High Society Review

Have you ever wanted to be part of one of those auctions where you can bid ridiculous amounts of money on something, like you’re some kind James Bond villain wearing a lavish and over the top outfit adorned with diamonds as buttons just because you can? Well now you can in High Society, a game of flaunting your wealth and out bidding your friends to become the most revered person around!

High Society is game for 3-5 players where you will be bidding at auctions for – well, I’m not entirely sure… There are lots of French phrases on the cards like “Avant garde” and “joie de vivre” which is a bit vague really. Am I bidding for the joy of life, or the opportunity to do something that will give me the joy of life? Or some new experimental off the wall thing that everyone simply must own? There also appears to be some kind of trip to a casino, but I doubt very much it’s your standard Vegas casino – I’ve seen them, they aren’t that glamourous, it’s probably a Casino in Monte Carlo. But whatever these things are, we all want them because it will make everyone else jealous and make us look like Kings and/or Queens!

Each player starts off with the same amount of money and there is a deck of cards face down in the middle of the table. You will flip over the top card to reveal it and then the bidding will commence. Think of it kind of a bit like a bluffing game where you might want to make people think you really want a card in order to get other players to bid more money, only to then pull out of the deal at the right time, so they spend more and you keep your money.

But, obviously you will also want your own collection of cards as each one has a specific value or score attached to it, and essentially the player with the most points at the end of the game wins.  There are also a few ‘disgrace’ cards in the deck that will penalise you for owning them, so at this point you’ll be bidding to not end up with them and the first player to pass on the bid will add the card to their deck. The disgrace cards can do things like half your total score at the end of the game, or force you to discard another card you own.

The game originally released in 1995 and having had a look the other versions it’s nice that this re-published version by Osprey Games has had a lick on paint and we’re treated to a lovely bunch of art on each card that looks fantastic and vibrant and feel great quality too. Personally I think the older versions look damn ugly.

On the surface of it, High Society may seem like a simple ‘outbid your opponents to win’ but with the addition of the disgrace cards the gameplay switches things up nicely giving it a more tactical feel to it. Plus if you have the least amount of money left when the game ends, you won’t even be considered as a winner as you’re cast aside like some unwanted outdated clothing not suitable for the upper class folk around you, which really makes you think about your game plan a little more. It’s just a few little additions, but it really does change the way the games play out.

High Society, is a nicely packaged bundle that will easily fit in any bag meaning it’s great for trips or cracking out on an evening if you’ve been invited to a ‘games night’. A game only takes around 20 minutes to play and you can learn the rules in about 10 minutes, if not quicker.

Whenever I play these smaller, quick games I always think about how well they would go down at a games night or how well they would travel for a holiday game, or something similar and High Society suits both very well. Simply put, there is a reason this game has been re-printed so many times since its first appearance in 1995.

-Will

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