In the Board Game Hotel You Get to Build an Empire and Bankrupt the Competition!
The board game Hotel has a lot of appeal for children and big kids like myself! Actual models of hotels. Simple game play that can be quickly understood. Lots of paper money. A game that’s brimming over with colorful eye candy by the time it’s done. My son was reluctant to play at first due to another game he loves. Half way through the game though he was sold big time on it and this will no doubt be the next game we play to death!
Overall Flow of the Game
This game is all about building a hotel empire and crushing your opponents along the way! There’s a lot of luck in this game as the movement and building permission are governed by dice. You buy land and obtain permission to build it. You build the main hotel building and any extensions that are available. Facilities can then be built. Hotel entrances can be added to the perimeter of the property you own. When players land on an entrance belonging to another player they roll a die to find out how many nights they are staying. The more nights the more money they must pay the other player. Some players will eventually run out of money and will have to auction off their properties to the highest bidder. When you have no more properties and become bankrupt you’re out of the game. Last remaining player is the winner.
Preparation for Play
A bank and town hall are placed on the board. The hotels, leisure facilities, entrances, money and title deeds are placed next to the board. Players are given $12,000 and choose the color car they want placing it in the car park. Players decide who goes first.
Playing the Game
When it’s your turn you simply throw a standard die and move forward that number of spaces. If you happen to land on a space that has another car go to the next space.
The Buying Space (cash symbol)
Landing on a buying space allows you to buy the land adjacent to ONE of the sides of that space. Check out the title deed to see how much a plot of land is and should you purchase it give the money to the bank.
If the land is owned by another player but hasn’t been built on you can purchase it paying the owner the cost of the land. The player’s consent is not needed and he or she will hand over the title deed for that property.
The Build Space (metal bar symbol)
If you own a property and land on a build space next to it you are given the opportunity to build something. This will increase the value of your property and the amount of money you can charge per night.
You have to first tell the other players where you’re building and what you intend to build. You can build more than one thing on a property if you want. You must follow the sequence of building on your title card. So if you already have the main hotel building you can build extension 1 this turn.
The next step is to roll the planning permission die. RED means permission is denied this turn. Green means go ahead, buy the building or facility and put it in the designated spot on your property. The letter ‘H’ on the die means you can build free of charge. The number ‘2’ means you’ve had bad luck and must pay double the cost shown on the title deed.
If permission has been granted you must build even if it means auctioning off another property of yours to do so.
The yellow line near the bank allows you to collect $2000.
Buy an Entrance
Passing the yellow line near Town Hall entitles you to buy one entrance for each of your hotels. Check your title deed to see how much the entrance is. To do this you must have the main building on the property. Keep in mind you can only build one entrance per hotel per lap. The one exception to this is if you land on the ‘One Free Entrance’ space on the board. Another rule is that two players cannot have an entrance each on the same space. When you have purchased your entrance place the red entrance on the gray rectangle bordering your property. The first entrance on a property must be placed on the reserved space marked by a star.
Build One Phase Free
This will let you build the next phase of your property. That could be a main building, extension or leisure facility.
Leisure facilities do not require permission to build. Once your hotel and it’s extensions have been built you can place your leisure facilities on the board on any turn after this. Refer to the title deed as to how much you need to pay.
Claiming Payment from Guests
When players land on a space that has your hotel entrance they roll a dice to determine how many nights they are staying. Then the title deed is refered to see how much it will cost the player. Remember the amount will be according to your star rating which increases when you add something to your property.
If the player lands on a space that has your entrance but you don’t notice and the next player rolls the dice you have lost your chance to extract payment. Also if you forget to collect the $2000 when you pass the bank or build an entrance when you pass the Town Hall you forfeit both opportunities.
The Magical 6
If you throw a six you are entitled to a second throw after you completing any transactions applicable.
If you run into hard times you will need to put up a property for auction. There is no reserve price and all players may bid. The highest bidder gets it. He receives the property the way it is as well as the title deed.
Some players start auctioning off a property because the building permission of a current property was twice as much as they thought (building permission die shows a 2). If you immediately auction off the property your building you don’t have to pay the building price.
The game rules are unclear about what happens when there are only two players left. If there is only one player at the auction he could technically bid $50 which is the smallest denomination of money in the game. My son and I simply agreed to pay half of what the property was worth when we were playing.
The Remaining Two Players
If you find yourself with no money, land or hotels you’re out of the game. When only two players are left in the game they no longer receive income when passing the bank. The live solely off guest payments. The last player left is the winner.
Board Game Hotel: Conclusion
The board game Hotel is great for kids and my eight year old son mastered it in no time. He would get giddy with excitement when I landed on his Boomerang Hotel entrance! This isn’t the typical kind of game I’d pull out and play with other adults. Having said that though it would probably work just fine as a light hearted game where beers can be enjoyed and conversation about general topics can be had while playing. The hotel models are great and when the game is finished it looks like no other game I’ve ever seen. It does seem grand in appearance. The game was often overlooked at the board game parties I held. This was partly because there were many serious gamers in the group who had a bit of an aversion to games that rely a lot on the roll of a die and not skill.
It does have one draw back in particular. At a point later in the game it can drag a fair bit. At that stage players have built up their hotel empires as much as possible so there is no more building or entrances to be placed on the board. From then on it’s I land on your entrance and pay you. You land on my entrance and I pay you. This can go back and forth ad nauseum. If this happens to you simply put a time limit on it like I did. I then counted the value of properties and the money we had. The player with the most wins.
I would have liked to have seen a two player variant mentioned in the rules. While my son and I agreed on the half price auction rule that may have made the game go slower. Also, what happens if one of us owes money but the other player doesn’t have enough money to buy the property? I’m guessing that when there is only one other player he can pick up a property for a measly $50 as there is no one to compete with.