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Preview: Fortune Street Wii
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  1. #1
    News Reporter

    longy999 is offline
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    Preview: Fortune Street Wii

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    This Japanese virtual board game is coming to the States next month. How is it?

    Unless you live in Japan, you've likely never played (or even heard of) Itadaki Street. This virtual board game series was originally created by Yuji Horii, the man behind Dragon Quest. It first premiered on Nintendo's Famicon more than two decades ago, and has up until now been a Japan exclusive. That all changes next month, when the series - relabeled Fortune Street - makes its first stateside appearance, care of Nintendo's Wii.

    I recently had the chance to spend a couple of hours with Fortune Street. Like most of the world outside Japan, this was my first time with the game, which plays something like Monopoly with a few twists. You choose from a roster of Mario and Dragon Quest characters - though honestly which character you choose has no bearing on the game itself. It's just a matter of whether you want to shimmy across the board as Diddy Kong or a Slime. After you make your selection, you choose from Mario and DQ-themes boards to play on. Like in Monopoly, you go around buying spaces on the board that contain property. If you land on someone else's lot, you have to pay. Obviously, there's a lot more to it, but that's the basic gist. Your goal is to stack up as much cash as possible and ultimately bankrupt the other players. Devilish, right?

    What differentiates this series from its American counterpart is the stock market, which allows players to invest in their real estate and in the different areas on the board. Knowing how to play the stock market is the key to victory. You can actually own very little property and still win if you invest wisely. It's an interesting addition to the Monopoly-esque formula, and one that actually adds a lot of depth to the game's strategy.

    Another thing of note is that this is a time-consuming game. Three other players and I spent two hours on just one game on one of the smaller boards - and we didn't even come close to finishing. The culprit is the amount of thought that each player's turn entails. Of course, we were all rather competitive and conservative with our money, but much like similar board games, prepare to invest some time into this one should you pick it up. The game even comes with an "Out to Lunch" feature for single player mode, allowing you to essentially go and make a sandwich while the game takes over playing for you. Silly, perhaps, but if you're knee-deep in a four hour game, it might actually prove tempting.

    There are also other nuances that make this game more complex than you might initially think. There are four suits (spade, heart, clover, diamond) spread across various spaces on the board. Nab them all and you'll get a raise, complete with a pay bonus. There are also warp points and wild cards that have a variety of effects on the board, the market and other players. Mini-games you can land on also yield different rewards. Don't think Mario Party when it comes to these side games, though. They're completely optional, can only be played if you come across them on the board and really aren't the main part of the experience. All of this together makes for a difficult game to describe to Itadaki Street newcomers, but an actually rather fun experience (if you don't mind the intensely slow pace, of course).

    It would take a lot longer to fully understand all of the strategy that goes into this clever, Japanese board game. From my time with it, I was pleasantly surprised by how much depth it has. We'll have to wait until December 5 to see if Fortune Street has what it takes to capture American audiences, but what I've seen so far certainly looks promising.
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  2. #2
    The Immortal God

    CloudStrife7x is offline
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    Re: Preview: Fortune Street Wii

    sound interesting, i might rent this game to try it out, good share longy :)
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