Coin Age is a 2-player microgame where players vie for regional domination…with 78¢ of pocket change! This highly successful Kickstarter game, designed by Adam McIver, is a clever, small-scale game that only requires a miniature game board and some coins. The objective of the game is to gain possession of territories on the map and obtain the most victory points. Currently, the game is available free-to-play—just download, print, and play. This review will reflect our experience with the free-to-play version and we will update the (p)review when the final version is released in April 2014.
All you’ll need to play Coin Age is the credit card-sized game board and 10 coins, which can probably be found under your couch cushions, at the bottom of fountains, or in small piggies. Seventy-eight cents will do the trick—1 quarter, 2 nickels, 3 pennies, and 4 dimes. Each coin carries a specific point value based on its size. The bigger the coin, the bigger the payoff. Thus, a quarter is worth 4 points, a nickel is 3, a penny is 2, and a dime will get you 1 point at the end of the game. Coins can be stacked, in decreasing size, making larger, more valuable coins vulnerable to be overtaken by your opponent.
Coin Age’s minimalist nature is neat and the use of coins is ingenious. Not to mention, the only worthwhile use of the penny these days. The game is at its best when played in scenarios where you’re pressed for time or out and about. Steve and I played Coin Age while waiting for our food in a restaurant and played a second while waiting for the check (and Steve finished up his beer.) I’ve also played it as a filler while waiting for others to show for game night. It’s extremely simple to explain and was easy for people to pick up on.
It seemed familiar at the start of each game. Each player was usually matching 2 coins and taking possession of territories. It was not until later (after each player was down to pennies and dimes) that the depth revealed itself in the form of captures and moves. From that point, your initial plans to take over an entire region are foiled. It is, however, possible to end the game without reaching that point. If each player alternatively takes possession of a new territory each turn, the game can be relatively short. Steve and I both agreed to test the mechanics in our first playthrough and did not end the game by filling each territory, but instead when one of us exhausted their bank. The second was much shorter and more mindless.
Regardless, of how the game is played it is quite entertaining and it was only $3 minimum to back. The stretch goals were met and each backer will receive the original map printed on a plastic card, stickers to place over the coins, cardstock coins, and 3 additional maps printed on cardstock. The new game maps include an island, frozen land, and a volcano. It would be interesting to see new mechanics introduced, specific to the maps’ terrain. For instance, moving an opponent’s units into the volcano would result in the loss of a coin or moving them to the icy waters would “freeze” them for a loss of turn. The stretch goals are relatively useless as they defeat the purpose of the game’s simplicity. The point is to pull out the map from your wallet and grab some coins from your pocket, not carry around cardstock coins or a specific set of coins that you’ve placed stickers on. But, bonuses are always welcome, so no complaints here. I’m excited to get the plastic game map this spring. It would be hard not to recommend Coin Age considering how easy it is to play and how little it cost. Go cancel a credit card, so you’ll have a card slot in your wallet for your map.
We will do an official ruling once the game ships in April 2014!