Known in French as "Le fortuniste", Ratrace is all about social success. You start out in life with $200, a Credit Card and a Business in the Working Class (outer ring of the board) and your objective is to get into the Middle Class and eventually High Society (inner ring). You'll have to face the usual: running your business, paying taxes, getting an education, joining social clubs and much more. You win by retiring with $100 000.
With six players, all businesses in the game start owned; with less players, the Treasury owns the remaining businesses. When playing with two or three, each player can own two sets of businesses at start. The businesses sell various Status Symbols (required to move up in society) in addition to "Other Purchases". Credit can be used to buy things --the cards have no limit, but whenever you land on a Credit Due square you must pay the card off entirely, plus 10% interest. Bankruptcy means you start all over again.
You can win up to 3 different status symbols at a time, and you cannot buy one of a class lower than your own. Money comes in through a payoff/salary square on each class ring (and a few other windfall squares), and changes hands with purchases in a zero-sum fashion.
To enter the Middle Class, you must have $500, three status symbols and either a Night School diploma or a Country Club membership. Or you can marry. Status symbols now beneath you must be auctioned off. High Society requires $3000, 3 status symbols, and either a University diploma or a Yacht Club membership. Or marry again. The risk with marriage is that you may end up on a Divorce square...
From a Waddington ad dated 1976: "A macho game of Social Climbing - Do you have what it takes to be a success? Start with $200 in the working class. Then try to make it to the Middle Class and High Society. You'll have to face all of life's anxiety's along the way, but there is always the chance of making it rich! Get in the Ratrace! You'll bite and claw your way to the top. You'll never know when you might need the skills this game will teach you - in real life!"