rules and regulations ensure, of course, that the highest bidder gets a big piece of the pie. The additional reward comes in the form of a seal that now allows you to pull two more coins out of the bag once. Players can use it to temporarily expand their shopping opportunities.

The richest man's greatest enemy: the tax office - and renunciation

By the way, a game at Mercado is played until a player has circled the scoring board once. Then the current round is played to the end, then the “consolation points” are awarded to determine the places on the podium. 

Whoever calls an object or fragrance their own receives a certain number of victory points for it. Players now move their pawns on the scoring board by the appropriate number. Another strategic component comes into play through the luxury goods purchased: various bonuses are triggered depending on the purchased item. These can consist, for example, of additional seals, grant the player victory points or fill the bag with joker coins. 

Mercado attracts the upper class to the weekly market. Equipped with lots of coins, players can shop unrestrainedly and then show off the trinkets they have bought. Mercado mixes tactics and luck.
Mercado attracts the upper class to the weekly market. Equipped with lots of coins, players can shop unrestrainedly and then show off the trinkets they have bought. Mercado mixes tactics and luck.

The latter can then be used in the classic way as a universal coin to simplify purchases. Even counterfeit coins can disappear from the money bag with the right bonus. There is joy in both money bags.

At Mercado, it's strategically smart to get the right items at the right time. The various bonuses as well as the possibility to bring the coins that have been blocked so far back into the game at a time of your choosing. Overall, tactical actions in the underlying game mechanics are of course not enough to be victorious. A good dose of luck is essential Market of course compulsory to do so.

In any case, the positive thing about this mixture of tactics and luck is that it works in both directions. On the one hand, players can mitigate the luck factor with the help of a good strategy; on the other hand, a lucky hand can compensate for some tactical weaknesses. This remains Market playfully fair.   

Who is Mercado particularly suitable for?

The tactical buying game Market With its beginner-friendly game mechanics, it especially attracts family players to the table. Thanks to the always comprehensible game actions, even children get along well with the basic rules. Market basically has everything that makes an ideal family game: great material, decent illustrations, simple rules of the game, a manageable number of game actions and a reasonable playing time.

The step from instructional study to first action only takes a few minutes. The basis is easy to understand; the good instructions do their part to get the game started quickly. Players only have two main options during their turn: draw and display coins or fill up the bag.

This means that the downtime for the other players is very low. It only takes a few moments until the active player has invested his three available coins and possibly triggered a bonus. Market offers board players a smooth gaming experience - also because second-placed bidder can take advantage of an additional seal. The tactical board game by Rüdiger Dorn offers a relaxed game experience for 2 to 4 players, ages 10+. It is quite suitable as a full-length board game because you like to play several games in a row.

Still uses it Market comparatively quickly, which is also due to the fact that only a minimal variant is available with the playable back of the scoring board. This mainly plays with the various bonuses, but otherwise remains inconspicuous.

Pictures of Mercado by Rüdiger Dorn


Number of players: 2 to 4 players
Age: from 10 years
Playing time: 30 to 45 minutes
Difficulty: medium
Long-term motivation: medium

Publisher: KOSMOS
Author: Rüdiger Dorn
Graphic: Fiore GmbH
Year of publication: 2018
Language: German
Cost: 35 Euro


Overall is Market by Rüdiger Dorn an entertaining buying game that mixes a luck mechanic with some rather simple tactical influence options. The gameplay works flawlessly. Market plays fluently and can inspire almost every type of player for a game. Frequent gamers will miss the challenge in the long term, because even sophisticated strategies cannot counteract the immense luck factor. With the board game from KOSMOS, everyone else receives a title that regularly appears on the gaming table. 

Market scores above all with its simple basic rules that even casual gamers have understood in no time at all. The excellent instructions help you to find a quick introduction to the board game by Rüdiger Dorn. The course of the game is not stingy with moments of surprise: players become surprising winners because they prevail with the happier hand in a possible final spurt. Instead of complicated evaluations, wins at Market the first player to cross the finish line on the scoring board. This may make predictive tactics superfluous, but it is still exciting because the positions on the board can change suddenly. Even when determining the winner remains Market loyal to his hand to simplicity.

Strategically designed Market rather shallow. The mixture of luck-heavy and tactical game factors just doesn't allow any more. That shouldn't necessarily be seen as a shortcoming, because the games always ripple smoothly. There are seldom great cheers; But also excitement: Market plays comfortably and relaxed.

If you have your bag and thus your resources under control, you can still hope that some of the planned game strategies will pay off. One of the reasons for this is that the progress on the scoring board - and thus the receipt of some bonuses - can be planned. At least roughly.

It should also be noted that Market with each additional player increases in excitement. With a full team of four players, the competition between each other is much more noticeable - and also more exciting - than in a minimalist two-player game. 

Is rich in variety Market not at first sight. The game board has two playable sides that differ in details. What is still clever: the start and finish positions can be freely selected, so that the scoring board plays a little differently with each game. After all.

Overall is Market by Rüdiger Dorn a good example of a successful family game. The tactical buying game does not ignite a firework of enthusiasm, but still ignites. Anyone looking for a board game for relaxed rounds of games will find what they are looking for with this title from KOSMOS.