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  • Writer's pictureJared Neal

Pit - Corner the Market

Updated: Sep 27, 2021


Retail Price: $12

Player Count: 3-8 (best at 4 to 6)

Age Range: 7+ (6+ in our experience)

Play Time: 5-15 mins. (can vary greatly, but usually between 10 and 20 mins)

Complexity: 2 out of 10 (consistent with our experience)

Mechanisms: Set Collection, Simultaneous Action Selection, Trading

Designer: Edgar Cayce, Harry Gavitt, George S. Parker

Artist: Randy Asher, Paul Couture, Olivier Fagnere

Publisher: Hasbro


Educational Value:

  • Strategic Thinking

  • Future Planning

  • Probability

Flavor Text/Overview:

“Pit’s designer, noted psychic Edgar Cayce, is often accused of having stolen the idea from the game Gavitt’s Stock Exchange (G-S-E) invented by Harry Gavitt. While G-S-E claimed patents dating as early as 1896, it involved trading railway shares, and was only copyrighted and published in 1903, the same year as Pit. In addition, the only related patent assigned to Gavitt is US746492 A, filed October 7, 1903, and granted December 8, 1903. Also hitting the market in 1903 was Bourse, a remarkably similar open-outcry commodity trading game from Flinch Card Co., using an 80-card deck with 10 each of 8 commodities, and Panic, using a 65 card deck with 8 each of 8 commodities and a Panic card, roughly equivalent to the Bull. Pit, however, seems to have cornered the market on open-outcry games, as neither of its competitors were seen again after 1904.”

In Pit you start with 9 random cards, and you are trying to trade cards with other players to collect a full set of the same cards. Once you get a complete set, you ring the center bell, because you have cornered the market.


Setup:

  • Select a number of commodities equal to the number of players

  • Shuffle the commodities together into a single deck

  • Deal each player a hand of 9 cards

Gameplay:


Standard Game:


In Pit, your starting hand of 9 cards will have a variety of different commodities on them. When the round starts, all players simultaneously will yell out a number they want to trade, which will represent how many cards of a certain commodity they have. You are looking for another player who is looking to trade that same amount of cards, and then you swap your cards with one another. You repeat this process, until someone has collected all 9 of a certain commodity, and then they ring the bell in the center of the table.


The first player to win 3 rounds, will win the game.


Advanced Game:


In this game will you add to the deck a Bull and Bear card, so two players will be dealt 10 cards instead of 9. The Bull and Bear can be traded alone, together, or as part of a set with commodities.


  • Bull Card - this acts as a wild card, and can be added to a set of 8 commodities to earn a victory for the round.

  • Bear Card - this card acts as a blocker, and even if you have 9 of a commodity, if this card is in your hand you can’t win the round until you get rid of it.


Each commodity type has a numerical value associated with it:


  • Oranges - 50 points

  • Wool - 55 points

  • Sugar - 60 points

  • Coffee - 65 points

  • Corn - 75 points

  • Cattle - 80 points

  • Oil - 85 points

  • Gold - 100 points


If you are the person who collected all 9 of one commodity in this version, you will score the number of points associated with that commodity. You continue playing rounds until someone accumulates 500 points.


Luck/Strategy:


Any game that involves drawing a random hand of cards is going to include a fair amount of luck, but this is pretty well mitigated by the fact that you are having to trade blindly with other players, constantly adjusting your strategy. There are occasionally games, where one player starts with a large majority of a commodity, and happens to trade perfectly early. The upside is if that happens, the game is usually less than a minute long, and you can easily reset and go again. The big strategy decision you will be faced with (in the advanced game), is whether to try and get a quick win based on an early majority, or if you aim for a high scoring commodity you might not even have a majority of to start. Certainly there isn’t a ton of depth here, it is going to be a fun frenetic game, but it does require some tactical decisions to be successful.


Artwork/Components:


There are lots of different versions/prints of this game, and so it is really going to depend on which one you get. I have the Hasbro version, and the artwork on the cards is adorable, as they each form a flipbook kind of scene progression. Also, everyone’s favorite part of the game, is the bell that goes in the middle which you get to slam when you win a round. Overall, for what it is, we really liked the artwork and components.


Theme:


The game is intended to simulate what you would experience in the stock market trading pit, and while I have only ever observed this, I would say it does this pretty well for how the commodity trading pit used to function. This game is a very chaotic and raucous simultaneous action environment, so just be cognizant of that coming in.


Replayability/Fun Factor:


As previously mentioned, this game doesn’t offer a lot of depth, it is definitely a game that is a blast because of the excitement and interaction that is involved playing. For this reason, it is a game that is best played in spurts, but has always been a hit for our family and anyone we have introduced it to. If you grew up playing games like Spoons, this scratches a similar itch.


Conclusion/Audience:


Pit is a game that is going to appeal to almost any audience, and the basic version can be played by kids of almost any age. In fact, I have found it as a great way to reinforce counting for my son, who started playing when he was just 3. The only group I would be cautious in recommending this to, is if someone doesn’t like games that are too loud and rambunctious, although I suppose you don’t have to play it with as much vigor as we do haha.


+ Easy to learn

+ Quick to play

+ High replayability


- Very simple

- Can be quite lucky at times


Final Score:


Jared - 7.5

Abigail - 7.5


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