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PoorVille

PoorVille

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PoorVille
PoorVille.jpg
Designer: Invisible Playground & Balint Fazekas
Players: 8-50
Stuff required: poker chips, 100 HUF, price tags, gong
Crew required: 2 for every 10 players
Preparation: 60 minutes
Time required: 30 minutes
Place required: Market area with lots of cheap stuff
Activities: Buying, crafting, counting, selling
Discuss this game
This is a playable game - it's finished, tested and ready to play.
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This game is made available under an Attribution-Noncommercial Creative Commons licence. (What does this mean?)

Get a loan for your family and start your own microbusiness. Craft bags, jewelry, clothing and sex toys out the plentiful resources you can find in the sprawling underground. Be rewarded for your creativity and try to keep your spirit high as your debt rises through the roof. Some families will make it but some go bankrupt. Being poor at Nyugati has never been this fun.

Playing area

The main playing area is the underground plaza enclosed by four red pillars right in front of the entrance to WestEnd shopping center at Nyugati, Budapest.

A great place to play PoorVille.

Equipment

To play PoorVille, you need a 100 HUF coin for every player, a suitcase full of poker chips, a few clipboards, a pen for every player, blank price tags and a gong. Besides to the rule card, you will also print out selling permits and price evaluations charts (to be provided).

Non-Player Characters

You need at least 2 Non-Player Characters to manage the game: A Bank Employee, a Price Evaluator (can be played by the Bank Employee) and a Market Manager.

Rules

The english and hungarian rulecard.
  • The Loan. Players are assembled into families of four to six. Ask players to pick a name for their family. Each family member gets 100 HUF from the Bank. As soon as every player has received his money and everyone understands the rules, the clock starts ticking. Before the game ends, each family must pay back their loan + interest in a virtual currency called Nyugati Nuggets (NUG). See rule card for how extremely the interest is growing with time. In order to earn NUGs, families acquire ressources, craft products and sell them on the market.
  • Collecting ressources and crafting products. Families begin by looking around the underground world for things they can use to create new products. They can use the money from their loan to buy cheap ressources in the shops, use their own money or look for free stuff to use. From the ressources they collect, they assemble a product in one of four categories: Clothing, Jewelry, Bags, and Sex Toys.
The Evaluation Chart.
  • Market access. To sell a product on the market, players must get a price tag. To get the price tag, families wait for a meeting with the Price Evaluator and show her how much money they have spent to create their product. They need to prove their investments by showing the receipts from the individual parts. The sum is the base value of the product. The family then elevator pitches the product to the Evaluator in 30 seconds. Be creative and explain exactly why your product is really good jewelry or clothing! Depending on how original the product, how convincing the pitch is and how high the base price was, the Price Evaluator looks up the market price for the product on the Evaluation Chart, writes it on a price tag and sticks it to the product. The base value is modified by up to 50% depending on your evaluation: The market price of bad products with bad pitches is less then the base value, good products with good pitches can be sold for more. If a family is unhappy with the selling price, they can always enhance their product or start new negotiations.
    • Take for example the Smiths: They create a handbag out of two items, one costs 48 HUF, the other 79 HUF. The base value is 48+79=127 HUF. They pitch their product rather poorly, the Evaluator modifies the base value by -40%. He chooses a price tag from the Evaluation Chart that he think is closest: 79 NUG. This is the market price of the product. The Smiths aren't happy. They choose to look for another item to add to their product and think a little bit longer about their pitch. The item they added costs 29 HUF. The new base value of their product is 48+79+29=156 HUF. Their pitch is much better and the Evaluator wants to add 25% because of that. He looks at the Evaluation Chart and thinks that a market price of 189 NUG is fine. The Smiths are accepting and their product gets a price tag of 189 NUG. They can now sell their product.
  • Counting customers. With the price tag, the family gets a pen and a selling permit for their product category from the Market Manager. As soon as the Manager announces that the market is open (using the gong!), sellers walk into the square area between the four red pillars and count people that are potential customers. The market opens and closes for several phases of a few minutes each (use this timing to balance the game). For each potential customer, families selling a product mark a line on their selling permit. The kind of customers to count depends on the product category. If you are selling a
    • Bag - count people that DON'T carry any bags.
    • Jewelry - count people that DON'T wear any accessories on their neck and above.
    • Clothing - count people that are wearing jeans.
    • Sex toys - count couples walking close together.


The Cash-Out Chart.


  • Cashing in. Whenever they want, families can bring filled out cashing permits to the Market Manager and get NUGs in the form of poker chips. This cash-in depends on the selling price marked on the price tag and the number of people you counted. The Market Manager looks up the cash out value on the Cash-Out Chart. Teams can now try to sell their product again (get a new selling permit, wait until the market opens again) or make a new product.
    • The Smiths counted in one market phase 10 potential customers (people not wearing any bags). Their product has a market price of 189 NUG. They show the selling permit and the price tag to the Market Manager. He looks at the Cash-Out Chart: The Smiths sell bags, so he first looks at the third line (no bags). The number of potential customers was 10, 10 is larger than 9 and smaller than 11, i.e. the cash out value can be found in the fourth column. The market price of the product is 189 NUG. He looks at the fourth column in the 189 NUG line and finds the cash out value of 200 NUG. He cashes out the Smiths. The Smiths take a 200 NUG chip and get back to work on a new product or selling their old one again.
  • Getting out of Debt. As soon as a family has earned enough NUGs, they can pay back their debt at the Bank. A family can only pay back all of their debt at once. Of course, the sooner you earn NUGs, the less you have to pay back, as your debt rises at a neck-breaking rate. Families can always ask the bank how much they would have to pay back at a current moment. After you payed back your debt, you are free to keep on playing and maximize profits. The family with the most profit after paying back their debt wins the game. When the market closes for the last time, all families that are still in debt have a last chance to pay back. Families that do not manage to pay their debt, loose the game. Optional: After the game, families that are still in debt can buy NUGs for real money at a rate of 10 HUF for 1 NUG and not walk home bankrupt.

Possible variants

  • Players only use their own money.
  • Only use the 100 HUF provided. This levels the playing field to make it more interesting for competitive players.
  • Black market with controls. The debt rises and you start to drown in it? Why not sell your product on a black market? But beware of police crackdowns that take away your product and everything you've earned! Listen closely to the payphone ringing next to the market area - it warns you that a control imminent.
  • Use a real interest rate, eg not 100 HUF per 5 minutes but 50% per 5 minutes.
  • Play at different locations. The players need to be able to buy wildly differing items that they can dismantle and combine in crazy or meaningful ways in a short amount of time. So the shops need to be close by and have lots of different cheap stuff for sale. Warning: For every new place and every new time you will need to rebalance at least the interest rate or else the game gets too hard or to easy, favor one item type over the other etc.

Photos and Videos

A photo on Flickr
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A photo on Flickr

(These are the ten most recent Flickr photos of PoorVille. To add your own, just add the "ludocity:game=poorville" tag to your Flickr photos.)

Video showing the full Nyugati Game Set. PoorVille starts at 2:00.

Design and Play history

PoorVille was created in 2011 as part of the Nyugati Game Set by Invisible Playground, working out of Field Office Budapest at PLACCC Festival.

Other games from the Nyugati Game Set