Zillionaires: Road Trip USA asks you a fun question: If you had all the money in the world, what’s the most ridiculous thing you could buy? The answer, as it turns out, is the world’s largest toilet. Or maybe an igloo hotel. Or is it the Echo Park Time Travel Mart with items from the past, present and ‘future’? Your goal is to find out.
In this addition to Big Potato’s library of light-hearted board games, you’re a real-world Scrooge McDuck with stacks of cash in your possession (billions, in fact). And because you’re a person of exquisite taste, you expect to spend it on the weirdest roadside attractions in all of North America. But will you enjoy the experience? Zillionaires: Road Trip USA has its flaws, but it’s also racy enough to provide a fun evening.
What is it and how it works?
– Type of game: Party
– Players: 2 – 5
– Complexity: Easy
– It has a duration: 50 minutes
– Centuries: 8+
– Price: $24.99 / £34.99
– Play if you like: Monopoly, The Chameleon, Herd Mentality
Zillionaires: Road Trip USA isn’t just about buying the biggest hammer in the universe or a huge ball of yarn that weighs 20,000 pounds; you have to buy four of these attractions in a row across the board to win. Simple, right? Kind of. The rides in Zillionaires: Road Trip USA are randomly drawn each turn, and you’ll need to get the highest bid in an auction with other players to secure them. Because everyone will be keeping an eye on how close you are to getting four slots in a row, they’ll also do their best to block you.
As an added complication, nobody knows how much money you have in your hand. This allows you to make offers you can’t afford, allowing you to artificially raise the price and bleed your opponents out of cash. However, there is a catch. If you end up winning an offer that you can’t fulfill, you must give up one of your checkers on the board. Much like The Chameleon (another of Big Patato’s party board games), the line between advantage and disaster is a fine one.
Do you have something good?
While Zillionaires: Road Trip USA won’t be something you can repeat for years like Blockbuster, it’s a fun way to spend an hour or so if you want something a little more laid back than your usual party food. That’s because, in practice, it’s a cross between classic board games like Monopoly and Connect 4. Buying property, paper bills, and rows of colorful chips are the order of the day here.
That makes it a good choice for people who don’t really play games or haven’t tried them since they tackled Clue during a Christmas gathering as a kid. The mechanics are more traditional than the usual Big Potato output, and that makes Zillionaires a way to ease newcomers into the hobby in general.
This lack of complexity won’t impress fans of adult strategy board games, but it also helps make Road Trip USA accessible. In addition, the deception on which it is based adds nuance to the proceedings. It’s a lot of fun to pretend you’re running out of cash and then spend a lot of money to get hold of a property you needed to complete your row, for example. I did this during a game and… well, I wasn’t very popular after that.
Plus, it’s quirky enough to look good. A “for sale” sign is placed on the board space when it’s in play, and you get a wooden mallet that you can hit when an offer ends. Neither has any real benefit in terms of gameplay, but they will immediately catch people’s attention and that’s useful if your potential players are reticent.
The absolutely bizarre – and very real – attractions in Zillionaires: Road Trip USA also help with that. The game comes with a short fact sheet on each one, and this leads to a lot of discussion when players realize that, yes, there are it is a shoe-shaped house with an ice cream parlor on the instep. Or a foam version of Stonehenge, appropriately named ‘Foamhenge’.
However, there are some DNA-related issues that it shares with Monopoly. Despite claiming to last 30 minutes, none of our sessions were that fast; instead, it was a prolonged process in which we slowly wore each other down. Victory seemed inevitable for those of us who amassed enough cash too. How can you counter offer someone who drops $40 trillion like it’s nothing? There are ways to turn the tide (i.e. cards that give everyone a payout based on how many tiles they have on the board), but they don’t show up as often.
Still, the idea of hiding your bank balance brings this game to life. You’d think it would be easy to keep track of how much everyone spent, but you’ll quickly lose the idea when those payment cards start dropping.
Should you buy Zillionaires: Road Trip USA?
If you’re looking for traditional games that are still accessible, this one might fit the bill. Although reminiscent of Monopoly, it is much more courageous and dynamic. Likewise, it’s a good way to ease newcomers into the world of board games (or start conversations based on their weird roadside attractions, for that matter).
However, if you are more experienced and used to other Big Potato Games. I’d probably pass it on for now unless I find it cheap as I don’t know if there’s enough here to go on.
How We Tested Zillionaires: Road Trip USA
This review unit was provided by Big Potato Games and we tested it over a period of weeks playing with different sized groups (usually between three and five people).
For more information on our review procedure, please see our guide on how we test board games and tabletop RPGs on GameMe.
For some recommendations, be sure to check out these essentials board games for familiesthe top board games for 2 playersand the best cooperative board games.