First, let me premise this by say I love Richard Pryor. If I can describe a game based on one of his films there’s a good chance it’s going to be a hit…at least with me.
Last Will is the Brewster’s Millions of the board game world. Your rich uncle has died (a tear) and he wants to leave behind his vast fortune to the cousin that will enjoy it the most. That means the cousin who can spend money the fastest. You’ve all been given a token sum and 7 weeks to burn through it. The person who has the least money at the end of 7 rounds or the one who goes bankrupt first will inherit riches beyond their wildest dreams!
So, how are you going to spend your money? Don’t worry! There are properties to be bought, old friends to hire and lavish balls to throw. You’ll be broke before you know it…and in this game that’s a good thing!
Each week starts with a planning session. Players choose a place on the planning chart that will determine turn order, how many cards you receive, how many errand boys will be at your disposal and the number of actions you’ll be able to take.
It’s in this planning session where the real tough decisions are made. Each of the 4 elements decided by your position in the chart are extraordinarily important. Going earlier in turn order may allow you to pick up a card you really want, but it will result in fewer actions to spend that week.
Cards are categorized into properties, helpers, events and companions. Errand boys allow you to gain more cards, visit the opera and affect the housing market. Actions allow you to buy and sell property and hire some helpers to spend your dough.
In Last Will players will often build a money burning engine through property. Mansions, Manor Houses and Town Houses will all depreciate in value if you don’t upkeep them. Farms retain their value, but you can spend a lot of money on them, especially if you have some horses and dogs on there to feed.
The end game has players selling off their properties (you can’t go broke while you own property) and throwing parties, attending dinners and going on expensive boat trips. Essentially doing anything they can to get rid of their last few bucks in hopes of winning the big prize.
So, what’s so great about Last Will?
I love the idea of a reverse economic game. There is a definite sense of achievement when you’re able string together several cards and spend someone else’s hard earned money. The game is set in Victorian England and the art, gameplay and theme all work very well together. The image of your Old Friend showing up at your door to help you celebrate your good fortune is pitch perfect (and tell me he’s not John Candy pulled directly from Brewster’s Millions). This game has a sense of humour with itself and it elevates it above the typical, calculating Euro style game. In the last few turns pulling out all the stops to spend the last of your money is just brilliant fun.
Vladimir Suchy has taken the fun of Brewster’s Millions and turned it into an amazing game. It’s the best time you’ll have losing money.