Times are increasingly tough in households all over, and paying attention to one’s money has become more important than ever. In addition to its fun old-style dice-rolling play, Pay Day is a great chance to practice skills like balancing budgets, finding outside investments for making money on top of regular salaries, and keeping an emergency fund for unexpected expenses.
Like many older board games, Pay Day is widely luck-based as players move their tokens across the board. Each turn is simple: roll the die and move that number of spaces. The board offers a variety of spaces with outcomes such as Buy Groceries, Fun day, or Mail, in which players draw from a deck that could be Postcards, Advertisements, Moneygram requests from family, or Bills (that range from $1,000 appliances to the not-so-bank-breaking $100 cable bill). The easy play makes for a great family game as younger players will not necessarily be at a disadvantage to their elders.
With so many different squares on the board, players will refer back to the rules booklet often early on. This makes for a bit of a learning curve, but the explanations are so clear that turns will quickly be easily understood with only a few glances back to see exactly how mini-games like the Lottery and Radio Contest work in rolling-off for money.
The real skill in Pay Day comes with the Deals. Upon landing on a Deal space, the player has the option of investing in things like Louie’s Limos or an Everglades Condo. Each card has a cost listed as well as a usually much higher value that is paid out upon landing on a Found a Buyer square. It is good advice to pick up as many as possible, but players will have to be mindful of their progress through the game since a Deal card does not have any value on the final tally, and no one wants to be stuck with Wheels ‘N’ Squeals Skateboards and nothing to show for it.
When players reach Pay Day, they collect the standardized salary. Bills are paid, interest is taken on Loans, and the token moves back to the start. If it is the last “month” of the game, players tabulate their net worth with the highest numbering winning. Even if a player does not win, the rich and colorful story aspect of the game will leave fond memories of owning a burger joint and getting a postcard from Scotland.
Pay Day is a board game for two to four players aged eight and up. Some of the wheeling and dealing might be tricky for younger players, but that is balanced out if crafty older players have a streak of rough luck. The length of the game is very flexible as players agree before they begin how many months they wish to play. Typical games last 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how quickly players roll. A quick video gives a rundown of the game in action with several recommendations for making it to the end of the month.