???? (The Faith Of Currencies)
???? (The Faith Of Currencies) is a game from Japan, where players are currency traders trying to maximise their wealth. But the value of the currency depends on how much faith each trader has in the religions. Players are trying to promote the worship of one deity, whilst also preparing to switch allegiances if the deity falls from favour.
The game has a market board to show the relative exchange rates, and a track board to show how the faith is fluctuating, using small cubes for each religion (the rulebook is called Prayer's Guide).
There is a deck of cards which is used to calculate the player's score at the end of the game. At the start of the game, two cards are dealt up to move two prices. Then the deck is shuffled and players are dealt three cards. Four more cards are dealt up to form a draft.
The game has a huge stack of crisp bank notes, beautifully illustrated in the style of real banknotes, to represent each religion. The Esoteric Order Of Dagon is the US dollar, and the Euro (Zeus), Yen (Amariti) and Yuan (Communism) are also used, along with a Flying Spaghetti Monster coin (banknote). The backs of the notes are blanked, so players cannot know what anybody is holding. Players are dealt two notes of each of the five types at the start.
The game is played over a series of rounds, one more than the number of players. In a round, a player may trade currencies with the bank, or change their faith, or adjust the market prices.
When a player trades currencies, they sell what they want from their supply and buy from the bank at the current rates. The number of banknotes exchanged then alters the faith in each currency.
For example, a player might sell 2 Communism at 12 each, and buy 3 Amariti at 8 each. This moves the Communism cube along the faith track two places, and the Amariti cube moves three places. The Communism cube is now on a +1 space, so the price rises to 13. The Amariti cube is now on a +/-2 space, so the player can move the price up or down two places, for example up to 10.
Moving these cubes triggers the round ending. When a faith cube has lapped and reached its starting point, the day's trading ends and a new round starts.
A player can change their faith by discarding and drawing cards from the open supply or the top of the deck. Each religious card shows an effect on the value, dependent on the number of cards held (1,2 or 3). The value of the religion is based upon different factors, such as how much the price is, or how much total currency is held, or for the FSM, how many sets of notes you can form.
The final action a player can take is simply to move a faith cube, and adjust the market price accordingly.
Players continue to take turns carrying out these actions, until the round ends, and after the final round ends, players calculate their scores. A player's score depends on how many of which faith card they hold, and the relative prices, and how many banknotes they hold. Once calculated, the player with the most points wins.
By the open trading of banknotes and open adjusting of prices, other player's might deduce what hidden faith cards a player holds. But a player could be bluffing and trying to manipulate the market whilst holding different faiths in their hand. As the market develops, a player will want to switch their faith to maximise their final score.
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