“I will build a car for the great multitude.” Henry Ford
Sometimes when we set down to play we want a challenging, thought-provoking game, one that will push us to plan and maximize every turn, agonizing over the slightest mistake. AutomobileTM, published by Mayfair Games and designed by Martin Wallace, is the perfect game for those times.
In AutomobileTM you assume the role of one of the great modern moguls that built the car from a humorous curiosity into a worldwide industry. The game provides a detailed economic simulation and requires the player to focus on research and development, production, sales, advertising and efficiency. To be successful a player must balance their efforts as even a single deficiency can cause the player to fall behind. For example, a player who floods the market with cars because she focused on maximum production at the expense of sales might find her profits dragged down by all those unsold cars at the end of her turn.
The game’s board is a colorful play space featuring pictures of the six great car moguls featured in the game as well as vivid depictions of classic car models players will be producing and selling. In addition to providing an attractive space to play the board features high functionality and helps players keep track of their factories, profits and losses as they move through the game’s eras, from the birth of the automobile industry in 1896 through the end of the game in 1930.
The game features six playable characters and each has advantages and disadvantages to help the player achieve their goals in the game. The characters available are: Henry Ford, Charles Kettering, Alfred P. Sloan, Charles Howard, Billy Durant and Walter Chrysler. Henry Ford is the king of production and can build more factories than any other character. Charles Kettering is an innovator and starts the game with a large advantage in research and development. Alfred P. Sloan is a master of efficiency and discards loss cubes rather than paying cash to get rid of them. Charles Howard is a master salesman and will always have an advantage selling cars over other characters. Billy Durant is a balanced character who gains some production advantages and some efficiency advantages. Walter Chrysler is another balanced character who balances strong R&D with efficiency.
As you can see there’s a lot going on in AutomobileTM but don’t let the game’s complexity put you off. Like most challenging games, the reward is greater so think about Martin Wallace’s modern economic masterpiece the next time you’re looking to really get your brain juices flowing.
AutomobileTM is designed for 3-5 players, ages 13 and up. Games take anywhere from 90 minutes to two hours.