Some games are whimsical and some are serious simulations, and some are crosses between the two. Stock Ticker, the classic board game that simulates investing in the stock market, leans much more into the serious side. The object of the game is quite simple: buy and sell stocks and be the player with the most money at the end of the game. (Which pretty much sounds like the raison d’être of Wall Street.) There are six stocks (or commodities) to choose from: Oil, Industrial, Bonds, Grain, Silver, and Gold, and each of these are issued in various denominations from 500 shares to 5000 shares. The Stock Quotation Board (the game board) has spaces that indicate what the value of each of these stocks is at any given time.
The value of any stock at the beginning of the game is $1 each, indicated by placing the six Stock Indicators at the $1 mark on the Stock Quotation Board. These are NOT player tokens and can be moved by any player on their turn. After each player purchases his or her initial stock portfolio (spending up to $5,000 worth), play begins. Each player throws the three special dice that determine the fluctuation of the market. One die has the name of each stock, one per side. One die has the stock action (UP, DOWN, DIV). The third die has the value of the change: 5, 10, 20. So examples of typical throws of the dice would be: SILVER, UP, 10 or GOLD, DOWN, 5. Players make their money on buying low and selling high, and by receiving the odd Dividend from their investments if the stock action die shows DIV.
There are a couple of odd stock situations that can happen during play: the stock can crash to the point that it becomes valueless (and all that particular stock is turned back to the bank to be re-issued at the initial $1/share price) or the stock can skyrocket to the point that it reaches $2 a share, at which point a stock split is declared, and players receive an extra share for every share they hold, and again the value is re-pegged at $1/share.
There have been several versions of Stock Ticker since its original 1937 release, but finding the exact release date is a bit tricky as neither the game box or game contents mention a copyright date. Each release comes with new box art and redesigned game pieces, and sometimes the game publisher changes, but the gameplay is always the same. There have been Copp Clark editions in the 1950s, 1970s, and 1980s, while the 1990s version was published by Canada Games. There was also a slightly more enhanced version released by Copp Clark, called Stock Ticker Deluxe, sometime in the 1980s.
If all this financial gaming sounds dreary, then Stock Ticker is not the game for you. But if you’re looking for a sound simulation of investing in the stock market that isn’t too complex yet manages to accurately reflect the sudden market fluctuations that can occur, Stock Ticker is well worth your time.