Acquire: Mastering the Art of Corporate Strategy with Rules, Instructions & Winning Strategy


Acquire is a classic board game that combines elements of strategy, luck, and financial acumen. The game was designed by Sid Sackson and first published in 1964. It has since been reprinted several times, with the most recent version released in 2016 which I’ll be covering here.

The game is set in the world of high finance, with players acting as investors seeking to make the most money by buying, trading, and merging hotel chains. I first gave it a try after the Wolf of Wall St. mania, and it’s definitely a fun one with a lot of depth. The game requires a combination of strategic planning, careful observation, and is less dependent than some games on luck to win.

The game involves players investing in businesses, trying to retain majority shares. As businesses grow and merge, players gain money, and the player with the highest net worth at the end of the game wins. The game is known for its high level of strategy and skill.

Through the years, Acquire has seen multiple editions with slight tweaks to its rules and design, but the core gameplay has largely remained the same. It’s been translated into several languages and has gained worldwide popularity. In 2008, it was inducted into the GAMES Magazine Hall of Fame, and it is also part of the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

If you like the economic gameplay elements of Acquire, I recommend checking out Lords of Vegas or the classic Ticket to Ride which I’ve written guides on.

Quick Tip for Playing Acquire

Aim to get majority control of valuable hotel chains and strategically merge hotel chains for maximum profit.

Rules for playing Acquire

  1. Each player starts the game with a set amount of money and seven tiles, each representing a potential hotel site.
  2. On their turn, a player can place a tile on the board, potentially forming or expanding a hotel chain.
  3. If a player’s tile connects two existing chains, a merger occurs. The larger chain absorbs the smaller one, and players holding stocks in the absorbed chain can sell their shares, trade them for shares in the larger chain, or hold onto them in hopes that the chain will be reformed later in the game.
  4. Players can buy up to three shares of stock in any existing chain on their turn, which can provide dividends when that chain expands and can influence the outcome of mergers.
  5. The game ends when there is no more room on the board to form new chains, or when one chain reaches a size of 41 tiles. At this point, players sell their stocks and the player with the most money wins.

While these are the official rules, some players introduce ‘house rules’ to add variety or increase the challenge. For example, some players limit the number of shares that can be bought in a turn, or introduce a ‘stock market crash’ event that can drastically change the game’s dynamics.

How to Win at Acquire

Winning at Acquire requires a balance of short-term tactics and long-term strategy. Here are some tips to help you master the game:

  1. Early in the game, focus on expanding the chains in which you have the most shares. This can provide a steady income and increase the value of your stocks.
  2. Keep an eye on your opponents’ holdings. If you see an opportunity to initiate a merger that will benefit you more than them, take it.
  3. Don’t hold onto your cash. Invest in stocks as much as possible, as this is the primary way to increase your wealth.
  4. However, don’t spread yourself too thin. Concentrate on a few chains where you can maintain a majority stake.
  5. Remember that the game can end suddenly when the board fills up or a chain reaches 41 tiles. Plan accordingly and be ready to liquidate your assets when the end is near.

Best Strategies for playing Acquire game

The best strategies in Acquire involve careful planning and adaptability. Here are some strategies to consider:

  1. Control the mergers: If you can control when and how mergers happen, you can control the flow of the game. This requires careful placement of tiles and strategic buying of stocks.
  2. Invest in safe chains: Some chains are less likely to be absorbed in a merger. Investing in these can provide a steady income and a safe place to park your money.
  3. Keep an eye on the tile bag: The number of remaining tiles can give you a clue about when the game might end. Use this information to time your moves and maximize your profits.
  4. Be flexible: The board can change quickly, and a chain that looks strong one turn can be vulnerable the next. Be ready to shift your strategy as the game evolves.

Scenarios for Acquire

Acquire is a dynamic game, and players can find themselves in a variety of situations. Here are some common scenarios and how to handle them:

  1. You’re running low on cash: If you’re short on funds, consider selling some of your stocks. However, be careful not to sell shares in a chain that is about to merge, as you could miss out on a big payout.
  2. You’re holding a lot of shares in a chain that’s about to be absorbed: If a merger is imminent, you have several options. You can sell your shares for immediate cash, trade them for shares in the larger chain, or hold onto them in hopes that the chain will be reformed later. The best choice depends on your overall strategy and the state of the board.
  3. You’re in a strong position with a majority stake in a large chain: This is a good position to be in, but don’t get complacent. Keep an eye on the other players and be ready to react if they try to break up your chain.
  4. You’re in a weak position with few assets: If you’re struggling, look for opportunities to initiate a merger that could give you a cash infusion. Also, consider investing in smaller chains that have the potential to grow.

Frequently Asked Questions about playing Acquire game

  1. How many players can play Acquire? Acquire can be played by 2 to 6 players.
  2. How long does a game of Acquire typically last? A game of Acquire usually lasts between 90 minutes to 2 hours.
  3. Can I play Acquire online? Yes, there are several online platforms where you can play Acquire.
  4. What is the age recommendation for Acquire? Acquire is recommended for ages 12 and up.
  5. Can I buy extra game pieces for Acquire? Yes, replacement pieces for Acquire can be purchased from various online retailers.

A new edition of the classic game Acquire was released in August 2023. Good time to grab it!

Acquire Review! [Video]