FLEA MARKET: A BARGAIN HUNTING DICE GAME for 3-5 eight year olds and above
Published by Mayfair/Funfair. Designed by Leo Colovini.
Leo Colovini nearly always dreams up wonderful family games with gamer strategies. On very rare occasions he designs a game that doesn’t quite work for us, but FLEA MARKET isn’t one of them, this is a good, fast playing, fun experience.
Like most of the other Flea Market games I have played, including those like “Dealer’s Choice” which is a car dealing game, Colovini’s FLEA MARKET is about buying cheap and selling expensive.
The board depicts a pathway round a local Car Boot Sale (Flea Market) around which are spaces for 16 dealer tables. Onto these spaces, which are 0-10, are randomly placed the items for sale, which themselves are numbered 3-18. One of the players is given the “Active Agent” character (a bunny) which is the start tile, and three white dice, every player is given a pair of coloured dice, a player token in the same colour as the dice and $24.00 in money tiles. True to American banknotes, it is pretty difficult to tell the 1s from the 5s from the 20s, though careful examination reveals there is a slight colouration difference in each as well as the denomination number.
Note: The numbers on the items are only for identification and do not have an points or cash value.
The game mechanic is slick and quick. The Active player rolls the three white dice and takes the corresponding item from the board or from in front of a player and places it on the “sales space”. The item nearest to the path entrance is then placed onto the dealer’s table from which the item now on sale was removed. If the item was taken from the board a dice-based auction then occurs, all players rolling their personal pair of dice to confirm their offer – you cannot refuse to join in the auction but you may pass once you have seen the result of your dice roll. The money from an auction for an item off the board is paid to the bank. If everyone passes then the item either goes back to its owner or the Active Agent (who put the item on sale by the roll of the 3 white dice) gets it for free.
If the item was taken from in front of a player that player has to give the item up for auction they cannot refuse, but you are given a bonus in $dollars equal to the largest uncovered (by an item) number showing on the board. For example, if the roll is a “9” and you owe the item numbered 9 then you are given the bonus $dollars, plus when the item is sold you also get the cash from the sale.
The winner is the first player to amass a might total of $45.00. This may not sound a lot but it can take a while if the die rolls are mainly low or people always pass on high rolls.
It is unlikely that anyone will actually pay more than 6 or possibly 7 for an item as this will be spending too much of the little cash you have, and also possibly giving another player a boost towards their goal. The balance is though that by not bidding (ie Passing) you are giving items away for free so anything made on them later is all bonus cash.
Overall this is a very well thought out Leo Colovini special with no confusing or misleading rules. In fact the rules have been stretched to the limit with illustrations and examples just so they can fit onto two sides of a colourful page – without the aforementioned additions the rules wouldn’t have taken up half a page of A5 paper.