So you want to go from sewer rat to fat cat, huh? Well, you’ve come to the right place! We are going to teach you how to play Rats to Riches!
Groundworks in Rats to Riches
Stop your scavenging, let’s move on to setting up the game…
Firstly, unfurl the board which is the base of the box. Crack the hinges gently if you need to get it to sit flat. Place the small cheese wedges in the triangular wedge shapes; they don’t all fit but justify this by thinking they gave you some spares so your OCD doesn’t go into overdrive!
The currency of the game is Swindle. Separate these into 1s, 5s and 10s and place them on their allocated slots in The Slush Fund.
Next, distribute a flush card to each player and return any unused flush cards to the box. While you’re at it, give 5 Swindle to each player. Then, each player can also take 3 cheeses of any colour, or combination of colours, from the supply.
To finish set up, separate the Scrappy Sewer and Supreme Sewer cards, shuffle each deck and then place the Supreme Sewer Cards onto The Ratpack slot. On top of these place the Scrappy Sewer cards. Turn the top three cards over and place them onto The Open Sewer.
You are now ready to play. Let's learn how to play Rats to Riches!
The winner is the first to have 100 Swindle.
Learning how to play Rats to Riches is pretty simple. On your turn, you will take the following actions:
Step 1. Collect income. As the game progresses, some of the cards in front of you will have a plus symbol with a number on it. This is what you gain in income at the start of your turn.
On your first go, the Flush card gains you 2 income, so you will take 2 Swindle from The Slush Fund. As the game progresses, you will probably gain more at the start of subsequent turns.
Step 2. Buy and/or use Cards. The cards in the Open Sewer are available to buy. The cost of the card is in the bottom right corner and if you have the required cheese or money you can buy it.
Pay for your purchase by returning the cheese or money back to the supply and take the card. Immediately turn over the next card. If you can afford this one you can buy it too. In fact, you can buy as many cards as you can afford on your turn!
You can also use your card's power at this moment. If you do, carry out its effect and then discard it to the cesspit.
Step 3. Buy cheese. You can buy up to three cheeses of any colour on your turn. Each cheese costs one Swindle which is paid to The Slush Fund or the mob boss – more about those in a minute.
Play continues with each player following those steps in a clockwise direction until it comes back to the player who went first, thus completing one round.
At this point, all players tally and declare their Swindle. The person with the most money becomes the big cheese and gets to have this rather awesome component in front of them. It also grants them 2 Swindle income each round.
I tend to award this when awarding the Big Cheese component as it is easy to forget otherwise.
Gutter know your cards!
The next part of learning how to play Rats to Riches is learning the different types of cards that you'll encounter during the game:
The first is the Flush card that you are issued with at the start of the game. Just because you got this at the start doesn’t mean it’s not a great card. In fact, it is one of the most powerful so use it wisely!
The Flush cards allow you to take any card from the open market even if you can’t afford it. Not only that but you will also clear the other cards in the Open Market and issue three new cards.
The blue cards are pipes. These cost one, two or three blue cheeses and are worth their value squared. Be sure to notice that some cards have more than one pipe on. They have a value in Swindle. When you cash them in, they are worth their value squared. For example, if I have five pipes, I could cash them in for 25 Swindle, as five multiplied by five is 25. 3 pipes would only be worth 9 Swindle and 10 would be worth 100 Swindle and win you the game. Don’t ignore the pipes!
The green cards. These enterprises cost between one and three green cheeses and grant income of 2, 4 and 6 accordingly. They’ve got great names too.
For example who wouldn’t want to own the company Feta Frigates LLC which, because of the +2, will give you 2 more Swindle on your turn when claiming income.
Purple cards are careers cards and always cost three cheeses unless you have the career card, which means they cost less. These grant unique, lasting benefits and can be quite powerful. They are also the cards that dictate the mob bosses… but you’re still going to have to wait before I tell you about those!
Examples of purple cards include the Purple Partisan that allows you to buy other purple cards for any two cheeses. Not only is that a saving of one cheese on the usual price but the cheeses don’t have to match the colour of the card! There's also the Sewer Superintendent that gets 2 Swindle every time another rat buys a card.
The Supreme Sewer Cards
That’s all the cards you will encounter in the Scrappy Sewer, but when you hit the Supreme Sewer cards the game ramps up a gear with more powerful cards and two further colours. With the right planning in the Scrappy Sewer and a little bit of luck, any player can win on their turn in the Supreme Sewer.
So, in the Supreme Sewer you may encounter yellow cards. These are event cards and when turned over usually affect all rats immediately. Carry out its action and send it to the cesspit, replacing it from the top card of the Rat Pack like usual.
You might be pleased when Forget About It is revealed, for example. This card allows 2 free cheese; some yellow cards aren't as nice!
The grey cards are bundles. These cost 5 Swindle instead of cheese and let you bundle stuff together to sell it off quick. The reward is always 25 Swindle and can quickly get you to the 100 swindle mark to claim victory if played at just the right time. Bundles go to the cesspit.
The Poor Rat's bundle, for example, allows you to dump any card to get the 25 Swindle reward, but only if you are the poorest.
That’s all the cards. You're almost done learning how to play Rats to Riches.
Water lot to take in!
Finally, I get to talk to you about the cheesy crooks that are granted with purple career cards. These mob bosses mean that the owner receives the Swindle payment for that colour cheese instead of it returning to the Slush fund.
That’s all! Now you know how to play Rats to Riches! For more information about the game, read our full review here. Remember the three steps on your turn and you will soon be turning from Rats to Riches!