I flaunt my wealth in front of my friends; my expensive holidays, the best champagne, draped in haute couture, I live a life of luxury. A life of luxury with a score of 17 to be exact. Little do they know this opulence is all a facade as now I’m broke. Such is life in High Society.
High Society is an auction game in which players spend their hard-inherited wealth on luxuries to achieve the highest score at the end of the game. The one caveat being that before anyone gets to score, the poorest player (least money remaining in hand) immediately loses. For a game first published in 1995, High Society holds up and provides just as much bite as many other popular small box games.
First published in 1995, this is, in fact, the 6th edition of the game according to Board Game Geek. With this new edition, we get gorgeous new art that, after a quick look through Board Game Geek, appears to be a huge improvement over previous editions. The attractiveness of the Art Nouveau style not only makes it a lovely little box to have on the shelf but gives a great first impression to friends and family not used to board games. This is what High Society excels at, it’s a game that is an easy sell to those not used to board games while still being an engaging opener for more regular board gamers. It’s very easy to teach and plays in about half an hour.
While High Society is fairly simple, there’s depth to interest the hobby gamers alongside more casual players. The contents of the deck are easy to memorise (10 cards numbered 1 to 10, 3 x2 modifiers and 3 negative modifiers) and keeping in mind what the remaining cards might be is important for making informed decisions on how you bid. The 10 may come out early – should you bid hard? or just drive up the bidding as much as possible before passing. Try and save your money for the later rounds and try and scoop up luxuries while others are poor, but wait too long and there may not be enough cards left.
What’s more, it’s not just a case of how much money you have left but also how that reamining dosh is split between your cards. If you have 25,000 Francs remaining but it’s contained on one card, you can’t bid as you’ll knock yourself out of the game. Keeping back lower denominations for later rounds allows you to make canny bids raising in small increments instead of realising that if you want to raise, the smallest card you can play is 10,000 Francs. The rule that eliminates the poorest player creates a palpable tension, especially as you go into the final few turns. In several games we’ve counted players out because they were a little to frivolous in splashing the cash early on, only to reach the last few rounds and realising you’re not so flush yourself – “How much can I spend? I really need this Champagne but I think Layla still has 15,000 Francs”
High Society is a great small box game you can throw in your bag whether your visiting family or your board game group, safe in the knowledge you’ve packed a solid 30 minutes of fun.
For more board game bits why not check out Nevi’s roundup of all the games he tried on his trip to Airecon, or for another great game to introduce to the family take a look at our review of the word game Moveable Type.