High Society

In High Society, you are members of the elite.  Throughout this game, you are trying to show your status and prestige by collecting points.  This is a game from the 90s that I had never heard of but fortunately got a chance to play and loved it immediately.  High Society is an extremely quick and straightforward auction game.  It’s just a couple deck of cards but they are gorgeous.  Despite the small size, there is a lot to think about, you want to bid on cards but also can’t lose all your money in the process.  There is a bit of chance to this since you don’t know the order the cards will play in the game but you do get to choose what you want to bet on. Even if you are doing well, a disgrace card can really mess up your plans so there’s no guarantee you are ahead.  I think with the ease of play and setup this is something that will easily come to the table over and over again.

High Society is a game for 3 to 5 players ages 10 and older.  This is a fairly short game that runs between 15 to 30 minutes.

Components

  • 10 luxury cards
  • 3 prestige cards
  • 3 disgrace cards
  • 5 sets of money

SETUP

Hand out one set of money to each player.  Each set has 11 cards and you will want to hide this hand from the other players. Shuffle the luxury cards, prestige cards and disgrace cards together and place face down in the middle of the table. There are 10 luxury cards worth values from 1 to 10.  These are the points that will decide the winner.

HOW TO PLAY

Each round one card will be turned face up from the main deck. If the card turned over is a luxury card or a prestige card, the starting player will choose to bid or pass. To bid, place one or more money cards face up in front of you and announce the total. Then bidding will move on to the next player. They can either bid higher or pass. This continues until you are left with just one person bidding. When bidding comes around you can either add more money cards to your total or take back your money and pass. You cannot switch out your money cards to make change, you can only add.

The money you have for bidding

The last person with an active bid wins the card and will be the starting player for the next round. They will discard the money they bid and it will no longer be a part of their hand. Place the luxury card face up in front of you. In this game, it’s easy to get carried away with bidding but you should note that at the end of the game the player with the least amount of money left will automatically lose.

The luxury cards, each worth points at the end

Disgrace cards work a bit differently. This time you are bidding to not take the card. Bidding starts as usual except the first player to pass must take the card, but they will get back any money they put down during this round. All other players must discard any money they had placed down this round.

This will take away the points from one of your luxury cards
You will lose 5 points if you gain this card
You will lose half your points if you gain this card

END OF GAME

The game will end as soon as the fourth card with the dark green background is revealed. Once this happens the game will end immediately without bidding on that card. Players will then reveal how much money they have left. The player will the least is cast out and can’t win the game. Everyone else can start counting the points from the cards they have collected and the player with the most points wins. For a tie, the player that has the most money will win.

This game is interesting and love that even if one person is clearly in the lead, you won’t know how much money they have until the end of the game. Plus those negative cards can really change how a player is doing so the game stays interesting as you play. Personally I don’t have a lot of auction/bidding games and am really excited about how straight forward this game plays. I know High Society is already a classic to the rest of gamers, but it is definitely turning into a classic for me as well.

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