I’m a huge The Price is Right fan. One of my favorite games has always been Check Out, where a person is given a series of items and has to guess the price of each in an effort to fall within a certain range .
Shop ‘N Time is basically a version of this game using actual retail pricing of items from throughout history. Do you know the price of a bottle of aftershave in 1949? How about a bag of beef jerky in 1981? These will be just a couple of the over 100 items awaiting you inside the box. There are actually four variants built into the app…oh, I didn’t mention the app yet.
Now, before you go running away because using an app somehow desecrates the purity of boardgaming, stop for a second. One of my big issues with “trivia” style games is that once you know the answers to something, it gives you a huge advantage in the game in the future, and truly kills replay value. In this game all the item prices are coded into the app and unlocked through QR codes on the cards, so we as players never know exactly how much an item is. This makes the replay value of the game much higher because it’s not possible to know any of the answers for sure. We have to rely on our instincts to make good decisions which is a completely different skill than just being able to regurgitate facts.
In the basic Shop ‘N Time game, the app gives the players a random target price. The players then get a hand of 7 item cards. A timer is started (you can play either real-time or “strategic”) and you begin drafting cards and passing them to the next player. Once you have 3 items in your hand, you may stop drafting or you can keep going until you think your hand is as close to that total as possible without going over. Once everyone has a basket full of items it’s time to determine the winner. How do you do that?
You scan your items of course! The app scans the QR code and totals up everyone’s score. The best touch is that they don’t reveal anything until everyone is done. Just cranking up the tension of the moment.
If there’s a downside to the game, it would be that I wish there were more cards. Since you never know exactly the prices, that’s not a huge deal breaker, but it would be nice to have more variety.
With four game variations, and enough of the sausage-making hidden from public view, Shop ‘N Time is a quick, fun filler that is especially good for fans of game shows.
Definite keeper. As I’m thinking about it, I think this might cause me to get rid of my Timeline card collection. Timeline is a good game about trying to place disparate events in a common timeline. Unfortunately, it’s pretty easy to remember the dates on the cards, so replay is minimal unless you add more and more sets.