ACQUIRE '97 (The Holy Grail of ACQUIRE)

The information in this first section and the pictures attached were found from Knut-Michael Wolf who is a game designer, game developer, and game expert from Germany. They are used with his permission:

"The Holy Grail of Acquire"

1997 "The Holy Grail of ACQUIRE"

"Schmidt-Spiele of Germany had planned the release of a new ACQUIRE for 1997. Unfortunately they went bankrupt, so only a few prototypes were made. (Schmidt-Spiele of today is a different company than that of yesterday.) ACQUIRE '97 was played on a different game-board. It was an idea by Belgian games-inventor, Roland Siegers, who at that time was responsible for the Schmidt game line. Sid Sackson had agreed to this variant. The spaces on the board were numbered from A-1 to E-6 only, but there were four copies of each space! The four A-1 spaces were placed in the center of the board, the E-6 spaces in the four corners." KMW

"The Holy Grail of Acquire"

1997 Acquire Game Board

The following pictures and most of the description that I have been able to construct about this game is because of the contribution of Felix Schellenberg of Germany who actually owns a copy of the '97 ACQUIRE. He was able to purchase a rare copy in 2012 through an intermediary and subsequently sent me these pictures.

The picture on the front of the box looks the same as the 1993 Schmidt Spiel edition except for a red label in the top left corner that reads, "Neue Edition" which means New Edition in English. All the writing on the box is in German. The box is smaller than the 1993 box which makes the picture more square. The back of the box is much different than the 1993 edition. It has just a simple layout of the game instead of a picture of people actually playing the game. This allows a much closer view of the actual components of the game.

The layout of the board created four different quadrants on the same board and each quadrant has the same configuration of designations. Essentially this layout created four different boards on one game board. When a player draws a card they have multiple options, until the board begins to fill, to play that card instead of just one option. This idea by Roland Siegers instantly intensified the overall nature of the game. It created the possibilities of numerous games within one game. It increased the strategy of the game by taking away the certainty, of holding a card, that the player was the only holder of that card.

This game did not include the plastic grid to hold the buildings in place which was used in the 1993 edition. Without the plastic grid the buildings are susceptible to movement during game play and it would have been a huge detriment to the game. It is hard to imagine that Schmidt Spiele would have put these games into production without the grid. I would tend to believe that this was a "rushed" production in making these proto-types with limited design time and that the plastic grid would have been an added feature before mass production began.  

Playing cards were used for building designation, but there were four cards with the same square designation. These cards were designed differently than the 1993 edition as they were designed to match the coloring on the new board. The backs of the cards were printed with a yellow pattern. The player had to decide in which quadrant they wanted to place their building. The main strategy of the game of ACQUIRE has always been to shrewdly purchase stocks in the appropriate companies.  The "appropriate companies" hinges on the players "luck of the draw" when choosing designation cards. This new board concept now reduces the luck of the draw and replaces it with an increase in strategy concerning building placement. This means that the game has created a higher confidence in the strategy of investing because of the addition of the strategy of building or merging.

The board has 120 squares (10 rows of 12 squares). Each quadrant has 30 squares. The quadrants keep all players involved in the game by decreasing their odds of having a hand of cards that are all away from the action of the game. This increases the odds of building placement, company growth, and mergers to 1 in 30 instead of 1 in 108 as in the normal game of ACQUIRE. This changes every players ability to make a difference in the game from less than 1% to over a 30% chance every move. That is with every move by every player in the game. With mergers becoming more frequent, cash flow is increased during the game. This concept would also reduce the potential for players to run out of money during the course of the game.

This edition was very inexpensive in its design for Schmidt Spiele. This edition used the same stock certificates, buildings, company markers, money, and information cards that were used in the 1993 edition. The backs of the stock certificates were printed with a blue design while the backs of the information cards were printed with a charcoal design. (The picture illustrates numerous "blank" cards. Felix surmised that since these games were proto-types that maybe they just threw the extra cards they had in the box.) The only new design was for the board, box, and designation cards. Yet that was all they needed to change to create a future for the game of ACQUIRE that would have been much brighter than where the game has evolved. It is a prominent saying that "you don't miss what you don't know." After researching this game, I for one am truly missing what I don't know and I hope someday I can know it.

The following excerpts are from conversations with Roland Siegers, the creator of the board idea for Acquire '97. These conversations transpired through email between August 31st and September 4th, 2012.

"For the toy fair in Nürnberg in 1997 just a few prototypes were made. The rules just exist as photocopy. Only the cards were produced, but the cards disappeared in the last days of surviving from Schmidt. Concerning the prototypes: I think 10, maybe 12, were made. I really don't know what happened to them. I suppose that the rare prototypes were destroyed. The only "complete" prototypes were "owned" by Knut Michael Wolf, maybe Bärbel Schmitz and me, as far as I know. Concerning the rules: I will send you today the rules, in German of course. At first I have to scan every page."

(A translation of these rules to English would be very much appreciated by anyone who is up for the task.)

"Concerning the dialog I have with Sid Sackson during this time: it was really funny. I saw him every year during New York toy fairs. He was pleased as I discuss with him over this variant and he agreed immediately to go ahead. This was the last time I saw him. It was only my idea and Sid says to me "Why did I not have this idea?" Anyhow, ACQUIRE is Sid Sackson's game and I just made a variant of the game."
Roland Siegers

The future of ACQUIRE was almost hatched in this plan by Roland Siegers to create ACQUIRE '97 or "Quadrant ACQUIRE" and would have been well received by a fan base that is yearning for more from the game. Due to Mr. Siegers fantastic ingenuity, ACQUIRE fans can always hope for the "Holy Grail of ACQUIRE." It would be impossible to imagine what a copy of this edition would bring on the open market.

© 2018 Lloyd T. Solon

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