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 cheerful board games, you're a real-world Scrooge McDuck with oodles of cash in your possession (zillions, as a matter of fact). And because you're a person of exquisite taste, you're hoping to spend it on the weirdest roadside attractions across North America. But will you enjoy the experience? Zillionaires: Road Trip USA has its flaws, yet it's also zesty enough to provide a fun evening in.
What is it, and how does it work?
- Game type: Party
- Players: 2 - 5
- Complexity: Easy
- Lasts: 50 mins
- Ages: 8+
- Price: $24.99 / £34.99
- Play if you enjoy: Monopoly, The Chameleon, Herd Mentality
Zillionaires: Road Trip USA isn't just about buying the universe's biggest hammer or an enormous ball of yarn weighing 20,000lbs; you've got to buy four of these attractions in a row along the board to win. Simple, right? Well, sort of. The attractions in Zillionaires: Road Trip USA are drawn at random each turn, and you'll have 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 spaces in a row as well, they'll also be doing whatever they can to block you.
As an added complication, nobody knows how much money you have in your hand. This allows you to put in bids you can't afford, allowing you to artificially raise the price and bleed your opponents of cash. However, there's a catch. If you end up winning a bid that you aren't able to honor, you've got to give up one of your tokens on the board. Much like The Chameleon (another one of Big Patato's party board games), that makes for a fine line to walk between advantage and disaster.
Is it any good?
While Zillionaires: Road Trip USA won't be something you're able to play on 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 usual party fare. That's because, in practice, it comes over as a cross between classic board games such as Monopoly and Connect 4. Buying up property, paper bills, and rows of colorful tokens are the order of the day here.
That makes it a good fit for folks who don't really play games or haven't tried them since tackling Clue during a Christmas get-together when they were kids. The mechanics are more traditional than Big Potato's usual output, and that makes Zillionaires a way of easing newcomers into the hobby at large.
This lack of complexity won't impress fans of strategy board games for adults, but it helps keep Road Trip USA accessible too. Plus, the deception it relies upon adds nuance to proceedings. It's a lot of fun to pretend you're running low on cash and then break out the big bucks to snaffle up a property you needed to complete your row, for example. I did this during a match and… well, I wasn't very popular after that.
In addition, it's quirky enough to go down well. A 'for sale' sign is put on the board space when it's up for grabs, and you get a wooden gavel you can whack when a bid is finished. Neither have any real benefit in terms of gameplay, but they'll immediately get peoples' attention and that's handy if your would-be players are reticent.
The utterly bizarre - and very real - attractions in Zillionaires: Road Trip USA help with that too. The game comes with a sheet of short facts about each one, and this prompts a lot of discussions when players realise that, yes, there is a house shaped like a shoe with an ice cream shop in the instep. Or a foam version of Stonehenge, appropriately called 'Foamhenge'.
However, there are some issues tied to the DNA it shares with Monopoly. Despite claiming to last 30 minutes, none of our sessions were that quick - instead, it was a drawn-out process where we slowly wore each other down. Victory seemed inevitable for those of us that built up enough cash as well. How can you counter-bid someone who drops $40 zillion as if it was nothing? There are ways of turning the tide (namely, cards that give everyone a payout depending on how many tokens they've got on the board), but they don't come up all that frequently.
Still, the idea of hiding your bank balance gives life to this game. You'd think it'd be easy to keep track of how much everyone's spent, but you'll quickly lose any idea when those payout cards start to drop.
Should you buy Zillionaires: Road Trip USA?
If you're looking for traditional games that are still accessible, this one could fit the bill. Even though it's reminiscent of Monopoly, it's much more spunky and dynamic. Similarly, it's a good way of easing newcomers into the world of board gaming (or starting conversations based on its weird roadside attractions, for that matter).
If you're more experienced and used to other Big Potato Games, though? I'd probably pass on it for now unless you find it cheap, as I don't know if there's quite enough here to keep you going.
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 spent playing with different groups of varying sizes (usually between three and five people).
For more information on our review procedure, check out our guide on how we test board games and tabletop RPGs at GamesRadar+.