Designed by Matt Saunders
# of players 2 - 6
Ages 10 and up
In Mow Money, each player plays a new landscaping company competing to build the best reputation. So, while getting money is important, it is primarily a means to an end. You need money to buy better mowers and purchase “bid cards”. Bid cards are necessary to bid on jobs. They have different values on them and each job requires a certain number of bid cards to be played. The lowest bidder on a job will get it and those who do not win the job get their cards back. Of course, they will only be paid the amount they bid and it is entirely possible to bid so low that you lose money. (In other words, you paid more for the bid cards than you got paid.)
The job cards each state a required number of bid cards and show a number of reputation points that will be awarded. (Victory points) Bigger jobs require more bid cards and award more points. Each round a series of jobs are made available. The number of jobs per turn is based on the number of players. The total number of jobs for the game is also based on the number of players and the game ends when the jobs run out.
Each player can bid on two jobs. The bid cards are laid face down with a token that indicates which job is being bid on. The token itself is also played face down. So no one knows who is bidding on what or how much.
You can also upgrade your mower which allows you to get better bid cards. The better bid cards are necessary to take on bigger, more prestigious jobs. Also, if you feel that you cannot beat other players in bidding or you fail at a bid, you get to do an “odd job” to at least make some money. The “odd jobs” merely consist of turning in matching sets of bid cards for more money than you paid for them. Sometimes, a lot more. This is nice because it should enable everyone to remain at least somewhat competitive even if they have had some bad luck.
I really thought this game was going to suck. Maybe it was the high-school level art, the uninteresting theme or the creator's bio at the back of the rule book. (Spoiler alert: He worked with lawn mowers. He also thinks you want to know more about that.) I started to imagine that the game would not only be boring but also not even functional.
I was wrong. Mow Money works. It has well thought out rules. It is simple, but not simplistic. At its core, its a blind bidding game that requires resource management. It feels true to its theme as you do feel like you are running a small business competing against others doing the same. Is that exciting, though? I'm not sure. It is fun to play and I'd be “in” if you asked me. But I'm not exactly chomping at the bit. We play games to leave the real world behind, if only for a little while. Who wants to cut grass when you can be blowing up aliens or some other rad thing? Definitely buy it if you or a friend own a landscaping business. Also, Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy is a natural beer to have with it. I can heartily attest to that.
+The theme works
+Good replay value
+Simple, but unpredictable
-Competent, but uninspired gameplay