Magic Market from LOKI Kids and Coiledspring games is a wonderful, colourful introduction to memory and market forces!
How To Play
On the central Visitor’s Path disk (aka rondel), you put 12 little blue witch’s hats (“visitor pawns”) into the available spaces. Then give each player a satchel board, 3 Dragos, and a cardboard market stall together with 12 matching goods in their colour. Choosing 6 starting items, these are slotted into gaps on the stall. After that, set down the two dice in easy reach, give someone control of the money and nominate another to become Time-Master.
On your turn, roll the number dice and turn the rondel the required number of star spaces. Looking at your colour of the main market board, pick one of the three witch’s hats within your coloured quadrant (remembering to which picture it corresponds!). If you have an item on your stall showing a matching symbol, you roll the colour dice to determine the price you can sell it for. Each item has a red, blue, and green value. That item then gets removed from your stall, the money paid from the bank, and, if you still have enough left, you can choose another item to fill the slot.
If you don’t have an item with a symbol matching the one revealed you don’t get to sell anything this turn, and play then passes to the next player. After 10 rounds (8 in a two player game), the Dracos are totalled, and the richest seller is the winner!
A big part of this game is recall. So, you’ll need to remember which symbol goes with which picture as you roll, lift, and replace witch’s hats each turn. Remember; you can only sell if your hat matches a symbol on in item in your stall!
But you also need to visit other stalls to buy some items from your opponents! And in that case, you need someone to watch your stall whilst you go spend it up! Luckily when a witches hat is present in your quadrant (and you remember to pick it), you can go shopping!
The price for the the item you choose starts off as a negotiation, so you’ll want to haggle low. If the seller doesn’t bite, the price gets determined by the dice and the money comes from your Draco stash. Crazy buyer symbols are great because they buy anything! You get to pick the item they are going to take, roll the dice for the price, and get the money from the bank!
Magical Market Forces
This game also introduces young gamers to the push and pull of supply and demand. You want your stall to be the right mix of items that both your opponents and the buyers hidden in the rondel want.
Luck does play a big part in determining which buyers will visit your quadrant each turn. Even if you remember that the rocking horse is paired with the cat, you can’t sell a rocking horse until that cat comes into your quadrant But if your stall can be set up with a variety of symbols, this will attract as many purchases as possible. You also want items that generate the best prices, but not too high that players can’t afford them. So having a good range of lower and higher priced goods is worth considering.
There is also an advanced mode – “The Great Wizard’s Visit”. On the reverse of the satchel are a series of specific symbols. If you can buy these over just 9 rounds, the Great Wizard will buy them off you for the specified Draco bonus at the end of the game.
This is a great game to play with the kids. The combination of memory, economics, dice rolling, market trading, and lovely components is a winner. The play time at around 30 minutes is good too – just enough time for memory skills to start paying off, but not too long to overstay its welcome. With different playing modes, it is also adaptable and versatile.
It’s also a game that doesn’t feel mean. Even if you miss out on selling due to a symbol/stall mismatch, turns roll around so fast that the feeling is fleeting. Plus being able to go “shopping” at other player’s stalls is exciting! Picking items and working out cost/change is a bonus mathematical life skill and learning development opportunity.
Overall, we are incredibly impressed with Magic Market. It is a kid’s game, of course, but one that grown-ups are going to be happy to play and want to play.