Adventure Mart – Competitive Convenience Stores
Where do dungeoneers buy their equipment?
At an Adventure Mart!
A-Mart corporation sends Adventure Marts through time and space, showing up exactly where travelers need them. Now you are the manager of an Adventure Mart franchise. But A-Mart sold more than one franchise in your location. Can you build your inventory and clientele to become the most valuable store?
How To Play
Set up a common area containing face-up cards, representing Stock to buy, Staff to hire, and Fixtures to install. You’ll also set out some number of face-down Adventurer cards (player count plus one): these are your customers, who will be revealed when you choose to start a sale.
Each player gets an identical nine-card deck of starting Stock. Shuffle them and take a hand of five to start.
You’ll play five rounds, called Days. Flip over the first “Daily Bulletin” to find out what special conditions apply, and start the day!
On your turn, you may either spend gold to buy a single face-up card (Stock, Fixture, Staff), use a “USE” card effect (from one of your Stock in-hand or on a Staff or Fixture face-up in your store), or begin a sale.
Stock cards are what adventurers “buy” (more on this later) and some also provide special abilities.
Fixtures represent installed devices in your store. Many of them have ongoing effects, but some fixtures have one-time effects that render them useless until the next day.
Staff function very similarly to fixtures, but are generally more powerful. Unlike Fixtures which have a one-time cost at purchase, Staff must be re-hired after each day their abilities are used.
To sell some of your stock, take the initiative token and flip over an Adventurer card. Use stock from your hand to make an offer, with the type(s) of items that Adventurer is looking for. More than one of the same icon on an Adventurer means items of that type are twice as desirable!
Other players can try to make an offer of higher quality (more stars) to outbid you for this customer’s money! The offer with the most stars wins the sale. Anyone who made an offer but didn’t win takes their cards back into their hand.
Did you win the bid? Collect money from your new customer at checkout, and add the Adventurer card to your ledger for future reference. Discard your sold items; they’ll get shuffled back into your deck later, so you can try selling them to the next
End of the Day
After the final Adventurer is served, all managers get one final turn. (Time to grab last-minute upgrades!) Then restock your store (discard all but one card, then redraw to a five card hand), perform upkeep on your fixtures, and re-hire staff that you used this day.
Then the “quietest” store (least total customer value) gets help from HQ in the form of a free Staff, Fixture, or money bonus.
Empty the queues in the central play area and restock them with fresh cards. Read the next Daily Bulletin – time to start all over again.
After the fifth Day, it’s time for A-Mart HQ to determine who runs the most valuable store. Players add the buy cost of all their stock, the buy cost of their Fixtures, all their coins, and any “review” bonuses earned. The player with the highest total net worth is the winner.
Quirky and cute, Adventure Mart uses its theme to drive a game full of tough choices and plenty of options.
In fact, there are so many options that Adventure Mart is a much bigger game than it would appear. Most of the cards have follow-on effects (not just USE, but also QUEUE, SELL, REACT, REVIEW, and ONGOING), and you’ll need to be looking for ways to use them to your advantage.
With so many different kinds of effects, it can take a little while to learn how to play. It took us fifteen minutes even to remember how to play when we’d been away from the game for a while.
Since there are so many different Stock, Fixture, and Staff cards, you likely won’t get through all of them in a game. This huge amount of variance reminded us of CCG’s and LCG’s like Magic: The Gathering, or Legend of the Five Rings. It makes for lots of replayability, but it can also make the game luck-prone. If the available Stock has one good card and three “meh” cards, and you don’t have the first player token? Tragedy. If you’re focusing on Magical items and the Adventurers only want Martial or Exotic items? You’ve got nothing to sell.
Behind its adorable exterior, Adventure Mart is actually a fairly complex deck builder. Yes, you want to cull your nearly-useless starting cards and build up your deck value, but you need to do more than that to win. You need to make the best sales to get more money, to allow you to keep building value.
You’ll need to slow down your opponents, too. Careful use of card effects can let you sabotage their plans, or sweeten an offer just enough so that they can’t raise their bid. Most days will offer only one more Adventurers than there are players. Especially at two players, you’ll need to be a cutthroat manager to avoid losing even one customer; and you’ll need luck to have the right kind of stock on hand for every Adventurer who wanders by.
But making the best sales doesn’t actually mean making every sale. Having more customers in your ledger won’t help your net worth. In fact, there’s an advantage to being the “quietest” store at the end of each day. Go after fewer customers, but wring the last coin out of each one!
Although the art style seems aimed at kids, the 10+ recommended age range may actually be too low. Our 10 year old did fine, but he plays a lot of medium-weight games and excels at memory-based tasks. Adventure Mart is best for gamers who are ready to keep track of a lot of discrete information, no matter what age.
Now that you know what Adventure Mart has in store (hah!) you can decide: if you love dungeon crawls but would like to explore the theme without combat; if you can appreciate the puns and the subtle nods in the art; if you enjoy games with some complexity and a hefty dose of luck, then Adventure Mart is for you.
The Family Gamers received a copy of Adventure Mart from Hub Games for this review.
This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which do not change your price, but help support The Family Gamers.
- Art - 9/109/10
- Mechanics - 8/108/10
- Family Fun - 7/107/10
Number of Players: 2-4
Age Range: 10+ (some older kids will struggle)
Playtime: 45-60 minutes