Adventure Mart — Running a magical grocery store

Ever wondered where magical beings get all of their lovely equipment before going on an adventure? Well, Adventure Mart answers that question.

Adventure Mart is a bidding and deck-building game with a colorful, yet adorable, look to it. Each player is a shop owner, hoping to meet the needs of wandering adventurers and make a quick buck while at it. Each player has a special deck of cards with the same items and values in it. This is your starting stock room. At the beginning of the game you also get some coins to start with.  

You’ll grab five cards from your stockroom to start the game off. Once you are ready, the day will begin. The start of the day has the first player turning over an event card. The event card is a wild event that may help everyone or may make the day a bit more challenging. This card can change the gameplay for the day, making each day feel unique.

To continue getting ready for the day, the stock room is full of new items you can purchase, employees looking for work and customers (face down) that you can bid on. When it comes around to your turn, you get exactly one action. You can use this action to open in a customer, purchase an item from the shop or hire a one-time use employee.

Bidding is where the gameplay happens. Once a customer is turned over, you get to read what items they want and how much money they have to spend. Many customers come with a bonus as well, which can help you in future turns. When it comes to bidding, you must use the stars at the top of a card, which represent quality, to bid on a customer. You can bid using as many applicable cards as you want but you must keep in mind the value of these items. The adventurer will only pay to the max amount of money they have. Only items that match the needs of the customers will count towards the value.

Once you have won a customer, they will go into a tray at the top of your board, so you can read their bonuses for the rest of the game. The money you earned will go into your pot and the cards you have spent will go into your restock. Once all of the customers are gone, a new day will begin and everything will be reset — stocks emptied and replenished, a new hand of cards and new employees.

The danger with Adventure Mart comes with running out of cards. Bidding more than one card at a time will result in you you simply running out of stock. This means that you’ll need to buy new cards from the communal store. Some of the cards from the store are ‘shelf items’ like slushie machines that give you a resting bonus, while others are added to your hand and used in bidding. The price of the cards you purchase aren’t determined by the value but instead by the stars on the cards, meaning you will make money off of selling them to the right customer.

At the end of a set number of days, you’ll need to count up the number of stars on the cards you purchased, which have a blue background, and add up your money. The person with the most wins.

Adventure Mart has a lot of positives to it. Items and characters are full of whimsy. Each one is super well designed, very clever and lovely. Only having one action when it comes to your turn makes each choice very powerful, as you really need to decide exactly what you want to do, as the day is over and everything is reset once the customers have run out.

Adventure Mart is a really lovely game — the prototype I played at UKGE 2019 was very polished and well balanced, even if some of the art was still a work in progress.

Currently, Adventure Mart is up on Kickstarter.

Love board games? Check out our list of the top board games we’ve reviewed.

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