I’m usually not one to really get into playing board games or tabletop games in general, but occasionally I do like to sit down with some friends or family to just have a good time, and one of the best things to do when chilling is to play some games.
From Big Potato Games, Zillionaires: Road Trip USA is a Monopoly meets Connect 4 mash-up where 2-5 players take turns bidding, bluffing, and buying up America’s roadside attractions. Players take turns drawing cards from the deck of attractions, and then they start the bidding war. There are 49 different attractions, represented by numbered spaces on the board, including places like the Idaho Potato Museum and The Last Blockbuster. The objective is to buy up four of these attractions in a row on the playing board, either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. The first person to do so wins.
Everyone starts with $49 Zillion, the game’s currency. One player is designated as the banker and will control the exchange of funds. Each attraction has a starting bid, starting as low as $1 Zillion and going up to $7 Zillion. The player who draws the attraction starts with the first bid, or withdraws if they do not wish to purchase. Bidding continues clockwise around the table until a winner is determined, either by outbidding other players or by other players backing out. The winning player then places a chip on the space representing that attraction on the board and, then the next person draws the next attraction, and the cycle continues.
Bidding is supposed to be a bluffing game. The rules say you should try to conceal how much money you have available to try and trick the other players into folding. I wish little trays had been provided to help players with this as we didn’t have an easy way to hide our cash. Keeping it in your hands will likely result in the paper getting wet from sweaty hands or wrinkled up. You also need to make sure you are keeping track of what you have because if you bid higher than what you have, you have to forfeit an attraction as a penalty, and then the bidding restarts without you.
Once an attraction has been purchased, it cannot be purchased again. The only exception to this is the 49th attraction, the Geographical Center of North America (Rugby, North Dakota), which sits appropriately at the center of the board. There are 5 cards showing this property in the deck, meaning this property can be bid on and purchased up to 5 times. If you are the owner of this attraction but get outbid when the card is drawn again, you forfeit the property to the player who outbid you, but at least you get their money, which is advantageous to you so you can buy up other attractions.
The other cards you’ll find in the deck are Pay Day cards. The Geographical Center of North America is a Pay Day card and then there are 7 additional Pay Day cards. Whenever a Pay Day card is drawn, players will bid on that card, with the winner claiming an available attraction within the Pay Day card’s range. For example, one of the Pay Day cards lets you claim an attraction between numbers 1 and 24. But this is also Pay Day, so it doesn’t end there. At the conclusion of the bidding process and after the attraction has been claimed, everyone receives $7 Zillion for each attraction they’ve claimed on the board, however, this is capped at $49 Zillion. Can’t break the bank, after all.
But, what happens if a player runs out of chips? There’s no limit as to how many attractions someone can buy, so if you run out of chips, just find something else small to use, like coins. What happens if you run out of attractions but nobody manages to win? The player with the most chips on the board wins. If that is a tie, whoever has the most cash between them wins. If that is a tie, the person with the highest-numbered attraction wins. Neither of these scenarios happened when we played, but it is nice that they’ve thought of these contingencies.
This game is very easily played with just a couple of people, but would obviously be better with a full group of 5. My friends and I had a lot of fun playing this game, which took maybe a half hour or so to complete, where one of my friends steamrolled us at the end, acquiring multiple attractions before sneaking in his fourth in-line attraction. I ran out of cash fast, but those Pay Day cards came in clutch to keep me in the bidding wars, and I was very close to winning on multiple occasions, if only those properties I needed had been drawn.
I was very pleased with the overall quality of the different pieces of the game. The board itself is decently sturdy with the attractions numbered in a spiral with 49 at the very center. For those who like fun facts and trivia, there’s a 2-sided insert included that gives a brief description of each of the attractions as well. When an attraction is drawn, a little For Sale sign is placed at its position on the board, and there’s also a small gavel that’s supposed to be whacked on the table when the attraction is sold. We did not do this. It is annoying.
The box has fun and attractive artwork. Inside is a molded paperboard tray with slots for everything to go into, though I recommend getting a small baggy to contain all of the chips. The included rules sheet is easy to follow and also contains a contents list on the back so you can make sure you have everything you’re supposed to. However, if anything is missing, free replacements are available by scanning the QR code on the front of the rules. There was also a Big Potato Games sticker, which I personally loved but then promptly lost.
Zillionaires: Road Trip USA
Zillionaires: Road Trip USA is a fun Monopoly / Connect 4 party game for roadside attraction enthusiasts and also people just looking to have a little relaxing fun. The bidding wars get intense, especially as acquiring attractions becomes more critical. The game is well packaged and designed and an excellent addition to any party game collection.
- Well designed and packaged
- Fun to play, very replayable
- Good for people of all ages
- Would have liked little trays to contain/hide money