You are not a simple merchant. You trade in commodities from all over the world, and you have access to inside information to aid your investments and manipulate the markets. But your competitors also have a deep knowledge of the markets, and will be able to react to every one of your moves, while at the same time trading in the same precious commodities you have interests in. You must outwit and outsmart them through tactics and intuition. However, personal wealth is not all it takes to rise to the top and become a powerful member of High Society. If you donate too little of your hard-earned wealth to charity you do not get the respect of your peers…

The Rich and the Good: new edition of the classic Hab & Gut.

The Rich and the Good is the new edition of Carlo Rossi's Hab & Gut, originally published in 2008 by Winning Moves. The cult classic economic game is coming back with a renovated graphic design, still featuring Michael Menzel's great art, and a new 2-players game mode.

The Rich and the Good has at its core an unusual “shared card hand” mechanic, designed by Carlo Rossi, where each player plays with two hands of cards, sharing a cardholder with each neighbor, conspiring against – or with – the other players. Players familiar with past Ares Games’ releases may remember this mechanic was also used in another of Rossi’s games, Divinity Derby, a fun racing and betting game with a mythological theme, where each player assumes the role of a god, betting on a race among mythological flying creatures. Here, instead of using cards to maneuver the creatures in the race, players will use them to manipulate the markets.

The Rich and the Good is played on a board where the price of the six commodities - Coal, Wheat, Coffee, Rubber, Tea, and Salt – are tracked using price markers, and manipulated by playing market cards, kept in card holders placed between two players, so that each player can see the cards in two holders, one to the left and one to the right. At the beginning of the game, eight cards are placed in each card holder, and each player receives a starting amount of money, to purchase shares. Share cards, also matching the six commodities, are placed on the board, and they will be bought and sold during the games by the players.

The game components, with the card holders to place between players for the shared card hand mechanic.

The other unique feature of The Rich and the Good is its original victory condition. The player with the most money at the end of the game wins, as it’s normal in an economic game. The twist is that the player who donated the least money to charity, regardless of how much money they made, is eliminated before the winner is determined. A good reputation is essential, and if you are not a respected member of the community, you cannot get to the top, no matter how rich you are, this is the “philosophical” message of the game.

The flow of the game is very linear. The game is played in two rounds, each consisting of four turns. Each turn is composed of a Stock Phase and a Market Manipulation Phase.

In the Stock Phase, each player can purchase or sell shares according to their current value and place one of the shares they own on their charity board, used to track their charitable donations during the game: at the end of the game, the money accumulated on each board will be compared with the other players’ charity boards, and the player with less money loses the game.

In the Market Manipulation Phase, players must choose one market card to be played from each of their card holders. One card is played at full value, the other card at half value. Each played card increases or decreases the price of the corresponding commodity, moving its marker on the board by the appropriate number of spaces.

This new edition of Hub & Gut can be played by up to 5 people, but it also presents a two-player variant, introducing a third “automatic” player, called the Merchant, who is an opponent of both players. In this version, each player uses a private card holder, with 5 market cards, and a third card holder is shared by both players, with 10 cards. At the end, the total of the Merchant’s charity money is compared to the players’, and the player with the lowest amount is eliminated, as normal.

Simple to play and deep to master, The Rich and the Good is the return of a classic that every lover of euro games will want in their collection.

* This article was originally published by Game Trade Magazine, issue 273 (November 2022).

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