Spiel 2014 Preview: Mogul

Posted by James (admin) on September 5th, 2014

(Note: I assume this is for release at Spiel as it’s listed as a 2014 game on Michael Schacht’s web site.)

Mogul coverMogul is a game by Michael Schacht (Zooloretto) which was released in 2002 but has had some additions for the new release too.  It’s a eurogame with a train theme and uses the excellent central game mechanic found in No Thanks.

The game board shows several interlinked (coloured) railway lines with locations for depots along them and players start with some shares in some of the lines and some chips.  Share cards show the colour of the line they are shares in, plus they also show a different line’s colour in a box too (I’ll call this their ‘second colour’).

Each round, a stock card is revealed to be auctioned.  First, all players earn $1 for each share card they have that matches the revealed share card.  Then, players take turns to either place one of their chips in the centre (so they remain in the auction), or pass (which means they’re out of the auction but take all the chips placed so far).

When only one player remains, they can either (a) take the share card, or (b) either sell all the shares they have matching the auctioned card’s second colour, or place one of their depots on the line matching the auctioned card’s second colour.  Shares values are based on how many matching shares other player’s currently own.   The runner-up in the auction gets to perform the action (a or b) that the auction winner did not perform.

When the game end card is drawn, players gain cash based on their depots (each is worth dollars equal to the number of depots that player has on the matching line, so 3 on the same line would each be worth $3).  Player with the most money wins.

Mogul looks to be a short, quick game which is pretty interwoven.  Selling shares for money helps your final score and reduces the value of other players’ shares (as fewer of that colour will be owned when they sell them), but this comes at the cost of reducing your potential income each round.  Depots are worth good amounts of cash at game end if you have several on the same line, so there’s an area control element to the game which should drive players to try to obtain specific share cards.  Also, I like that the share cards have their own colour and their second colour as this means more players will potentially be interested in competing for them (whether to own them or deny an opponent).

This auction style is a lot of fun as players work out when best to pull out based on the card on offer, the chips they have, and the chips they could take (which someone else might take instead if they don’t).  Also, players start to stay in (or bluff that they want to stay in) to try and draw more chips out of players so they can take them (hoping no-one else grabs them first).  I like the idea that coming second in an auction has some value too.

I never played the original game of Mogul, but I really like the sound of the combination of game mechanics.  It’s great to see the No Thanks auction mechanic with a bit more gameplay added.  (Lascaux was another one I liked with it, but that was also very light.)

You can read more info and the rules on Michael Schacht’s Mogul page here: bga.me/mogul

For more Spiel 2014 previews, check out my Spiel 2014 Previews page which lists the games on my radar with links to their previews too.


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