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Introducing For Sale

If you're not familiar with For Sale, then now is a good time to get introduced to it, given that a new edition of the game has just been published by Gryphon Games. It's a fantastic little auction game about buying and selling real estate. The game has two phases: first you bid for property in a regular auction, then you sell these properties in a simultaneous auction. Designed by Stefan Dorra, it's been around since 1997, and the last dozen years have only served to cement its reputation as a time tested filler. It's fast, it's fun, and it's widely regarded as one of the all time best fillers!

A lovely new edition of the game was published in English by Uberplay in 2005. But when Uberplay disappeared from the scene as a publisher, so did For Sale, and there were frantic cries, such as this one: "is For Sale gone forever?" As little as eight months ago, someone wrote: "Get it while you can, any way you can. It's not coming back any time soon. It will probably be reprinted some day; games that popular tend to come back. But the company that printed it most recently is out of business, so it may be years until somebody else picks it up." In view of remarks like this, the fact that Gryphon Games has got the game back in print so quickly is good and welcome news! Gryphon is publishing a series of bookshelf games, and For Sale is #4 in the series:



But what exactly is the new edition by Gryphon Games like? If you're wondering what the Gryphon Games edition is like, what you get, how it looks, and how the game works, then you've come to the right place: this guide is for you.



What editions are there of For Sale?

But first, a short history lecture. It's important to know that For Sale has been through several different editions already:

1997 - First edition: Ravensburger (German)



1998 - Second edition: FX Schmid (German)



2005 - Revised edition: Uberplay (English)



2008 - Reprinted edition: Gryphon Games (English)



How are the editions different?

The biggest change came with the Uberplay edition. Not only was the game now available in English, but the artwork received a complete makeover, and there were also several other changes from the original German versions of the game as well:
● Old: 3-5 players; New: 3-6 players
● Old: 20 properties; New: 30 properties
● Old: 20 cheques (worth 0-20); New: 30 cheques (worth 0-15)
● Old: chips of one value; New: chips of two values
● Old: players start with chips worth 15; New: players start with chips worth 18 (3-4 players) or 14 (5-6 players)
● Old: can call, raise or drop when bidding; New: can only raise or drop when bidding (i.e. no matching bids allowed)

Were these rule changes an improvement? You'll find people on both sides of the fence when it comes to which bidding rules are best, so you can make up your own mind. For example, see some discussion here:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/60912
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/321329
You can decide for yourself about the best way to play - certainly it's possible to play the original rules for bidding with the new editions if you really want to. But certainly it's a real strength that For Sale now supports up to six players, rather than just 3-5.

What do you get with the Gryphon Games edition?

So how does the Gryphon Games edition compare with the Uberplay edition? And what exactly do you get? Well the game box looks slightly different, but also very famliar:



The tagline tells us that the game is about Property and Prosperity, and that's correct: the theme is about buying and selling real estate. It sure is a great theme for an auction type game! Here's the back of the game box:



The inside of the box has a solid plastic component tray for storing all the components neatly:



Here's the complete list of components:
● 30 Property Cards
● 30 Currency Cards
● 72 Coins
● 1 Rule Book

Let's just walk through the components and see what we get:

The rule book

This is basically just a single sheet of thin card, folded in half:



The rules are condensed into a very readable form, making it very easy to get an overview of the rules and find the relevant section you are looking for.

Cards

The biggest part of the game of course are the card, which come in two shrinkwrapped decks:



Those familiar with the Uberplay edition will notice that the artwork on the back of the cards is different:



Cards: Property Cards

The artwork on the front of the Property Cards is unchanged:





Altogether there are 30 Property Cards, numbered from 1-30. This does not indicate the cost of the properties, but rather their relative value. So a card with a 1 (a cardboard box) is the cheapest valued home, in relative terms, whereas a card with a 30 (a space station) is the most valuable home, in relative terms.

Cards: Currency Cards

The "Checks" are now called "Currency Cards", and although the distribution of these is identical, they have quite a different look:





There are thirty of these, with two of each from $2,000 to $15,000. There are also two Currency Cards worth $0 - you don't want to get these when you sell your properties!

Money

The money comes in the same amounts as the Uberplay edition, i.e. 60 $1000 chips, and 12 $2000 chips:



The money is identical on both sides, and that the $1000 chips are no longer smaller than the $2000 chips:



Each player will receive the same amount of money at the start of the game, and this will be used to bid for properties in the auction phase of the game.

Game-play: Flow of Play

Aim

The aim of the game is to purchase the most valuable properties as cheaply as possible, and sell them for as much as possible, since the player with the most money at the end of the game wins.

Set Up

The Property and Currency cards are shuffled into separate piles (a few cards are discarded, depending on the number of players). Players receive some starting money ($18 wiith 3-4 players or $14 with 5-6 players).

Phase 1: Buying Properties

In the first phase, players buy properties through an auction. A number of properties equal to the number of players is turned face up. Players bid to buy these, and must increase the bid of the previous player or drop out of the bidding by passing.



But there are two twists to the bidding process: 1. if you pass, you pay half of your previous bid (rounded up), and take the lowest card; 2. the last player left in the auction gets the most valuable property but must pay his full bid! He also gets to start bidding in the next round, when an equal number of properties are again turned face up for auction. This process is repeated (usually 5 or 6 times in total) until all properties are sold.

Phase 2: Selling Properties

In the second phase, players sell the properties that they have previously bought. A number of currency cards equal to the number of players is turned face up. Each player secretly selects one of his property cards to sell - these are revealed simultaneously. The highest valued currency card available goes to the player with the highest valued property, down the chain, with the lowest valued currency card (it could be a $0!) going to the player with the lowest valued property.



After all properties are sold (usually after 5-6 rounds), the money is totalled to determine the winner.

How do the Uberplay and Gryphon editions compare?

The Gryphon Games edition was marketed as a "reprint" of the Uberplay edition, so it's no surprise that most of the components are nearly identical. In that respect there are no fundamental changes to the rules, but only cosmetic changes to the artwork. Here's how the two editions compare, with the Uberplay edition components pictured on the left, and the Gryphon Games edition components pictured on the right:

Box

The Gryphon edition is slightly wider and shorter than the Uberplay edition:





Since the cards are also slightly wider and shorter in the Gryphon edition, the box insert is slightly different sized as well:



Rule book

The content is virtually identical, but the Gryphon edition is more compact.



The text in the Gryphon rulebook contains an additional paragraph with a brief "Overview" on the game. Some of the terminology is slightly altered ("chips" are called "coins", "checks" are called "currency"). A slight error in the first Uberplay edition has been corrected, so the rules now correctly state that if a player passes "He also takes back half of his bid (rounded down)" (not "rounded up" as incorrectly printed in some Uberplay editions of the rules).

Cards: Property Cards

The artwork on the reverse side of the Property Cards has been changed:



Notice also how the cards in the Gryphon Games edition are slightly shorter and wider.

Fortunately the delightful artwork on the front of the Property Cards is the same, because this is part of the charm of the game.



It could be my imagination, but the colours on the Gryphon Games edition seem a touch less brighter, but it's barely noticeable. The quality of the cards seems somewhat different, because the new edition also has a slightly different feel when shuffling - but it's not significant.

Cards: Currency Cards

The artwork on the reverse side of the Currency Cards has also been changed:



A more significant change is the artwork on the front of the Currency Cards, which no longer look like checks:



Some people will prefer the look-alike checks of the Uberplay edition, others will prefer the simpler and clearer numbering of the Gryphon edition - this is simply a matter of taste.

Money

The money has a similar look, but the Gryphon money chips are all the same size. They also have the same artwork on both sides, unlike the Uberplay money chips:



The feel of the coins is also slightly different, with the Gryphon money chips having a smoother and more glossy finish.

The bottom line

The Uberplay and Gryphon editions are functionally identically, and look quite similar. We can gripe about the minor differences, and make a case for or against the minor changes that have been made, but given that this game was out of print, we should be glad that it has been published again so quickly, and is readily available again!



What do I think?

For Sale is an amazing filler, and rightly called by some The King of Fillers! It has everything you could ever want in a filler game - it's fast, it's fun, it's interactive, it's easy to learn. Of all the fillers I own, especially those which work well with non-gamers, I would put it at the top of the list. It has always gone over well! The artwork is great, especially since each card has a different animal pictured on the property, so this can be a point of humour when auctioning off the different buildings. There's lots of tension during the auction phase, and the simultaneous auction for the currency cards at the end often features lots of hilarity, with both groans and pleasant surprises. What more could you ask for in a satisfying auction game that plays in about 15 minutes?

What do others think?

Even though it's just a light little game, there are several pages of "10" rankings for For Sale. Here are just a few representative comments to give you an idea what others are saying about the game:

"No matter who I'm playing with (even first-timers), everybody gets excited when For Sale hits the table. THIS is the gateway game you have been looking for!" - Curt Crane
"Usually I prefer heavier games (Puerto Rico, Caylus) and wargames, but this is real gem of my collection. I am willing to play it every time. Beautiful and fast filler, but with some depth." - Kamil Klapka
"While this game doesn't even make my top ten list, I'm giving it a "10" because it has become my all-time favorite filler. We just keep playing it over and over again and we never get sick of it. A brilliant game. I can't get enough of the psychological/bluffing factor in the second round." - Doug Saxon
"Portable, elegant, inexpensive & friendly themed artwork. Considerable player interaction due to bidding mechanic with fast rounds and subtle strategy." - Sean C
"Great filler game. Maybe beyond filler, the choices are so interesting and rewarding in such a short time frame. The game has a few levels of guessing and strategic choices that I find really rewarding and fun. Not a filler, a sensational thriller!" - denverarch
"My first "10" rating due to the following: short playing time, easy to teach, has enough tension, and allows for a degree of strategy and bluff." - Andy Erickson
"Spectacular bidding and blind-bidding game. The 2 separate game phases really make this game gel. Maybe the best filler of all time." - Jim Paprocki
" Everybody I've ever introduced to this game -- from age 5 to age 75 -- has loved it." - Chris Okasaki
"Simple is beautiful. It's impossible make more with less. The best game in this genre and a work of art. " - Profesor Mora
"The double layers of auctions is incredibly clever and adds a good level of excitement to the game. Unlike other fillers, the theme is very engaging and can produce some very humourable moments of gaming. " - Elijah Lau


Recommendation

No more needs to be said. This is an amazing game, given the amount of fun and tension it packs into a short time, and how accessible it is. If you don't have this in your collection yet, now is the time to get it. A big thumbs up to Gryphon Games for getting this back into print so quickly!



------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The complete list of Ender's pictorial reviews: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/37596
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Aaron Silverman
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Thanks for the detailed writeup! Unfortunately, you can't really play the old rules with the new edition (beyond allowing call bids) since the card types and quantities are different. I wish someone would reprint the original version, which I liked much better.
 
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Farid Widjaya
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The thing that annoys me about the new edition is that FRED seems to be putting a restriction against selling the game at a discounted price? I just can't seem to justify forking $25 for a little card game. Heck RFTG sells lower at some online stores.

Excellent review by the way. Maybe the awesomeness of the game might push me to get it anyway.
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Asa Swain
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They're small changes, but the closeup comparison just confirms my suspicion that the Uberplay version looked cooler. Why did they change the checks, for instance? But I suppose a lesser reprint is better than no reprint at all. Good review, it just makes me nostalgic for Uberplay.
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Donald Cleary
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I prefer the old check and old money, by the looks of the new edition.
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Brandon Pennington
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$25 is rediculous for this game IMO, and I like it very much. For that price I would just make my own deck out of paper or something.
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J. Brinks
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Thanks for the detailed comparison review!
I just bought the new version and wondered how it compared to the older version. thumbsup
 
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☃ daniel ☃
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$25 for For Sale is pricey for what you get - just cards and some tokens - but it's worth it. I'd say this is the most successful "gateway" game I've played. Mom, dad, in-laws, aunts, uncles all have played this multiple times, and every time it comes out people always ask to play 2nd, 3rds even 4ths and 5ths. In a cost per play analysis, this is probably the game I've gotten the most value from.
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Tanner Griffin
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Man! Gryphon games ruined it all! If I started a board game company, Griffin Games would be my choice for a name. But now they'd probably sue me. life sux.
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Randall Bart
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For Sale is definitely one of the best filler games. It's fast to teach and fast to play. If a player gets in a bad position, he won't slow down the game, because he can't bid on the houses. In the second round, a player who is totally out of it can play randomly without hurting the game.

The game can be brutal. In a 3 player game I saw the 27 take the void check. In a 6 player game I took 1, 3, 20, 24, and 28 in the first round then finished dead last. I love this one.

On the rounding: The original rule in German was round down. The German word "ab" was mistranslated as "up" in the Uberplay rules. The example was translated correctly and contradicted the rule. In the second printing the example was changed to match the rule. When queried, Uberplay said that the correct rule was to round up and we've always been at war with Eastasia.

When you round down/up what you take back, you round up/down what you pay. I believe the more people think in terms of what they pay, so the rule is easy to invert regardless.

I never played with the "call the bid" option, but it seems to me it would just drag out the auctions. At first I thought this game needed more coins to give a little more bidding room, but the more I play it, the more I like it with just $18 or $14. The auctions are short and brutal. With the rounding rule reverting to the original, people will be paying more, and it will get a little shorter and a little more brutal.

I like that this game plays six. Even with four or five, I like the added rounds compared to the Ravensburger/Schmid edition. Thirty makes a nice number of cards.

Looking at the properties, it's obvious the art was commissioned for the shape of Uberplay's cards, not Gryphon's.

There's a house on the back of one of Gryphon's decks. Silly me, I thought the house was to mark the houses.

I wish the checks still looked like checks, but I thought the Uberplay checks needed bigger higher contrast numbers in the corners. The new money cards are more readable and that's a good thing. The new $1 chips are as big as the $2 chips, and that's a bad thing. The new money chips are labeled on both sides, and that's a good thing. None of this is significant.

I wish the checks were numbered 1 thru 30. In the original, all 20 checks had different values. If there weren't duplicate check values, you could play a four round game where the third round is like the second round but you trade checks for houses and then the fourth round is houses to checks again. It would be an interesting game for For Sale pros.

If you like this game you should try Turn the Tide.
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Farid Widjaya
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By the way Enders, it would be really cool to do all the games on the new Gryphon series if that's on your plate! =)
 
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Rick Kimmel
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skwm wrote:
$25 for For Sale is pricey for what you get - just cards and some tokens - but it's worth it. I'd say this is the most successful "gateway" game I've played. Mom, dad, in-laws, aunts, uncles all have played this multiple times, and every time it comes out people always ask to play 2nd, 3rds even 4ths and 5ths. In a cost per play analysis, this is probably the game I've gotten the most value from.


The only reason I think $25 is ridiculous is because I paid $12 for my Uberplay edition. Had I paid $20 for my Uber the $25 Gryphon edition probably wouldn't seem like such a rip off.
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Matt Hoskins
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ekimmel wrote:
skwm wrote:
$25 for For Sale is pricey for what you get - just cards and some tokens - but it's worth it. I'd say this is the most successful "gateway" game I've played. Mom, dad, in-laws, aunts, uncles all have played this multiple times, and every time it comes out people always ask to play 2nd, 3rds even 4ths and 5ths. In a cost per play analysis, this is probably the game I've gotten the most value from.


The only reason I think $25 is ridiculous is because I paid $12 for my Uberplay edition. Had I paid $20 for my Uber the $25 Gryphon edition probably wouldn't seem like such a rip off.


The $6-$8 Tanga sale was about the right price point.

$25 is absurd for the equivalent of a Hoyle deck of cards and 72 coins.

It is a brilliant filler game at an unfortunate price point.
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Ender Wiggins
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widjayaman wrote:
By the way Enders, it would be really cool to do all the games on the new Gryphon series if that's on your plate! =)

As requested, I just posted a pictorial review of another game in the series - High Society - here:

So you're wondering about the new Gryphon edition of High Society: A Definitive Guide with Pictures
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/378813

It's a great filler like For Sale, but has a bit more meat to it - in fact, I think I personally even enjoy it more! It's also arguably one of Knizia's all time best auction games. If you enjoy For Sale, High Society is definitely another great game you should check out.

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Will
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EndersGame wrote:
But there are two twists to the bidding process: 1. if you pass, you pay half of your previous bid (rounded up), and take the lowest card; 2. the last player left in the auction gets the most valuable property but must pay his full bid!
...
A slight error in the first Uberplay edition has been corrected, so the rules now correctly state that if a player passes "He also takes back half of his bid (rounded down)" (not "rounded up" as incorrectly printed in some Uberplay editions of the rules).

I agree, this is a great filler game, very good detailed review of the game overall, and good details on how they differ.

I wasn't aware of this rule differance! We've been playing for years that you pay your bid rounded down when you pass. That gives rise to a whole strategy of bidding odd, or bidding 1 and passing for free, or bidding 3 and passing, and only paying one.

Barticus88 wrote:
On the rounding: The original rule in German was round down. The German word "ab" was mistranslated as "up" in the Uberplay rules. The example was translated correctly and contradicted the rule. In the second printing the example was changed to match the rule. When queried, Uberplay said that the correct rule was to round up and we've always been at war with Eastasia.


Very interesting, I'll have to give it a try the more brutal correct way (pay half rounded up).
 
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☃ daniel ☃
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Just as a point of comparison, the Uberplay edition sold for $14.99 MSRP, or about $12 at online discount retailers (source: http://www.fairplaygames.com/games.asp?filter=Manufacturer-U...). $25 MSRP is a pretty steep price hike over the $15 Uberplay MSRP.
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R. James Ottley
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$25 MSRP is a pretty steep price hike over the $15 Uberplay MSRP.


I have to say that I will gladly pay 25$ for a game like this, especially if it means the company that's putting these games out for me ends up lasting more than a couple years.
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Andrew Watson
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quartex wrote:
... the Uberplay version looked cooler.


Never mind these new-fangled versions, I loved the pictures of the houses in the Ravensburger edition. I miss my copy. Why, oh why did I put (most of) my Stefan Dorra games up for sale?
 
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M H
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Today my Gryphon edition arrived.
I am disappointed by the card quality. Right out of the box the cards stick together. They shuffle really bad because they haven't been cut well. The edge of the cards is rounded on the backside and on the front it is sharp. Because they are not flat at the edges they tend to stick together and don't separate.
They are also easily bend. Somehow i managed to bend one corner just after taking them out of the box. Never happened to me before.
Maybe i am spoiled by the quality of cards from games made in Europe.

The whole box is also much to big for 60 cards and some money. And even then the hole for the money is too small for the chips. It could have been deeper, especially considering that under the inset is mainly air.
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Guan Yixin
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But there are two twists to the bidding process: 1. if you pass, you pay half of your previous bid (rounded up), and take the lowest card;

It seems there is one rule mistake here. When you pass, you could only pay the money of your previous bid, rounded DOWN.

 
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Randall Bart
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mobileg wrote:
It seems there is one rule mistake here. When you pass, you could only pay the money of your previous bid, rounded DOWN.

You pay half rounded up. It was mistranslated in the Uberplay edition,
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