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If you are wanting to go shopping for boardgames, where do you go? Maybe you normally shop online at one of the independent boardgame e-tailers or even amazon, which is fine but sometimes its nice to look at actual game boxes and smell the cardboard, or should that be smell the cellophane that encases the box holding in all that “new game smell” you look forward to once you get a game home and open it in seclusion – surely its not just me that enjoys opening games?

If you are out for some general shopping around town, especially with your other half, rather than going with specifically intention of visiting a games shop, then persuading them to visit your friendly independent boardgame emporium can be a bind (my usual suggestion is to split up and meet later, though this can prove expensive!). If you are a bargain-hunter type of person, and I am, then there is a sneaky alternative in the form of the bargain clothing chain TK Maxx. For those who don’t know TK Maxx is a German company and they seem to have some relation with Queen Games, so often stock some of their games hidden in the toy section. So you can now suggest you both go there!

TK Maxx have this policy of reducing items that don’t sell after six weeks, which can often mean you get boardgames that don’t interest the majority of their clientèle for a lot lower than elsewhere. I recently bought Sultan for £6 and Catch-a-Cash for £3, both under a quarter of their RRP, and went home happy.

Sultan is a bid-bluffing game where each player gets the same deck of cards 15 cards numbered 1-15 that they shuffle and draw 5 cards from for each of the 3 rounds. In each round a player draws 5 gems from a bag and puts 4 up for auction each player then placers one card next to one gem (so you may get some gems where more than one player has put their card next to, some where only one has, or some where no player has put next to), in cases where more than one player has put a card to it, highest value wins with rules for ties. Each gem has a point value (1-5 depending on colour) plus you get additional points for collecting multiples of the same colour. Its a nice short game and the gem selection option does mean you can try choose gems in the hope that there will be one that you want that others are less interested so you get it unopposed.

Cash-A-Catch is a set collection game with a bell! Each player takes the turn as auctioneer at a fish market and turns over cards until another player rings the bell and buys the fish for a flat fee of 10€ to the bank, the auctioneer gets a commission of 1€ per card bought. Each player has a player-board that depicts two crates, one ice crate, and a trash bucket. The three crates can each only take a single type of fish, and so if you buy fish you cant store in these they go into the bucket for negative points at the end of the game. An auctioneer can, before they offer up the new catch sell all of the fish in one or more of their crates. You get more money for larger sets, however you may decide to sell small sets early, because of what happens when you sell. When a type of fish is sold other players with that type of fish in their non-ice crates have to throw them in the trash. So you may sell to make other players trash or sell because you know another player after you will most likely sell. In addition to the fish types there are Octopus cards that act as jokers, a fish thief that allows you to steal the top card off another players crate, and one that allows you to discard two cards from your trash bucket. Cash-a-catch is a game I first played a couple of years ago and enjoyed and thought it would make a nice addition to my collection at some point, getting it for so cheap was a bonus. Although you pay a set price for the catch you buy it does play like a Dutch Auction game like Merchants of Amsterdam though instead of waiting for a lower price before stopping the bid you are waiting for the size and contents of the catch.

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